Sharp shooting sisters

Published 12:01 am Sunday, May 20, 2012

BEN HILLYER | The Natchez Democrat — Sisters Kathryn, left, and Allison Freeman recently competed in the Southwest District Shooting Sports competition in Pearl on May 5. Allison, 12, took home one first-place ribbon, and Kathryn, 11, won first place in two events.

NATCHEZ — Allison and Kathryn Freeman have enjoyed target practice since they were little. The sisters will take the opportunity to practice their marksmanship in their back yard whenever they can, and on May 5 their practice once again paid off in the form of a first-place ribbon.

The Freemans are members of the Adams County 4-H Shooting Club. They each represented their team with top finishes at the Southwest District 4-H Shooting Sports Competition in Pearl.

Allison, 12, won first place in a 10-meter air pistol (two-handed) competition, while Kathryn, 11, won in the 10-meter air rifle and 10-meter air pistol (two-handed) competitions. Although the girls took home top awards, their original teacher, their father Curt, said he has seen them shoot better.

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“They got first, but they could have done better,” Curt said. “But I was tickled to death, and it kind of made me proud (when we found out they won).”

Kathryn said she did not agree with her father’s assessment of their performance after the competition.

“Daddy didn’t know what he was talking about,” she said. “I think we did good.”

This year was the fourth time the girls participated in the event, and each has won several ribbons at each competition, but it all started at home with their father.

“I pretty much trained them,” Curt said. “They love to shoot.”

Curt said both his daughters enjoy deer hunting with him as well, and each girl harvested a deer this season.

“I’m raising them right,” Curt joked. “I’m going to make them a good husband some day.”

Kathryn said she enjoys the opportunity to compete at events like the district championship against shooters from other counties, but she enjoys target practice at home more.

“It’s fun to focus on other targets,” she said. “We shot at paper clips the other day.”

The girls even used Easter eggs to practice Easter Sunday with their cousins and members of the shooting club, Hannah and Natalie Russell.

“They had a blast,” Curt said. “They were grinning from ear to ear when I told them they could do that.”

But as much as the girls like target practice, they prefer the thrill of a live target, they said.

“I like hunting,” Allison said. “You get to shoot a big deer, and you get to cut it up. But I don’t cut it up because it’s nasty.”

Both sisters are also involved in basketball and softball, but Kathryn said she prefers individual sports like shooting.

“I like being by yourself, because you get to win by yourself,” she said.

Elizabeth Freeman, the girls’ mother, said she was excited about her daughters’ achievements, and she likes that they have the shooting club available to them.

“It gives them something constructive to do,” she said.

The Adams County club was well represented at the competition with seven shooters.

Hannah Russell took second place in the five-meter air rifle BB-gun competition. Natalie Russell finished in seventh place in the 10-meter air pistol. Griffin Hootsell finished sixth and seventh in two different air rifle competitions. Emily Hootsell won her archery competition and finished fifth in the .22 rifle competition. Cullen Mophett took seventh place in the archer competition.

Jason Jones, 4-H shooting instructor, said he was pleased with the team’s performance.

“We did very well,” he said. “We’re one of the smallest groups competing compared to the other districts. We had some first-place, second and third-place winners. We did very well competing against over 300 kids from all the districts. They all did very well. And all the time, practice and effort they put in paid off.”