FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Traci Mysliwiec
Release Date: April 21, 2011 Communications Manager, 256-7042
JU Shooting Club Wins Honors at ACUI Clay Target National Championships
Jacksonville, Fla. — The Jacksonville University Shooting Club is the Division III, National 5-Stand Sporting Clays Champion after competing in the 43rd Association of College Unions International (ACUI) Clay Target National Championships held March 31 thru April 4 at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, Texas. JU’s Club was also runner up in both International Trap and International Skeet, as well as placing third in American Skeet and Sporting Clays and fifth in American Trap, all Division III.
This was the Club’s first national event since its inception in the fall of 2009. There were 50 colleges that competed, broken into three divisions, and 432 individual competitors, including members from the United States Shooting Team. Being a club sport, the activity is not funded by the school so members have to pay for their own supplies, etc., but all of the schools compete as varsity teams, as the ACUI makes no distinction between club or varsity.
"We’re undefeated in regular season competition, two years running,” said David Dobson, MBA, JU adjunct professor and head coach and founder of the JU Shooting Club. “This is a big deal for JU, and I hope to get it fully funded and approved as a varsity concept for JU as it will help with recruitment and retention for the University. Students love it, and the clay shooting sports are the fastest-growing, recreational sport in the country today, and that goes for colleges and universities, as there are more than 200 universities who have Shooting Teams or Clubs.”
A professional Wingshooting/Clays instructor and local Ponte Vedra executive, Dobson holds Level III certifications from both the National Skeet Shooting Association and the National Sporting Clays Association. He is only one of two instructors in the country to hold both levels of certification.
Dobson, who is also the head coach for the Shooting Club at University of North Florida (UNF), proposed the club to JU in April of 2009. With the help of Dr. Priscilla Berry, assistant professor of business communications, the Club started in the fall of that year with the aid of a National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF, www.nssf.org) grant written by Dobson. JU’s Shooting Club was the pilot program for the state of Florida with respect to the NSSF Collegiate Shooting Sports Initiative and partners with the Club from UNF for practices.
In regional competition on April 9, JU won the Spring Collegiate Conference Shoot held at Flagler Gun Club, besting UNF, FSU, UF, Stetson, Embry-Riddle and Daytona College. The club also earned the JU Leadership Award for Best New Club in 2010 from Campus Activities.
They have earned several grants from the NSSF to put toward their practice and shooting expenses. Funding is always a challenge for the Club, as shooting facilities have fees for targets and shells, and traveling to competitions incurs additional costs.
“We’ve worked hard to raise money, but it would be such a huge relief if we had more help,” said Ashley Kohler, a junior and vice president of the Club. “We’ve gone to work at the gun show and even sold cookies, but funding is still the biggest obstacle.”
The Shooting Club at JU started in the fall of 2009 and now has 16 members. The current members on the shooting club roster are: Justin Felker - president, Ashley Kohler - vice-president, Matt Arn - secretary, TJ Urbanek - treasurer, Anthony Flock, Phillip Rowley, Arthur Pareene, Laura Wade, Alexis Crouch, Steve Lundy, Pete Sutherland, Tarrant Dunford, Michael Esposito, Charles Needham, Jacob Parr and Scott Hensley.
The JU Shooting Club also currently works to support the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP, www.woundedwarriorprogram.org), based here in Jacksonville. They wear patches on their vests and WWP hats when they compete in order to spread awareness of the WWP and its mission to help wounded vets acclimate back into civilian life after traumatic injury in combat. This cause is important to them, as a club member, former Army SGT. Pete Sutherland, is a combat veteran, Wounded Warrior and graduate of WWP “TRACK Program”. Additionally, Dobson’s nephew-in-law, Dan Nevins, is an EVP with the WWP and also a Wounded Warrior after losing his legs in combat in Iraq in 2004.
Congrations to the team for winning the Intercollegiate Trap/Skeet Shoot against Stetson University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and University of North Florida on December 4, 2010 at Flagler Gun Club. A special congratualtions goes out to our very own Justin Felker for taking overall HOA with a 90/100 for the tournament. Pictures from the event can be viewed here.
2011 tentative schedule of events for the ACUI 43rd Intercollegiate Clay Target Championships in San Antonio, Texas : Wednesday, March 30 – 3pm Registration open and squadding can begin
Thursday March 31 –
8am Registration reopens and squadding continues
Competition starts for 5-Stand and Sporting Clays Competition
Practice available for other competitions
Friday, April 1 – International Skeet Competition
Saturday, April 2 – International Trap Competition
Sunday, April 3 – American Skeet Competition
Monday, April 4 – American Trap Competition
Tuesday, April 5 – Check out and travel
The Florida Times-Union Outdoors: JU, UNF teams taking their best shot
By Jim Sutton
The shooting sports are among the fastest-growing in the country, especially in college ranks.
Last year, 43 teams competed in the collegiate national championships. This year, David Dobson said, two more teams will be making the trip to San Antonio, Jacksonville University and the University of North Florida.
Dobson was the impetus of the fledgling shooting sports program at JU. He pitched the idea of a college shooting curriculum and a shooting club last year to Priscilla Berry, professor at JU's Davis College of Business. She and other university officials were game, and Dobson began attracting participants and writing a college course.
At the same time, UNF was beginning a clays shooting team of its own. There it was a student, Thomas Coates, who was the founder of the club and now serves as its president.
Dobson is a professional clays instructor, holding Level III certifications from both the National Skeet Shooting Association and the National Clays Shooting Association. He's one of the few instructors nationally to hold both certifications. He's also a serious competitor with a long list of wins and titles.
Coates was a shooter and knew Dobson, his teaching skills — and his plans for JU. It was a natural fit for the two teams to end up combining their practices under Dobson's tutelage. They meet a couple times a week at the Jacksonville Skeet & Trap Club, which waives memberships for the teams and is their home base. Amelia Shotgun Sports and WW Sporting Clays also host the teams for sporting clays and five-stand practices.
"They all bend over backwards for the kids," Dobson said.
The program differs at the two schools. JU offers a credited course, "Introduction to the Theory of Wingshooting."
Course material includes most of the rudiments of shot-gunning. Lessons include the history of clays sports, gun safety and shooting safety, equipment, shotgun types, definitions of bore/gauge, shot shells and ballistics, barrel choking, eye dominance, concepts of shotgun fit and instruction on the disciplines of sporting clays, skeet and trap.
At UNF, there is no curriculum or class credit. The shooting team is a school club. And that's true of JU's team.
Shooting is not a funded official sport like tennis or basketball at either school. But Dobson said that is ultimately where he wants to take the JU team. UNF could evolve in that direction as well but currently has no plans.
Dobson has stalked grant money and garnered $5,000 grants for both teams this year from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The money helps defray costs, including clays, power and shot, and will help the teams make the trip this year to the nationals.
Learning to shoot
Last week, the teams were shooting. JU was on the skeet field. UNF was down the line shooting trap. They'll learn to shoot both of these disciplines as well as international trap and skeet, basically souped-up versions of the American sport. Five stand/sporting clays are the fifth shooting game they'll play.
Dobson said that most of the club members had never held a shotgun before, "but they're so eager."
At the beginning of the semester, the shooting class at JU maxed out in two days.
It was refreshing watching the young people shoot. While they're being primed for competition later, right now it's about getting used to a shotgun, learning that you shoot where the clay bird is heading, not where it's been, and having fun sorting it all out.
At this stage, shooting is more important than hitting. There's plenty of time down the road for that particular grind.
Dobson's having fun with it, too.
At the level he shoots, his game is less about hitting targets than never missing. So the time he spends coaching young minds and muscle memory is a break from crushing competitive clays.
But he sees a serious side to the entry-level course.
"With the anti-gun culture in the country today and the ignorance that fuels it, it's good to see kids who'd never shoot seeing firsthand the reality vs. the myth," Dobson said.
Dobson said that, in addition to developing shooters, the classes are building citizens.
"The shooting sports started as a gentleman's game. This is not Bubba sports," Dobson said.
It's discipline, confidence, self-esteem and sportsmanship.
In the spring semester, an intermediate class will be taught at JU. Next fall, the advanced class will form — while new students fill the ranks of the more fundamental coursework.
And new classes of shooting sports enthusiasts and ambassadors will multiply.
Congratulations to David Dobson for initiating, Introduction To Wingshooting Theory (PE 199-03) class at Jacksonville University. David is now an Adjunct Professor at the University and our new Faculty Advisor.
A very special thanks to Dr. Priscilla Berry for being our inaugural Faculty Advisor. Through her dedication and selfless, tireless efforts, the JU Shooting Team is where it is today. We cannot begin to thank her enough.