Two teams from Yadkin County have won the 30th annual International Youth Hunter Education Challenge, held in late July at the NRA’s Whittington Center in Raton, N.M.

The Forbush Raptors from Forbush High School in East Bend won the senior division team title. The Yadkin Patriots from Forbush Middle School in East Bend won the junior division title.

Teams from across the country competed from July 26-31 in marksmanship with .22-caliber rifles and black powder rifles at knock-down targets, shotgun on a sporting clays course, and archery at 3-D game targets. Non-shooting events included orienteering, wildlife identification, hunter responsibility exam, and a hunter safety trail test.

Forbush finished an astonishing 480 points ahead of the senior division runnerups, Oregon Senior 15, finishing first in five of eight events: archery, shotgun, .22 rifle, wildlife identification, hunter safety and the hunter responsibility exam. Three members of the Forbush Raptors won individual events in the senior division: Jordan Yale in archery, Dylan Poplin in muzzleloader and Jordan Dinkins in wildlife identification.

In the junior division, the Yadkin Patriots won by almost 250 points over the runnerup Pennsylvania JTS Sharpshooters. They had high schools in three team events: wildlife identification, shotgun and hunter exam. Zack Norman and Matthew Lineberry took second and third in overall individual competition, Norman finished first in archery and Lineberry finished first in the hunter responsibility exam.

“This makes back-to-back championships for Coach Carson Hobson (of the Yadkin Patriots),” said Tim Lemon, a hunter-education specialist for the Commission in the Northwest North Carolina district that includes Yadkin County. “You have to appreciate his level of commitment to the team and all his hard work. And his hard work doesn’t begin and end with the Yadkin Patriots. He is a longtime hunting education instructor, firearms safety instructor, community volunteer and well known for taking every opportunity to engage local youth in outdoor recreation.”

Nearly 340 competitors, coaches and parents attended YHEC this year. Since its inception in 1985, YHEC has reached more than a million young men and women.

In North Carolina, teams and individuals qualified for YHEC through the Commission’s district and state Youth Hunter Education Tournaments, a component of the Hunter Education Program. Teams are organized on senior (high school) and junior (middle and elementary schools) divisional levels.