By Lars Dalseide | July 23 2013 15:26

Kids from across nation testing their outdoor and survival skills in Raton

Colorado's Junior Youth Hunter Education Challenge team arrives in New Mexico

As luck would have it, Wolf Creek Outfitters' Mia Anstine is out at NRA Whittington Center for the 2013 NRA International Youth Hunter Education Challenge. While cheering on a certain team from Colorado, she agreed to send us pics and updates from the event.

Here's what arrived for day one ...

Raton, NM – More than 300 National Youth Hunter Education Challenge participants assembled at the Whittington Center for NRA's International YHEC Competition. Active throughout the year, parents watched as an estimated 50,000 kids practiced and competed throughout the year to qualify for this annual match. Teams from 17 states arrived last night as Bob Davis (manager of NRA's Hunter Services) and NRA executives gave introduction and welcomed their guests.

Whittington Center Executive Director Wayne Armacost applauded teams for their hard work in qualifying for the event and welcoming all to take park in the the 40th anniversary celebration of the center's founding. He boasted that these children are the future of our country and the center is proud to host them. He asked the kids to strive for excellence, protecting the American way, not only in the competition but in life.

YHEC members will participate individually and as a team in eight skill areas in which every hunting expert should excel. Competitors will shoot rifles, shotgun, muzzleloaders, 3-D archery, perform wildlife identification, orienteering, survival and hunter-safety exercises.

Ron Schmeits, Past NRA President and Whittington Center Chairman, greeted teams with praise and a warning in safety. This not only includes safe shooting practices, he cautioned, but also staying hydrated and avoiding heat exhaustion. Next to the platform was Kyle Weaver.

As the Executive Director of NRA General Operations, Weaver encouraged the crowd to continue supporting the NRA as the NRA continues supporting the kids. He thanked volunteers for their help here today and with the programs that contribute to the fight to preserve our lifestyle. There was also the mention of NRA GO.

An upcoming program, NRA GO means just that; GO hunt, GO shoot, GO train, GO educate, GO compete. While we don't have all the details, we are looking forward to hearing more about how this and other programs will help defend our way of life. A lifestyle that we, as gun owners, love so much.

Last count had the number of participating states at 17: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. And next year they plan to bring in even more.

If this is something that your child might be interested in, or if you're interesting in starting a YHEC Club in your area, contact Monty Embery of NRA Hunter Services or visit the YHEC website at yhec.nra.org.

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