Haines’ youth shooting team returned from a recent trip to Juneau with a healthy load of medals from 11 athletes who competed with the Haines Hot Shots despite cold temperatures that interfered with equipment.

“It was about 20 degrees when we started,” said coach Nicole Holm. ‘”We couldn’t get started because machines were frozen and birds were frozen together.”

Holm said despite the challenges, the event was a big success for the athletes as they prepare for the Western Regional National Championships in Las Vegas in March, the second year the Hot Shots have sent athletes down for the competition.

At the Juneau Southeast Fall Shoot Invitational on Oct. 21 and 22, Hot Shots competed in four different age classes. Holm said one of the standout performances came from Wade Lloyd, who only started shooting a year ago. This year, he competed in the JV division, which is for less experienced high school athletes. At the competition, Lloyd was the only Haines athlete to medal in all four events – trap singles, trap wobbles, and two sporting clays courses – and shot over 75% of targets, the threshold that moves athletes up to varsity.

“He basically shot himself into the varsity division,” said Holm.

Holm said some of the senior varsity athletes faced a tight tie break that unfortunately didn’t go their way. Dawson Holm was one. After going shot-for-shot with a competitor vying for second place through five stations, Dawson called for another bird about five times but the machine was frozen. Finally, a bird flew that had been spit out in a questionable angle, but Holm fired and missed.

“It’s hard when that happens to maintain their concentration,” said Nicole Holm. Still, Dawson ended up in third place in the event.

The Hot Shots are preparing for an open house on Nov. 18 at 10 a.m. at the Haines Sportsman’s Range, which is also hoping to unveil its new skeet shooting range around the same time.