MRA shooting team makes championship

Published: Apr. 21, 2023 at 1:01 PM CDT
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MADISON, Miss. (WLBT) - Just two years ago, the Madison-Ridgeland Academy shooting sports team didn’t even exist. Now, nine Patriots are headed to the championship.

“I knew other schools were doing programs like this. So, I reached out to the school and told them that I’d love to help start coaching the program. The school was all aboard and they love to do it,” Coach Scott Rives said.

The MRA team has been training since last fall for state shooting. Even though their coach loves how the team has grown in the competition in a short time, he loves seeing his players grow in their sport even more.

“It’s exciting, I mean, I like to compete,” Rives said. “I have a little competitive side but really the program is there for the kids to learn… When they know what they’re capable of and then when they finally achieve what they’re capable of, you can kind of see the big grin on their face and that’s fun.”

Coach Rives hopes this sport continues to grow, but he knows there are probably a few setbacks -one of those being safety precautions around guns.

“It first starts out with safety. So, everyone gets apprehensive about firearms and safety,” said Rives. “It starts with safety first and foremost. I harp that a lot in our first practices and even today.”

Once the rules and safety measures are all laid out, he encourages interested players to find a local gun club.

“Go out there, don’t be nervous or scared,” Coach Rives stated. “Everybody had to start somewhere. Eventually get a group people. It’s always just like every sport. You have fun when you’re with other people.”

For one senior, combining his hunting background with having fun with friends was all he needed to hear to convince him to join the team.

“I was like, well I’ve heard of it. I’ve never done it before but shooting shotguns against clay pigeons, it just sounded really fun,” said John Wallace Valentine. “So, I just started and fell in love with it. I would say definitely come out and try it… the worst-case scenario is that you’re outside with your friends having fun. So, who doesn’t want to do that?”

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