On June 24, the Lassen Grizzly Claybreakers start their end of season awards banquet with the entire team standing side by side on the 16-yard line to shoot "25 Clays for Clay" in honor of their late friend and teammate, Clay Cagle. Photo submitted

Claybreakers wrap up season with awards banquet

On June 24, the Lassen Grizzly Claybreakers held their end of season awards ceremony and fun shoot event at the Giusti Ranch Range in Standish, California.

The day began with a

more somber event, with the entire Claybreaker team standing side by side on the 16-yard line to shoot “25 Clays for Clay” in honor of their friend and teammate, Clay Cagle, for whom 25 straight scores were a regular occurrence. A moment of silence followed.

Clay Cagle’s memory was honored at the Lassen Grizzly Claybreakers end of season banquet and awards ceremony. Cagle served as the vice president of the varsity team during the 2016-2017 season. His teammates and friends started the ceremony by shooting 25 clays in his honor. Photo submitted

The fun shoot events started off with an “Annie Oakley,” which was won by junior varsity shooter Jake McCart.

Then, the “Mom” shoot started, with seven moms on the line, coached by their respective Lassen Grizzly Claybreaker son or daughter. Cetera Rohl, coached by daughter Brittney Rohl, won the event with four targets. Melissa Smith, coached by son Hunter Smith came in second with three targets broken.

Next came the “Do-Da” shoot, where a shooter gets points for breaking a piece of the previous shooter’s target. Jake McCart won the shoot with a score of 20. Wyatt Spalding came in a close second with 19 points.

Next up was the “Dad” shoot, bringing 10 dads to the line for a fierce competition. When the dust settled, we had a tie between Scott Smith, coached by son Austin Smith, and Bill McCart, coached by daughter Rylee McCart. The tie called for a four-target shoot-off won by Scott Smith.

A second Annie Oakley shoot with 15 Claybreakers on the line finally ended with the last man standing being varsity shooter Aiden Phillips.

A delicious barbecue lunch, served by Charlie, Rena, Tim and Stacey Moore was next, followed by awards.

The varsity team received medals for their fourth-place in the series shoots, and the junior varsity team was awarded plaques for their second-place finish in the series shoots.

Junior varsity shooters Tyler Johnson, Joe Winfrey, Jake McCart, Hunter Smith, Kendahl Loflin, Rylee McCart and Austin Smith received an award for their third placing at the State Championships in Stockton, California. That particular shoot was set on a day so hot that some kids from other teams didn’t shoot.

Four shooters were awarded for their dedication in making all six series shoots and the finals; they were varsity team captain Noah Jones, varsity president Wyatt Spalding, junior varsity shooter Joe Winfrey and junior varsity shooter Hunter Smith.

Claybreakers who earned a high school letter award were varsity shooters Clay Cagle, Noah Jones, Wyatt Spalding and junior varsity shooters Austin Smith, Kendahl Loflin, Joe Winfrey, Rylee McCart, Jake McCart, Hunter Smith and team captain Tyler Johnson.

The Practice Dedication Award was a tie between two outstanding individuals who attended 52 practices each. The tiebreaker came down to how many rounds shot at those practices. First place went to Austin Smith followed by Rylee McCart in second place. Coach Phil Giusti said, “Those are two dedicated athletes, watch out for them in next year’s season!”

Next, Jaycee Ballard accepted a trophy on behalf of Cagle for his service as the 2017 vice president.

The next event on the Grizzly calendar is the U.S. Open Youth Clay Shooting Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada on Friday, July 14 and Saturday, July 15.

The Claybreakers have a squad of five Grizzlies who are going to gamble big and go gun to gun with every school and gun club that attends the shoot from across the United States.

The competition will be extra tough at this event, and a small team starts off at a disadvantage, but that doesn’t worry the Grizzlies.

The team will be led by captain Noah Jones, Carson Chavez, Garrett Mallery, Joe Winfrey and Hunter Smith. Although two of these shooters are junior varsity shooters, Giusti said he has every confidence in them.

“These guys are five great shooters, and I believe we can go down there and make a statement. Competition is no stranger to these guys,” Giusti said. “This is a very expensive trip, so if anyone would like more information on how they could help the team, they can call Melissa Smith at 760-985-2341.”

The Grizzlies are dedicating the Las Vegas shoot to varsity member  Cagle, who was tragically lost in an automobile accident in June. Cagle was on the 2016 Lassen Grizzly Claybreaker squad who went to Las Vegas and brought home the second place trophy to Lassen High and Lassen County.

A service for Cagle will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 8 at the Community Church of Susanville.