The Sheriffs Office Explorer Program has been very successful on multiple levels. We have an incredible group of young people from the community. Several have excelled in the program and have gone on to become deputies with the office. However their accomplishments don’t stop there. I want to take this opportunity to tell you about One of our explorers - her name is Bailey and this is her story.
There is always a beginning to everything. Sometimes you see it coming, and sometimes it just appears out of nowhere. My story began the moment I joined our local 4-H youth program. I was interested in the livestock projects when I first heard about 4-H, but as an ambitious 10-year-old, it was hard to resist signing up for every single project. So I started with a manageable few: cake decorating, wood working, leather crafts, and raising market lambs. Immediately I fell in love with the sense of community and belonging.
In my second year, I also enrolled in .22 rifle with the help and support of my grandpa and my mom, whom I have always regarded very highly and looked up to the most. Starting with nothing more than a ’55 Winchester .22 rifle that needed some refurbishing TLC, my whole world was forever changed. I continued maintaining a very full schedule of 4-H projects, softball, and upholding academic excellence, until shooting became more of a priority than the sport I had once loved and played for 6 years (softball). This allowed me to concentrate entirely on 4-H. Then I joined high power rifle. I discovered a relentless passion for high power rifle that still carries today. The following year I added shotgun. I quit raising market lambs to focus on shooting.
In the 2014, I competed at the state 4-H level for .22 rifle, and placed grand champion in 6 out of 8 possible categories; 3 individual and 3 team grand champions. The other two were reserve grand champion and third place.
In 2015, I began .22 pistol by taking 2nd place at a local invitational. At the state level I placed grand champion in 3 venues, and received a national invitation for .22 rifle.
In 2016, I won 1st place in the pistol class of a nationally televised competition called American Marksman, attended the 4-H National Shooting Sports contest for .22 rifle, and competed individually in the Midwest regional championship match with my service rifle, and long range tactical rifle. I placed 5th in the aggregate as the youngest competitor. I joined a junior high power rifle team from Boulder, CO in the early spring, and in July I competed in the High Power Rifle National Championships at Camp Perry in Port Clinton, Ohio. I competed in the 4-H state competition for .22 rifle and received 3 grand champions and a national invite.
In 2017 my goal was achieved in placing grand champion in all 3 of my favorite venues: .22 rifle, high power rifle and high power pistol in the 4-H county competition. At the state level, I won two grand champions and received a national invite to compete in the .22 pistol discipline. I joined the Elbert County Sheriff’s Explorer program in August, and was promoted to sergeant in the spring of 2018.
This year I began the summer with a local competition at Quail Run called the Veteran’s Fun Shoot. I placed first in this competition with my .22 pistol competing among many other higher calibers. Achieved my goal of 3 buckles for the 2nd year in a row. I’m looking forward to competing at the state 4-H competitions for shotgun, .22 rifle, and pistol.
As I wrap up my final year shooting in the 4-H program I know this is just another chapter in my life as a competitive precision shooter. Looking into the future, following the family footsteps into law enforcement. I will begin the process at Metropolitan State University of Denver studying criminal justice, in order to someday serve with local law enforcement agencies.