A 13-year-old Rim Country Middle School eighth-grader has set an Arizona Junior High Power Championship rifle shooting score racking up 478 points out of a possible 500.
In setting the mark, April 21 during the Matt Acker Memorial Shoot at Ben Avery Range near Phoenix, Donnie Smith also scored eight perfect bull’s-eyes.
The match is held annually as a tribute to Acker — a former junior shooter who died in a 2001 automobile accident near a Florida military base where he was stationed.
Smith has been shooting since he was nine years of age at the Jim Jones Shooting Range south of Payson and is a member of the Tonto Rim Sports Club. He is also a member of the Arizona Junior High Power Rifle Team that is competing July 27 to August 3 at Camp Perry, Ohio.
In 2011, Smith was a member of the Arizona team that won the prestigious Minute Man Trophy as top junior team at the National Rifle matches held at Camp Perry.
In the battle for the Infantry Trophy, the Arizona team, coached by Tom Kirby, finished second.
In addition to being a member of the eight-man Arizona team, Donnie picked up at Camp Perry valuable individual points toward eventually receiving his Distinguished Rifleman’s Badge.
In National Rifle matches, Donnie and his teammates fire open sight AR-15 rifles at targets 200, 300 and 600 yards away.
Smith’s goal in the sport is to eventually earn a college scholarship.
“Texas Christian, Utah, North Carolina and Ohio State all have small bore shooting teams,” he said. “I’d like to go to one of those.”