They came from all over the United States, from as far as Oregon, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Montana; teams of competitors lined the podium at the Daisy Nationals Opening Ceremonies Friday night, July 4, 2014.
Just walking into Open Practice the morning before Opening Ceremonies, my family and I could feel the excitement in the air. My boys have their own BB guns, under supervision, of course; they love target shooting with Dad, so I had a feeling they’d like seeing some of the competition take place at Daisy Nationals. Even as we drove into the parking lot, we noticed a lot of excitement; cars were marked with team names or phrases like “Proud Momma” or “Going to Nationals!” Teams of kids, ages 8 to 15, had qualified
at the state level in their home states to come and compete at this annual event. Together with their coaches and families, they made their way to Rogers on what some would call the road to Daisy.
The official dates for the Daisy National BB Gun Championship Match were Thursday, July 3 to Sunday, July 6. Walking into the convention space, there was an official equipment check area. A Pro Shop remained open most of the day, so that attendees could purchase items. Open Practice was available the first two days with Matches starting on Saturday, July 5.
At Opening Ceremonies, it really became apparent how much Daisy means to the teams, coaches, and families in attendance. With a contest for best team colors, many teams
dressed up in costume or state colors and proudly marched up to the podium for their team photo. Teams included a group of Southern Belles from Georgia, a team from Kansas dressed up as characters from The Wizard of Oz, including the coaches dressed up as flying monkeys, and more. It was really entertaining to watch.
Various awards were given that night, including a scholarship to one young competitor. Coaches of many years were deservedly honored, as well. Ray Hobbs, President and CEO of Daisy, made an announcement, for which he received a standing ovation, that over the next few years, Daisy is making a commitment to move overseas production back to the USA. Before the ceremonies ended, teams got to hear from champion Lydia Paterson, who began the competition with inspiring and motivating words to each and every competitor.
Later that afternoon, a Barter Bar was held, where tables were filled with mementos and special items from each competitor’s home state. Participants could go around to each table, trading one item forSaturday and Sunday brought the competition, with Matches starting at 8am each morning. We watched just a bit of the shooting, noticing parents, coaches, and teammates holding up binoculars to see how their comrades were faring. Saturday afternoon, competitors took a written test; no parents or coaches were allowed in the room.
another. This was probably one of the neatest things I’ve ever seen. Everyone was having a good time; you could definitely tell certain tables apart…. For instance, tables from Louisiana held all kinds of beads and hot sauce. Other tables held trinkets, rocks, syrup, jams and jellies, license plates, and more.
While I wasn’t able to attend the final day’s events, the Champion Match and Award Ceremony were held that day. According to the Orion Scoring System, the following teams won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places:
1st Place Team – Pierre Jr. Shooters from Pierre, SD
2nd Place Team - Spink Co. Shooting Sports from Brentford, SD
3rd Place Team – Lake Houston 4-H Outdoor Explorers from Crosby, TX
Girl power reigned in top spots at Daisy Nationals. That’s definitely one thing that stood out to me. Girls had the same opportunity to compete as boys; they were all in this together. Gun safety is #1. Not only that, but the skills that these kids learn while competing in this sport are so valuable and just amazing. The camaraderie and the quality time that kids seem to have with both coaches and parents really stood out to me. Everything they learn in this sport leads to valuable skills they will carry with them throughout life. It’s something I wish I’d known about as a kid.
Visit the Daisy Airgun Museum
Didn’t get to attend Nationals but still want to learn more about Daisy? The Daisy Airgun Museum in Rogers, Arkansas, is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm. You’ll find historic exhibits from decades of success as a company, learn much about their history, and maybe even relive old memories. You can read more about the museum here.
Have you heard of Daisy Nationals? Maybe you’ve owned a Daisy and have amazing memories to share? Share your story in the comments.