Shooting has jumped from a hobby to a full-blown competitive desire for one Ashe teenager.
Noah Gouge, who took up shooting at the age of 10 with his grandfather, has taken his passion and skill to a whole new level.
Gouge, 15, began his shooting pastime in 4-H competitions. He spent most of his free time learning to shoot shotguns, rifles and archery.
In March of this year, the young shooter decided to give competitive trap shooting a try and fell in love with it.
One month later, Noah was already competing and won the Junior Championship Singles in the Dogwood Open in Bostic, North Carolina. He hit 188 out of 200 targets.
The North Carolina State Shoot took place one month ago and Gouge took part in 12 events, winning four of those. He had the high overall score, hitting 1,172 of 1,300 targets. He also won the High All-Around Championship in B Class, hitting 373 out of 400. Gouge followed that up with a win in the North Carolina AIM Doubles Championship and the Shamrock Shootout Championship, finishing with a perfect score in singles.
Two weeks ago, Noah entered the ATA Southern Zone Telephonic Shoot, an event that featured well over 500 of the best shooters in the Southern United States and even some other countries, such as Brazil.
With his score of 98, Gouge won the Southern Zone Handicap Championship by one over second place.
At the same time as this event, there were shoots going on in three other regions of the south. One shoot was held in Berea, Kentucky, another in Odessa, Florida and one in Wellsburg, West Virginia. Gouge lost in a shoot-off in the overall junior championship by one target to a shooter in Kentucky.
The sky is the limit for Noah as he will continue to work hard and build this new-found skill and passion for the sport. He puts in anywhere between eight and 12 hours of week practicing and is aiming to be a part of the All-American Trap Shooting Team and be able to travel the circuit and compete against the best of the best.
Nathan Ham can be reached at 336-846-7164 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87