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Young Vt. marksman aims for a big win - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Young Vt. marksman aims for a big win

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JONESVILLE, Vt. -

Mike Davis may only just be aiming to enter high school, but this teen marksman is on target to be a national champion-- again.

"I shoot a .22 Neos. It's a Beretta," he said. "And for long-range, I use a .223 Remington."

The 14-year-old started shooting about five years ago at a UVM benefit match in Morrisville. Now, he's firing off his talents across the country.

"I just like the people that do it," Mike said. "It's a fun sport. Everybody's nice."

Reporter Tyler Dumont: What is it that you really like about it?

Mike Davis: I just the thrill of being accurate. And I like just shooting guns. I kind of like the sound of it.

Mike recently won the Northeast Junior Regional Championship at the American Marksman Competition in West Virginia. It's where shooters from around the region are put to the test. He went through five different rounds based on time and accuracy, leaving with a perfect score of 500, the best of anyone else in his age division.

Mike learned to shoot from his dad, a competitive shooter himself, who formerly served in the Vermont National Guard. Now, Tim Davis coaches his son.

"Shoot for accuracy, and we'll go from there," Tim said.

Both practice together regularly, preparing for steel plate competitions or rim fire. But Mike says sometimes people don't appreciate his efforts. In a time when gun use is being scrutinized perhaps now more than ever, Mike says he hopes his abilities can be viewed as talent earned through years of hard work.

"Not many people see guns as being used for sports. They see them as destruction," he said. "But I see them as sports. And I hope other people can do that too in the future."

After all, being accurate is not easy.

"I respect other people's sports," he said. "So I don't understand why other people can't respect my sport."

A sport that has given Mike two second-place world championship titles and two third-place world championship titles so far. Now, he's hoping to get a first place spot at nationals in Talladega in January.

"I'm excited and nervous at the same time," he said. "It's going to be a lot different than what I've shot."

As Mike now heads to nationals, he will take on dozens of the top shooters in the nation in all divisions. The grand champion will take home $50,000 and the title of being American Marksman.

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