KINGMAN - There are many rites of passage for young sportsmen and women when it comes to outdoor recreation - the first bull's-eye while practicing with a new rifle, or finally getting a bird on the wing, though it's taken you 20 shells to do it.
When youngsters participate in organized shooting for trap or skeet, the goal is a perfect round. It's not easy to break 25 clay targets in a row, especially when others are watching you. It requires a lot of skill, concentration and determination to do it.
Ryan Borden has been shooting a shotgun for a few years. He has gotten better as he has gotten older. But he had never had a perfect round of either trap or skeet.
This year, Ryan joined the Mohave Bighorns as part of the Scholastic Clay Target Program at the Mohave Sportsman Club's 7 Mile Hill Range.
Ryan freely admits that he is better at trap than he is at skeet, but he enjoys them both.
At the group's last practice, he and the rest of his team, while under the direction of some veteran coaches, were to shoot four rounds of trap.
On his first round, Ryan used one of the guns that are provided to the young shooters. His score was about the lowest he had ever shot. He broke just 12 targets and was disgusted with himself.
Then trap phenom Jack Cavender offered to let Ryan shoot his Mossberg Silver Reserve over/under 12 gauge.
Ryan figured it couldn't hurt to try a different gun, so back onto the range he went. His next score was 23 X 25, very respectable, and Borden was amazed at how easy it was to hit the speedy clay targets with the new gun.
The next round, the 17-year-old concentrated on each target and the result was a perfect score of 25 X 25.
Now Ryan had one more round to shoot.
Everything was going great. Ryan smoked the first 20 targets, then moved to the last station. There were just five targets left between Ryan and a perfect 50 straight, something that very few shooters accomplish in their lifetimes.
Each target came out and at the shot, the bird broke. Ryan had hit 49 straight and all he needed was the last target to have two perfect rounds.
Ryan admitted he was nervous when he called for the last bird.
The bird came out and he fired - but the bird sailed untouched into the desert. He had missed; but it didn't matter.
The young shooter had shown determination and a lot of skill to break 49 out of the last 50 targets he shot at.
Ryan says he can't wait to go shoot again - and he hopes his friend Jack will let him borrow his shotgun. "That is a sweet gun," Ryan said.