RIO HONDO — Ready, aim, excel!
Six months after she began sport shooting, 12-year-old Alora Hager is taking aim at the big leagues.
That comes after her team placed in three categories at the Scholastic Action Shooting Program National Championships in Ohio in July.
While her success is a great motivator for her continuation with the sport, there’s more to it for her than winning contests.
Alora, a seventh grader at IDEA Academy in San Benito, spoke about her new sport with a fresh passion.
“I guess it’s something to show off and flaunt,” she said.
“But also help other people.”
“A lot of people are scared of guns, which is not surprising,” she said with authority.
“With all that’s happening in the world with how certain people just shouldn’t have firearms, some people are just so scared,” she said. “I like to help them out and get them more comfortable with it.”
Alora said she was very excited about the way she and her teammates shot in Ohio.
She and three other members of the South Texas Shooters team competed at the event in Marengo, Ohio, in mid-July. She’d spent months shooting at three ranges in La Feria, Edinburg and Brownsville, and obviously it paid off.
“It was the first time for a lot of us and we did great even though we were nervous,” she said. “We can’t wait for next year.”
When talking to other people about her sport, she’ll engage them in conversation about shooting and then, depending on the individual’s interest, she’ll invite them to the shooting range.
“It’s something where I can help people and make them feel a lot safer,” she said. “It’s not only a sport, it’s also something that protects you.”
Her mother, Jennifer Mayberry, is delighted by Alora’s success and how the sport has impacted her life.
“The group of kids she shoots with are academic and just well mannered,” she said. “It teaches them responsibility.”
She also admired how Alora is so attentive to teaching others.
“She educates other kids about using firearms and she’s 12 years old, so it comes out very eloquently and she does a great job,” she said.
Shooting has also taught Alora about challenges and obstacles. A brace on her foot has made many sports off limits. But, not so with shooting.
“Shooting was more of a thing where I was good at it and also it didn’t hurt my foot,” she said without reservation.
The challenges of shooting are a sort of mind game, she said.
“If you think you’re horrible at it you will shoot horribly,” she said. “If you think you’re going to do awesome you can do that. You’ll go fast and you’ll encourage yourself. I like to build standards where I want to beat that time.”
And meantime, there more practical applications to performing well.
“It’s a thing you can drive for because, depending on how good you are and what kind of shooting you do, you can get scholarships to college and everything,” she said.
“So that’s also a drive.”
South Texas Shooters team Scores
1st Place – .22 pistol
2nd Place – 1911 9 mm
3rd Place – .22 rifle optic division
Scholastic Action Shooting Program National Championships
July 11 – 15
What is the program?
It is offers youths from fifth grade through college the opportunity to safely participate in team-based action shooting sports.
It is designed to instill in young people a set of personal values and character traits for fair play, compassionate understanding, individual responsibility, sportsmanship, self-discipline, and personal commitment.
• Youths participate using .22 rifles, .22 handguns and/or centerfire handguns.
• Targets are steel circle or rectangular plates.
• All courses of fire are timed events.