SIDNEY -- Among the many booths and activities at the Spring Expo, a group of young shooters -- BB guns and airguns -- were busy selling tickets to a gun raffle. Proceeds from the raffle support the Kimball Dead Eye Shooters, the 4-H shooting club of Kimball and Banner counties.

The team has qualified for the Nationals competition in Arkansas in July.

4-H members who want to be part of the Dead Eye Shooters first need to be at least eight years of age, and pass a required safety test. Karsyn Chesley, a 13-year-old member of Dead Eye Shooters, said 30 kids applied for membership this year. She said competitive kids will come in in December, pass the test and start practicing. Others will come in January.

"We go to quite a few shoots just in the Panhandle, from January to early March," she said. "They're just little competitive shoots."

The next step is State. This year, the state competition was in Beatrice. Competitors take a test, shoot, and then judges compile the scores. The top three teams go to Nationals, this year in Rogers, Ark. The Dead Eye Shooters finished second in State, qualifying for Nationals. The top five shooters on the team qualify to compete in Nationals. The Nationals team also includes two alternates; alternates have a separate competition.  Chesley's eight-year-old sister Tallyn made the Nationals team as an alternate. 

"The actual shoot is over two days," she said.

Karsyn Chesley said the competition includes four positions; two positions one day and two positions the next day. 

In addition to the competition events, the club plans activities outside of the shooting events including seeing sites and a team dinner. 

The club's goal this year was to make it to Nationals. Last year the Dead Eye Shooters finished fourth in State. Chesley said a competitor cannot go two years in a row. The Dead Eye Shooters can return to State and Nationals next year, but with a team of different kids, she said.

The raffle will remain open until June when the drawing will be done. 

The Club expects the gun raffle to generate enough funds to cover the hotel rooms and one meal per day. 

For more information about the Dead Eye Shooters, call Larry Snyder at 308-235-7175.