Bailey repeats as national skeet champ
Preston Bailey is once again a national champion.
On July 14, the soon-to-be freshman from Columbus defended his title by earning first place in doubles skeet for the Intermediate-Advanced Class (IA) at the 2017 Scholastic Clay Target Championships in Ohio.
Not only did Bailey place first in his class, but he placed second overall, beating out 374 competitors, including college students.
Competing against 3,000 of the best young shooters in the country, Bailey brought home a lot of hardware from the national championships – seven medals, to be exact.
He also placed individually in American skeet (fourth in IA) and bunker trap (second in IA).
With various members of his three-man “Smokin’ Guns” squad, Bailey earned four medals: American skeet (fifth in IA), sporting clays (fourth in IA), bunker trap (third in IA), and doubles skeet (third in IA).
His teammates include Brison Ralph of Columbus and Connor Bergman and Canu Golden, both from Laurel.
Bailey also did well at the regional and state competitions earlier this year.
At the Eastern Montana regional competition in May, he won IA trap and sporting clays, and finished third in skeet. The Smokin’ Guns squad (Bailey, Bergman, and Laurel’s Kaegan Crowley) took first in both skeet and sporting clays.
In June, Bailey won skeet and sporting clays at the Montana State Shoot. The squad from regionals swept all three events – trap, skeet, and sporting clays.
Bailey is a member of the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP), as well as the U.S.A. Shooting league.
Jim Bailey, Preston’s dad and Montana state director of SCTP, says that “the mission of SCTP is not only to foster safe shooting practices for school-age kids, but also to build character along with life skills in the process.”
As Jim described, there is a large amount of college scholarship money available for kids in shooting sports, and there is even a pro-level tour.
Preston might have the opportunity to compete at the world’s biggest stage one day, as U.S.A. Shooting is the feeder league for the U.S. Olympic team.
Shooting with SCTP since he was 8 years old (he’s 14 now), Preston’s favorite event is skeet.
He works on the family ranch, and when he’s not shooting targets, Preston enjoys camping, fishing, hunting, and participating in his youth group.