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4-H skeet shoot will honor Peyton Barnett

By Jeremy Weldon

Organizers of this weekend’s skeet shoot benefit honoring Peyton Barnett expect the event to become an annual effort that will grow the size and scope of the Panola County 4-H Shooting Sports club.

Barnett, 17, drowned last month near the Eureka community. The South Panola High School junior enjoyed all types of outdoor activities, and was an accomplished shooter for several years on the local 4-H team.

Michael Byford, a 4-H shotgun instructor who helped Barnett for several years, said Makenzie Byford and Brady Darby put the skeet shoot together as a fundraiser for the Barnett family, but Peyton’s parents asked that proceeds be used by the Panola 4-H Shooting Sports club so more youngsters could learn gun safety and enjoy recreational and competition shooting.

Michael Byford, a 4-H shotgun instructor who helped Barnett for several years, said the teen was always active with club activities andenjoyed the challenges of shooting sports.

In May, Barnett won first place in district skeet shooting competition, advancing to the state event where he competed well and made friends with other shooters from around Mississippi. The Panola 4-H volunteers teach youngsters safety and shooting skills with shotguns, air guns, .22 rifles, .22 pistols, muzzleloaders, and archery.

Saturday’s shoot will be held at the Tallahatchie County Fairgrounds on Hwy. 32, just east of Charleston. Byford said that location was chosen because of the tremendous early response of entrants meant the large area was needed.

Donations from individuals and businesses in Panola and surrounding counties has been remarkable, Byford said, and the original goal of raising a few thousand dollars surpassed. Now, an idea to establish a college scholarship to honor Barnett is being discussed.

Barnett had a natural talent for welding, and friends of the family believe a fitting memorial would award an annual scholarship to a local student wanting to pursue a welding career beginning at Northwest Mississippi Community College or through a similar course.

On Wednesday the list of participating merchants providing cash, door prizes, and raffle items for the shoot included Latham’s Boots, Hock-it-to-me Pawn Shop, Chili’s restaurant, Como Steakhouse, Burns Steak & Seafood, Cafe Ole’, Southern Beverage, Southern Thunder Harley-Davidson (Southaven), Hunter’s Hollow, White Deli & Gas, T & R Graphics, Dunlap & Kyle and Gatewire Tire, and Grocery Basket.

Magnolia Rental will provide a bouncy house for smaller children too young to participate in the shooting sports.

Many other businesses were being added to the list later in the week. To learn more about the skeet shoot, or the plans for the welding scholarship, contact Michael Byford at 901-440-9821, Makenzie Byford at 662-934-0518, or Darby at 662-934-9755.

Registration will begin at 8 a..m. Saturday and shooting events will start at 9 a.m. There will be three categories – 12-15 year olds, 16-18, and adults. Course of fire will be clover clays. Official 4-H rules and regulations will apply. Shells must shoot 1300 fps or less.

Concessions will be available all day, including the food truck of Bean Creek Smokery.