Brian Sloan, North Carolina
Hometown: Statesville, N.C.
Home Chapter: South Yadkin Local in Harmony, N.C.
North Carolina's Brian Sloan won the black powder and hunter divisions at the National Wild Turkey Federation's 2010 Wild Turkey World Still Target Championships.
Brian Sloan's steady aim and intense focus paid off Oct. 2 when he was crowned champion in the black powder and hunter divisions at the NWTF's 2010 Wild Turkey World Still Target Championships. When Brian claimed the seventh and eighth world championship titles of his impressive target-shooting career, he brought his children and their neighborhood friends along for the experience.
NWTF: Brian, you always bring children with you to the Wild Turkey World Still Target Championships. Who do you have with you here today?
Brian Sloan: My oldest boy, Eli, who is 9 and started shooting in the competition this year. My other two sons are not quite old enough to compete yet.
NWTF: And you brought some other children with you today, too, right?
BS: I did. I used to bring my nephews until they aged out of the JAKES division of the competition. So now, I bring some neighborhood kids; they're good shots and good kids, which is the most important thing.
NWTF: Why do you think it's important for adults to take the initiative to introduce youth to the outdoors?
BS: Children have to learn to hunt and shoot. It's better than anything they do at school, in my opinion. They need to know how to defend themselves, how to shoot correctly, and how to feed themselves in a way other than by going to the grocery store.
NWTF: Who introduced you to the outdoors?
BS: I grew up in the outdoors − my dad introduced me. He was hunting and fishing and carrying me along with him before I was old enough to hunt and fish myself.
One of my sons killed two turkeys when he was 5. When he was 6, he killed a deer. My son Eli killed a nice eight-pointer with a muzzleloader last year when he was just 8 so they're getting a young start, and they really like it. They participate in a lot of other sporting activities and are really good at football and soccer but if I ask them what their favorite sport is they'll say hunting every time.
NWTF: How do you think hunting influences family relationships?
BS: Hunting is a way for families and friends to spend time together and make memories. Some of my fondest memories of hunting is setting goals and meeting them in the hunting woods and meeting fishing goals also.
The biggest difference from when I was a kid and when these boys are kids is the picture taking involved in the sport. I've got my memories stored away, and we've got their memories on video. They can go back and look at those memories, even if they were too young to remember everything.
Most of the children my sons go to school with have never hunted. My middle boy is always talking about hunting at school and his buddies' mamas come to me and say, "They want to come to your house and hunt something," (laughs) ... which is a lot of fun. My boys always learn a lot and their friends always want to come home with them to hunt and shoot. I think introducing kids to shooting is a whole lot better than them playing video games.
NWTF: If you had the chance to thank your parent for introducing you to hunting and giving you the opportunity to share this activity with your family now, what would you say?
BS: Oh I could just go on and on. Most of the time parents who live out in the country introduce their children to the outdoors before their children even know they want to be involved.
It's good to take kids outdoors and encourage them and give them decent enough equipment so they can compete with the adults. Getting to compete with adults means a whole lot to a kid. I remember the first time I killed more doves than my daddy and, you know, it is something I'll never forget; it's priceless.