Join in a Uintah Basin Tradition with 2 Target Shooting Competitions


Photo Courtesy of the Utah DWR

DWR News Release

VERNAL — If you want to try your hand at some short-range target shooting that involves connection, tradition and competition, bring your family and friends with you to compete in the men’s Wild Bunch Shoot on Friday and the women’s Josie Shoot on Saturday.

The annual events are hosted by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Foundation. While both shooting competitions are free, participants are encouraged to pre-register on Eventbrite for the men’s and women’s events. However, participants may also register the day of the event before the last shooting hour time slot.

History of the Josie Shoot

In 1988, Utah Hunter Education instructor Carole Jackson had a vision to encourage women of all ages in the Uintah Basin to use their newly acquired skills in a shooting competition. Along with the support of her family and the local community, she created the Josie Shoot. It was aptly named after a local pioneer woman that Jackson could relate to — Josie Bassett Morris.

Josie’s name is well known around the Uintah Basin, and you can still visit her homestead cabin at Dinosaur National Monument in Jensen, where she resided until 1964 at the age of 91. Josie was known for her vivacious and independent spirit and this appealed to Jackson and empowered her to recruit more women to learn marksmanship and carry on the Josie legacy.

“The Josie Shoot was created to give women a supportive, encouraging and comfortable atmosphere where they could improve their firearm shooting skills or become introduced to the sport,” DWR Northeastern Region Outreach Manager Tonya Kieffer-Selby said. “The female-only event provides the opportunity for women to socialize, make new friends who share similar outdoor interests and to create memories.”

35th Annual .22 Josie Shoot

The 35th annual .22 Josie Shoot will be held Saturday, June 1 at the Buckskin Hills Shooting Complex in Vernal from 8 a.m. to noon. For tiebreakers, a shootoff will occur at 11:15 a.m., followed by the awards ceremony at 1 p.m. at the Uintah Conference Center at 313 E. 200 South in Vernal.

“This event is one I look forward to every year,” Kieffer-Selby said. “Some of these women have been competing in this event since the shoot began and are now bringing their granddaughters and great-granddaughters to it. It’s an honor to keep this wonderful tradition alive for women everywhere, knowing they are part of a legacy who believe in Carole’s vision and want to carry on for the ‘pioneer’ in all of us. This camaraderie also builds valuable partnerships within our small community. And now with the addition of the men’s Wild Bunch Shoot, everyone can participate throughout the weekend.”

The age classes for the female competition include juniors (11-17), seniors (18-49) and “vintage” (50 and older). All participants 16 years old and under must have a parent or legal guardian present and must have completed Hunter Education to participate.

2nd Annual .22 Wild Bunch Shoot

The .22 Wild Bunch Shoot will be held Friday, May 31 from 3-6 p.m., also at the Buckskin Hills Shooting Complex in Vernal. The awards ceremony will be held at the Uintah Conference Center in Vernal at 6:45 p.m. Participants can register and find more details on Eventbrite.

“Last year, we had around 50 participants, and with it being the first year it was held, we felt that was a huge success,” DWR Wildlife Recreation Programs Specialist Anthony Christianson said.

The age classes for the men’s competition include “youngin” (ages 11-17), “codger” (ages 18-49) and “old fogy” (50 and older). As with the women’s competition, all participants 16 years old and under must have a parent or legal guardian present and must have completed Hunter Education to participate.

Participants for both events are encouraged to bring their own lawn chair for seating during the event. Participants will also need to provide their own ammunition and will use a standard .22 caliber rifle — no magnum rifles, target rifles, handguns or bipods will be allowed in the competition.

This year, as in past years, participants for both events may enter to shoot in the open sight or the scope class, but not in both. The distance to the targets is approximately 30 yards. Participants will have 10 shots in three different positions: prone, sitting and standing. The Wildlife Conservation Foundation is the title sponsor and will be awarding prizes for the top three places in each of the age categories.

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