ST. GEORGE — In the 1983 classic “A Christmas Story,” a young boy growing up in the 1940s is determined to get an air rifle owned by his favorite Western action hero but is foiled every step of the way by people telling him “You’ll shoot your eye out.” Fortunately that won’t be the case for a group of Cub Scouts who learned from some of the best Saturday at the annual Zion Cub Scout Day Camp.
The eager Cub Scouts made their way to the BB gun shooting range to take their turn testing their skills. The theme of the camp was “Be your own Hero,” and scouts in groups of 25 to 30 listened to instructions from Les Covey and seven other Marines from the Utah Dixie Detachment 1270 Marine Corps League.
The rifles were all lined up on a square piece of carpet waiting for their shooters. It was hard for some to resist, but all had to wait for their safety instructions. No one touched a rifle until told to.
They were given directions on safety and procedures in handling the air rifles. First they learned from the Marines and other volunteer instructors to always keep the barrels pointed down range.
They learned to place the rifle barrel point down on the square piece of carpet and then use their own body weight to cock the rifle. Then they picked up the rifle with the barrel again pointing down range and looked for the BB to be in position.
With everything in order they stepped up to the firing line. The Marines and other volunteers were placed at about every fifth Cub Scout to look over their shoulders and ensure the safety and help them with handling the air rifles.
Then under the commands of the range officer they commenced the fun of shooting at the metal targets, which were hanging on a line about 50 feet away. The “buffalo” seem to be the popular one, as shouts like “I got the buffalo five times” were often heard throughout the day.
Covey, a Marine and range officer from the Southern Utah Practical Shooting Range, organized the shooting venue and got Marines from the Utah Dixie Detachment 1270 to donate their time to help the Cub Scouts have a successful day camp.
Between the volunteers from the Utah Practical Shooting Range and the Marines, there was enough discipline on the range to allow 415 Cub Scouts to enjoy the experience.
This is always a highlight of the Cub Scout Day Camp and teaches respect and safety for the handling of the air rifles.
Submitted by WILLIAM FORTUNE, Utah Dixie Detachment 1270 Marine Corps League.