Tuesday, July 9, 2024

4H Shooting Sports Announces Tom Knapp Memorial Scholarship Winners

Jessica Laffey from Colorado and Kaeli-Gracyn Bourgoyne from Louisiana were awarded the Tom Knapp Memorial Scholarship during the opening ceremonies of the 2024 National 4-H Shooting Sports Championships in Grand Island, Nebraska. This scholarship is given annually to two 4-H Shooting Sports Teen Ambassadors. Applicants must have attended the National 4-H Shooting Sports Leadership Institute, be a high school senior or a college freshman, sophomore, or junior, and remain active in 4-H Shooting Sports either as a member or volunteer.

The shooting sports community lost a tremendous ambassador, teacher, and friend in 2013 with the passing of exhibition shotgunner Tom Knapp. His combination of shooting skills and stage presence inspired an entire generation of new shooting sports enthusiasts. To honor his memory and continue his legacy, Champion® and Federal® teamed up with the National 4-H Shooting Sports Committee to create the Tom Knapp Memorial Scholarship.

For more than a decade, Knapp represented Champion® and Federal® worldwide at live exhibitions, on television, and at numerous consumer and trade shows. With the support of his wife, Colleen, Champion extended Knapp’s licensed products program to fund an endowed scholarship that awards up to two $2,500 scholarships annually.

Applicants are selected based on 4-H and community leadership, citizenship and community service, 4-H awards and recognition, and non-4-H awards and accomplishments. A written essay on “How has participation in shooting sports activities made you a conservationist?” is also required. Applicants describe how 4-H Shooting Sports programs have heightened their awareness of wildlife conservation and how hunting and shooting sports are critical components of conservation in North America.

Jon Zinnel, Director of Community Relations for Federal Ammunition, was part of the selection committee and awarded the scholarships at the opening ceremonies. Jon shared, “Jessica and Kaeli-Gracyn demonstrated an impressive understanding of wildlife management and the vital role hunting and shooting sports programs play in operating and funding the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. As a former national 4-H Shooting Sports Ambassador, reviewing these applications is a highlight of my year. All these Ambassadors are tremendous citizens, which made the decision challenging. These young people had great applications and deserved the scholarship awards.”

To learn more about 4-H Shooting Sports or the National Ambassador program, visit 4-H Shooting Sports. You can also contact Scott Stuhr, National 4-H Shooting Sports Program Coordinator, at coordinator@4-hshootingsports.org.