Case: Competitive shooting phenom keeps setting bigger goals and hitting the targets

Photo by Larry Case / Makayla Scott and her father Telford rest after a long day at Field of Dreams, the shooting range they built with help from others in the family's backyard in Alvon, W.Va. Makayla, at age 17, is a rising star in the world of shotgun sports who wanted others to have a place to practice or give competitive shooting a try.

The indomitable force of nature known as Makayla Scott continues to sweep across the country, plowing all obstacles out of the way.

I have told you about Makayla before, but if you don't remember, she is a 17-year-old shotgun-shooting piece of machinery from Alvon, West Virginia, near White Sulphur Springs in Greenbrier County. Makayla had a less than advantageous start in life and was being bumped around the foster care system when she was found by Telford Scott and adopted into his family.

Makayla may have had a rough start in life, but some years ago through the love and encouragement of her new family, as well as the help of the 4-H shooting program, she picked up a shotgun, started competing and has never looked back.

Being serious about competing in the shotgun world meant a lot of hard work and sacrifices for both Makayla and her family. Lots of travel to shooting events in other states means long road trips, motels and bad diner food. Once at the event, to effectively compete, the shooter must shrug all this off and make it count when standing up there burning powder; this means when the shotgun goes bang, targets have to break.

Makayla did it, her family did it and the list of accomplishments is impressive.

Makayla won the 2018 Perazzi Sporting Grand Prix bronze medal in junior class, shot for the fourth-place team at 2019 4-H nationals in Grand Island, Nebraska, was the double skeet champion and finished fourth in sporting clays in the Scholastic Clay Target Program nationals in 2019, made the 2019 North Carolina all-state team - West Virginia did not have an SCTP team at the time; more on that later - and qualified for the United States' trap team for the Junior Olympics, becoming the first female to do that. This list of wins and accomplishments could go on, but in truth, I am too lazy to keep typing them.

OK, one more: in October 2019, Makayla earned a spot to shoot on the team of Dave Miller of CZ-USA and was was one of four young shooters who helped him set a Guinness World Record for the most number of clays broken by a five-person team in 12 hours! Five shooters fired almost continuously for 12 hours, 14,167 targets were broken and I do not expect that number to be topped any time soon.

Makayla, at 17, has established herself as a force to be reckoned with on the competitive shotgun trail, but that was not enough: She had another idea brewing in that brain of hers.

What if there was a local shooting range where young people could try the shotgun sports of trap, skeet and maybe five stand? What if this range was right here in her backyard? She had the room; all she had to do was put together a few little details such as some bulldozer work, pouring concrete and building trap houses for the skeet range, laying out and putting in the various shooting stations and acquiring the target throwers needed.

Little things like that.

She wasted no time reaching out to her sponsors - firearms company CZ-USA and well-known clay target thrower manufacturer MEC Outdoors - and they soon joined in to make this happen. Makayla also reached out to some local businesses and got help from Green Acres Excavating, Lynch Construction and S.J. Neathhawk Lumber. Local shotgun coaches Joe Hayes, Curtis Kincaid and Joe Windon, and Makayla's dad, Telford, all put in long hours to help make the range dream a reality.

With all she had been through personally and what this range could mean to new shooters being exposed to shotgun sports, Makayla knew she could give the site only one name: Field of Dreams.

Now that the physical site was becoming a reality, Makayla put phase two of her dream for this place into action. Last year she had competed with the North Carolina SCTP team, the Carolina Clays, and done well. Even though she was proud of this accomplishment, she knew she had to find a way to take a team from her home state of West Virginia to SCTP nationals. So the first chapter of the Scholastic Clay Target Program in West Virginia was born: the Mountaineer Clay Crushers!

They currently have about 25 members, and if you are a young person who would like to try shotgun shooting and want to learn more, you can reach Makayla through the team's page on Facebook.

As in the baseball movie "Field of Dreams," Makayla knew that if she built it, they would come. Pull!

photo Contributed photo / Larry Case

"The Trail Less Traveled" is written by Larry Case, who lives in Fayette County, W.Va. You can write to him at