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CEDAR FALLS—Mother’s Day can be celebrated in many ways.

For some moms it means breakfast in bed or even being taken out to eat.

For Niki Kitzman of Beaman, Mother’s Day was spent out at the cold, damp and windy confines of the ISTA Home Grounds in Cedar Falls to watch her son, Dawson, compete at the 2018 regional shoot.

“I don’t mind this at all, it’s one of my favorite things to do,” Kitzman said. “When they told me there was a shoot on Mother’s Day I did not hesitate. I have only missed one shoot in the three years. Dawson has been doing this and I would not miss this one. The weather could have been a little nicer though.”

With the final day wrapping up, and a cold breeze beginning to sweep over the grounds, Dawson and his Central Iowa Straight Shooters Club took to the doubles competition.

Rain began to tamper with the traps making shooting a little more challenging, but Dawson knew that despite being one athlete short on their squad, the show must go on.

“You still have to shoot no matter what and we just came out here to shoot as a team and do our best,” said the freshman from BCLUW. “Scores don’t matter here, we were just out to have fun and support each other. I had some troubles with my gun slipping from being wet, but my mom would come over and encourage me and she is always there to help pick me up. I wanted to shoot well today just for her.”

Dawson shot lights out in the dreary conditions as he banged down 92 targets in the doubles leading his team in that category.

“It was great having my mom, dad and little brother here cheering me on,” added Dawson. “It is all about family and friends and today we had a lot of fun together. My team really is like family as they have always been there to encourage me when things do not go so well.”

Dawson finished just one shot under teammate Logan Dolezal, knocking down 94 birds in singles. Team captain Brianna Heltibridle needed a little encouragement after hitting a rough spot during her second set of 25.

“My team and coaches know I can get down when things don’t go well,” Heltibridle said. “I hit a bad streak and got down a little and it messed with my rhythm. My coaches always say you can get over it and move on. Even some of the parents, like Niki today, will come up and give you a hug and tell you it is just one miss and to move on.

“This isn’t my usual squad I shoot with, but I really like them. They are fun to shoot with and they cheer me on and that helps a lot.”

Heltibridle bounced back quickly and finished singles with a 88, matching her drop total in handicap.

Sage Lewis, the other member of the team, shot a very strong 89 in nasty conditions.

“We stress so much to these guys that you are here as a team and not as individuals,” CISSC coach Tim Dolezal said. “Unlike some sports, here every body plays and is part of the team. We had a big shoot yesterday and another one Monday. Today, they had an option to shoot or stay home, since it was Mother’s Day.

“I think the four kids that came today shot fantastic under these conditions and they gave it there all. I have a great group of kids on our team (40) and I have six great coaches who help out a lot to get them ready.”

Not all kids can get the attention they need at all times, and that is where team moms like Niki come to the rescue.

“It is so easy to talk to these kids, but for the girls sometimes a mother figure means more,” Niki said. “It is easier for me to go up and give them a hug than it would be for one of the coaches I think.”

It is strong support by the SCTA that brought the regional shoot to Iowa for the first time in history.

“It takes a lot of people to get this going,” said SCTP National Program Director Tom Wondrash. “I want to thank the ISTA for all their help and support, they did a fantastic job. I thank them for allowing us to use their facility and I think it was a win-win situation.

“A big thank you as well to Ben Berka (President and Executive Director), Carlton Nether (Western Director of Development), and Cindy Walker and Amanda Wondrash for all they did with the work inside putting scores and stuff together. It was a great team effort, and we will be back.”


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