People discover their talents in many different ways. Some develop at a young age, while others appear at the end of a long period of trial and error in lots of activities.
The latter was true for Makayla Scott, of Alvon, who has become a standout in the world of shooting sports.
“My brother joined the 4-H club near here that had shooting sports, and he really, really liked it,” Scott recalled. “My dad was like, ‘you should try this.’ I didn’t think I’d want to because I had tried tons of sports and I had never found my thing.
“I tried basketball, softball – I can’t run; I can’t throw,” she said, laughing. “It was just bad. Dad finally got me to try the shotgun, and I don’t know why, I just loved it. It clicked.”
Scott fell in love with the sport right away, but it took some time for her to build her skills.
“I was not good at it right away by any means,” she said, “but I liked it, and it was fun. I liked constantly getting better.”
At the age of 12, Scott began practicing skeet, trap and sporting clays. By the following year, in 2017, she was hitting the competition circuit.
“I mostly shot sporting clays then,” she said. “There’s not too many competitions in West Virginia, so I did mostly sporting clays around North Carolina. I actually did international shooting. I went to the Junior Olympics in Colorado and that’s probably the furthest I’ve been for competition.”
At the Junior Olympics in 2018, Scott got a qualifying medal but did not place in the top three.
Her skills in the field are matched by her skills in the classroom. To allow for her shooting schedule, Scott was homeschooled and she earned her high school degree at 16. Now, at the age of 18, she is enrolled at Montreat College in Black Mountain, North Carolina, where she is studying to become a journalist.
The school also happens to have a shooting team.
“I got a full ride scholarship shooting for them, which is awesome,” she said. “I’m now competing in the SCTP shoots – Scholastic Clay Target Program.”
Scott’s achievements include: In 2018, Bronze in the Perazzi Grand Prix Junior Class and member of the fourth-place team in the 4-H Nationals in Grand Island, Nebraska. In 2019, fourth place in sporting clays and doubles skeet champion in the Scholastic Clay Target Program Nationals. She also made the North Carolina All-State Team and qualified for the United States Junior Olympic Trap Team.
Also in 2019, Scott was part of a five-member team which made the Guinness Book of World Records for most number of clays broken by a five-person team in 12 hours. The team of Scott, Dave Miller, Weston Zolck, Jessica Strasser and Levi Henrich broke 14,167 clays in 12 hours.
Scott was chosen for the 2020 National Sporting Clays Association SCTP All-American Team and received the Women’s Outdoor Media Association’s annual scholarship.
As she honed her skills and continued to compete, Scott received several sponsorships from national sporting companies.
“My first official company sponsor was CZ-USA,” she said. “CZ-USA supplies all my guns and all my gun needs. If my gun breaks, they send it back to me. MEC Outdoors – they actually sponsored our machines for our field that we built in the backyard and a whole bunch of gear. Also, SSP Eyewear – they sponsor my eyewear and the Midway USA Foundation, I’m kind of a social media representative for them, so I’ll do posts and stuff in exchange for help for our team.
“It’s pretty awesome.”
The field in her backyard is Scott’s very own field of dreams.
“It’s about five acres,” she said. “We have skeet, trap and a five stand. A five stand is essentially sporting clays, but it’s in a smaller space. With sporting clays, you have eighteen stations throughout the woods or a field that you walk to. A five stand has all five stations right there in front of you.”
The field is for Scott, and for the team, Mountaineer Clay Crushers, which she and her dad, Telford, started.
Young people interested in learning about shooting sports and joining the team are welcome to contact the Scotts and take a turn on the field.
“This month is our enrollment,” she said. “That’s why we’re really wanting to get more kids involved with it from across the state. I think we have about twenty now, and I think we have some younger ones. We have as young as nine-years-old and up to college age.
“I’ve always thought I’d like to give other kids opportunities that I had,” she continued. “There’s so many kids out there like me that don’t like sports. Like softball and football. They just can’t find their niche. That was me. I could never find my thing.”
It costs $25 to join the team and guns are supplied through CZ-USA. Those interested in the team may contact Scott on Facebook or Instagram or call her at 304-536-2321 or 304-647-8136.
“If it wasn’t for the shooting sports, I don’t know where I’d be right now,” she said.