By Matt Goisman
McALESTER — As a competitive shooter, McAlester incoming senior Jay Gilbertson boasts a long list of accomplishments. He’s a two-time National Skeet Shooting Association All-American, a member of the Oklahoma All-State Skeet and Sporting Clay Teams, a 4-H National Shotgun Team Member and a national-level 4-H competitor in the .22 rifle, .22 pistol and muzzleloader categories.
He also got to represent the state of Oklahoma at the National Rifle Association’s annual National Youth Education Summit, which took place June 24-30 in Washington, DC. Gilbertson, the only student from Oklahoma, was among 47 students who went on the trip, including 30 competitive shooters.
“When you get that many people who shoot competitively or anything like that, you get some people that really know what they’re talking about,” Gilbertson said.
“I met a really diverse group. A lot of us have the same opinion in one area, and that’s where guns are involved. And that was basically it. We all have very different opinions on many different things.”
The trip included stops at Arlington Cemetery, the National Museum of American History, Marine Corps Base Quantico, a Senate meeting and several war memorials. Gilbertson said he’d visited the war memorials before, but they still affect him.
“The Vietnam (War Memorial) was the one that gets me the most, because I know people that fought in it,” Gilbertson said. “I shoot with people who fought in it.
“It’s just one of those things that, when you think about what they represent, it’s hard to get past ... the sacrifice our soldiers have gone through.”
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