By Greg Tinsley
More than 100 competitors enjoyed sun-splashed conditions during the United States Helice Association National Championship, held July 24 to 26 at the Black Prairie Helice facility at Prairie Wildlife, near West Point, Mississippi.
According to the USHA website: “Helice shooting—also known as ZZ and Electrocibles—is a particularly challenging shotgun sport . . . . The small targets, called ZZ Birds, consist of a central ‘witness cap’ equipped with winged plastic propellers on either side; the wings simulate the erratic, unpredictable flight of a live bird . . . .
“An oscillating electric motor in the Helice launcher spins the target at high revolutions and launches it, either on command, at regular intervals, or randomly . . . .
“The shooter then calls for the Helice using the call of ‘Pull’ on which command the helice is launched. Once the ZZ Bird has been launched, the competitor has two shots to hit the target. The shooter only scores points if the witness cap is dislodged from the propellers and lands within a fenced area (ring).”
The cone-shaped Helice ring requires five machines, and the National Championship featured three rings and 15 total traps. Each day competitors shot 30 targets from a distance of 26 meters, with the high overall for the three-day event based on 90 targets. Each day also served as a separate selection match for the 2020 US Helice Team.
When all was said and done, the High Over All winner was Kazim Muhammad (who also won the Junior category), with a score of 84 out of 90. Other category winners (and there scores) were: Men—Rick Plote (81); Senior—Mike Sellers (83); Veteran—Malcolm Parker (83); Master—George Gregory (72) and Lady—Laurie Daniel (75).
Brittina Mathis, a competitor from Texas, summed up shooters’ feelings regarding Prairie Wildlife’s Helice complex, accommodations, personnel and tournament organization. “I’ve never seen anything to match all this,” she said.