Friday, May 16, 2008

Willows Junior Rifle coach Bob Faust holds a picture of star shooter Steven Furtado. In the picture, Steven is smiling after winning first place at a spring 2007 National Rifle Association sectional shooting contest, out of about 50 competitors. "His shooting was so good that we had him shooting with the adults," Mr. Faust says. "He was textbook." Valley Mirror photo by Sam Bhagwat

Rifle coach recalls champion shooter
By Sam Bhagwat
of The Valley Mirror

Willows Junior Rifle Club coach Bob Faust watched Steven Furtado grow in a sport for six years before winning a major competition last year.

“Steven started rifle shooting in January of 2002. He was like 12 years old then.”

“He hardly ever missed a practice, and if he would he’d tell me so.”

Practice was weekly – every Wednesday evening between December and April.

In 2004, Mr. Foust started noticing Steven’s skill.

“We have different levels of competence for postions – prone, sitting, kneeling, and standing,” he explained. “Steven made four levels of improvement in one year.”

“Sitting is his best position.”

Mr. Foust recalls a teenager with confidence; friendly with adults and able to mingle with other students. “Shooting helps build confidence,” Mr. Furtado says.

And Steven was good – “textbook.”

The National Rifle Association holds yearly sectional matches, in which students compete, shooting in targets in all of the four positions.

Last year, Steven took first place out of about 50 competitors – the first Willows High junior to do so.

“He was really excited and proud of himself,” Mr. Foust recalls. “He got third one year and another. Then, he finally won.”

With Steven’s skill and gun safety, he began practicing with the adults.

“His grandfather Troy just bought him a target rifle.”

Mr. Foust thinks of Brian Parks, the first member of the Willows High Class of 2008 to pass away. Steven and Brian had been close.

“(Steven) designed his own arm tattoo, with BP for Brian Parks,” recalls Mr. Faust. He had it put, right below his shoulder, “just a couple months ago.”

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