Lead image courtesy Michelle Cerino
Already at the age of 15, Makayla Scott is a success story for so many reasons. This young rising star from White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, found the shooting sports at a crucial time in her life. Having experienced the devastating loss of a parent, along with abuse and neglect in the foster care world and several failures at attempting recreational sports, the teen had begun to wonder if life was going to be one failure after the other. She got adopted at the age of 9 by Melissa and Telford Scott, and through her new family, became aware of shotgun shooting sports. She qualified for the Junior Olympics competition in Colorado Springs last summer, and that experience further fueled her enthusiasm for shooting sports. Find out more about her in this interview...
NRA Family: When people ask you what you do outside of school, what do you say?
Makayla Scott: I’m actually homeschooled. Shooting is what I do. It’s all I do. I don’t limit myself to one discipline. I shoot Olympic Trap, ATA Trap, American Skeet and Sporting Clays. I’m only 15, so I feel I have time to be able to choose one to focus on. I’m wanting to go to the Olympics for Bunker Trap.
NRA Family: How did you come to be a shooter?
Makayla Scott: Whenever I started, I had tried all the sports in our area. I never liked anything. I tried and tried. I had zero confidence. My older brother, who is now a U.S. Marine, joined 4-H Shooting Sports, and he said, “Why don’t you come shoot with us?” So, I tried it and the first time I broke a clay at American Skeet, I thought, “This is it!” I'll always be grateful for the 4-H Shooting Sports program.
NRA Family: Have you won any awards lately? Something memorable?
Makayla Scott: Last October, I was recognized at a National Sporting Clay Association national banquet in San Antonio, Texas, for having more than 5,000 competition rounds last year. I also won ATA Sub Junior WV State Singles Champion and was the 2018 4-H State Champion, but my proudest moment was being made part of Team CZ-USA.
NRA Family: You’ve been on the range with Olympic shooters. How does that make you feel?
Makayla Scott: To stand beside and compete with some of the USA’s greatest shooters is humbling, to say the least! Sometimes, I can't believe it's real!
NRA Family: Do you have coaches?
Makayla Scott: I do! Mike Adkins and Curtis Kincaid. These coaches are more like best friends to me. They both work at the Greenbrier Shooting Club at the Greenbrier Resort near us. They were the first people to believe in me and always get me back on track if I lose my way. There have been so many shooters that have helped me along the way, but these two have never given up on me.
NRA Family: How many rounds do you shoot a week?
Makayla Scott: It depends on if there’s a competition in the near future, and it’s as much as we can afford. I average over 1,000 rounds per week.
NRA Family: Do you have any sponsors?
Makayla Scott: CZ-USA is my gun sponsor, and we are working on finding shell sponsors and other sponsors to help me chase my Olympic dream. My family, friends, and my hometown have stood behind me with so much love and support. I wouldn't be here without them!
NRA Family: Usually, young shooters get support from their families. How does your family support you?
Makayla Scott: I have four siblings and my parents always find a way to divide the time among all of us. I have two younger siblings and two older, so I’m the middle child. My dad, he’s my hero. He takes me everywhere while Mom is home with my siblings, but they're both a team. I'm so lucky to have this big, wonderful, loving family now. Everyone – even my aunts, uncles, and grandmothers – have made so many sacrifices to help me chase this dream.
NRA Family: What do you like to do in your off-time?
Makayla Scott: I love to take care of my animals. I have 30-some chickens and two dogs. I love to hunt and I listen to Classic Rock, especially Pink Floyd.
NRA Family: Do you consider yourself an ambassador for the shooting sports? Do you think people might look to you for inspiration?
Makayla Scott: I really hope they do. I really want to be a huge inspiration – especially to kids. I was adopted. My past – I was neglected and abused until I was about 9. Shooting has helped me so much. Guns helped me become this person that I am now. Before, I had no self-confidence and I felt like I was nothing. I feel that a lot of kids my age can relate to that … I really hope that I can help a lot of kids to realize that ‘Hey, there is a light,’ and to keep hanging on, because it does get better. I will never use my past as an excuse to fail.
NRA Family: What did you think of the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs?
Makayla Scott: It’s awesome! To stand on the range was absolutely breathtaking. To dream about this place for so long and to stand there and shoot will be an experience I will never forget.
NRA Family: Are other shotgun competition shooters willing to help younger shooters?
Makayla Scott: The shooting sports – whether it’s ATA or Olympic Trap – have the best people with good hearts. For instance, I met my bunker coach Stephanie Gutierrez, a three-time Junior Olympic medalist through Facebook. I reached out to her to show me the ropes of Bunker Trap and she not only did that, but she also coached me up until the Junior Olympic qualifier. I don't compete against other shooters, I compete against the target.
NRA Family: What gun are you shooting for competitions?
Makayla Scott: I’m shooting the CZ-USA SCTP Sterling Southpaw. I had shot a lot of guns and struggled to find a gun that fit me. I was coming back from the Junior Olympics in Colorado Springs and my 4-H team was out there in Nebraska shooting in the 4-H Nationals. I was looking for a new gun, because my other gun didn't fit and was beating me up. I saw CZ-USA’s demo trailer and that's where I met David Miller. I told him my story and he looked at me and wanted me to try the SCTP Sterling Southpaw. We both shot a round of American Trap and I shot a 25 straight and knew I had found the gun for me. If you haven't shot a CZ, I highly recommend you do!