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Going outdoors

8/23/2013

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

Haylea Heslet squinted and stuck out her tongue as she tried to look through the scope mounted on the camouflage crossbow she was hovering over Saturday morning.

She even removed the purple-with-white-polka-dot sunglasses she had been wearing.

Her father Chad whispered encouragement and directions on sighting in the bow, as her mom, Darcy, photographed the entire event, just one of several stations for the 16th annual Youth Outdoor Festival.

Less than 90 minutes into the event, nearly 200 youngsters -- all 17 years old and younger -- had registered for the event, taking the opportunity to shoot a shotgun, BB or pellet gun, a bow or a blackpowder rifle.

Haylea was steered early on to the crossbow station.

That's no surprise, especially considering Darcy Heslet said her husband, just a week earlier, bought a crossbow himself.

After dashing out to retrieve the arrow from the target, Haylea rushed up to her parents.

"I hit right in the middle," she said.

She was just one of the many children excited by events of the day, and many of the parents were quick to photograph it all using cameras or their phones.

Wearing a skunk cap, Maverick Gnad tried his hand at shooting a compound bow.

"That's like my 50th time," he casually said before rushing off to a covered shelter where father John Gnad stood ready to answer questions about the pelts laid out on a picnic table.

Organizer Kent Hensley voiced concern about the size of the crowd early on, worried the threat of rain might have kept people away.

It wasn't long, however, before he said more than 200 were attending the daylong event.