LONGMONT — When he first forayed into shooting sports, Anthony Borders viewed skeet shooting merely as a hobby.
He never expected it to happen but Borders found a way to turn his favorite hobby into a college scholarship at Midland University and a successful athletic career. Since then, Borders has been all over the country and has been racking up the medals.
"This was my first year of college and it was really interesting," Borders said. "I went to nine different states shooting so it was a pretty cool experience. Looking back to when I was shooting 4H, I never thought this would be something that would pay for my school and give me the opportunities that it has given me."
Borders, 19, graduated from Longmont High School in 2015. He lives in Frederick but spends much of his time with his grandparents in Longmont when he's not at college. While at Longmont, Borders balanced football and shooting until he was not cleared to play any more football because he had too many concussions.
Once football was taken away, Borders turned his attention full time to shooting and hasn't looked back since.
"My grandpa and I got into it when we went to 4H about five or six years ago," Borders said. "I started out shooting trap and my junior team made state. I'd never shot skeet before but we all did really well so I signed up for the SCTP and I've been doing it ever since."
This past weekend, Borders and his over-under Beretta DT11 placed 10th at the USA Shooting 2016 National Junior Olympics Championships. He was named an Association of College Unions International All-American as a freshman at Midland and led his team in the American Skeet event at the ACUI national championships. He was the only freshman to attend every competition for Midland's 15-person traveling first team this season.
In May, Borders also took home the silver medal at the USA Shooting Colorado Junior Olympics.
"I don't think anyone really knows how big shooting is in the junior ranks," Anthony Border's grandfather Lyle Borders said. "There are over 100 kids shooting in 4H right now, and that's where he started. It hasn't taken off huge in Colorado yet, but it's really gotten much bigger than people think."
Shooting sports are part of regular high school athletics in many parts in the Midwest but has not taken off in quite the same way in Colorado yet. But the sport has undoubtedly been good to Borders so far. He was only eight places away from qualifying for the junior Olympic team this past weekend and it appears he may have an even brighter future.
"The next couple years in college, I'm actually pretty excited to see what I can do," Anthony Borders said. "We have a shot to be national champions because we lost to Texas A&M by only 16 targets for the Division-II championship so our team could be ready for some big things."