A 14-year-old boy diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of 5 is making history.
In less than a month, he’ll be at the Rifle Junior Olympics.
Wyatt Rollman is the first para shooter from North Dakota to qualify for the Rifle Junior Olympics. And, he’s ranked 10th overall in the state.
“Just to achieve something that somebody probably would have told him he could never do is just, it’s an amazing feeling,” said Karen Rollman, Wyatt’s mom.
“Well, first of all, my dad started crying which usually that’s something he never does! But, I was really excited,” Wyatt said.
“I was screaming! Super excited,” Karen said.
Two years ago, Wyatt took a hunter safety course with Prairie Grit which is where he met his shooting coach. And they’ve spent two hours, every Saturday since, molding Wyatt into the shooter he is today.
“It’s been a long haul for him and me both, but it’s good that we got there,” said Jeff Whillock, Wyatt’s coach.
Wyatt was actually invited to the Junior Olympics last year, but it was canceled because of the pandemic.
His qualifying score improved by more than 80 points this year.
“You really need to practice hard, focus a lot, and in this sport, you can’t rush through it, you have to take your time,” Wyatt said.
“We’ll try anything for a bit, you know? And analyze and if that worked or it didn’t. He’s got to where he’ll tell me when something’s wrong instead of telling me what I want to hear. That’s a big deal,” Whillock said.
What are you looking forward to most?
“Winning!” said Wyatt.
“We want this to be hopefully something that he can repeat. But if not, it’s that once in a lifetime experience,” Karen said.
To help get Wyatt and his family to the competition, a Go-Fund-Me has been set up.
To make things easier for Wyatt, local non-profit “On the Water” donated a special wheelchair and table for him to shoot from.
The table is welded to the wheelchair so he doesn’t have to spend much time lining the two up.
Wyatt got it on April 11 and for the next month, he and his shooting coach are going to get him comfortable using the spring stand.
Since Wyatt is in a wheelchair, he’s unable to do the different shooting positions. However, the spring stand adjusts so he can be in similar ones to the other athletes.
“The Junior Olympics is 60 shots in one sitting. So, he’s got to get that just right or by the end of 60 shots, he’s not going to be able to do it,” Whillock said.
Good luck to Wyatt next month at the Junior Olympics!