The challenge was spurred by an idea to raise funds to help youth shooting sports through the Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever.
“This is all about raising money for youth,” Miller said. “They’re the future of our industry, heritage and our sport.”
Dave Miller addressing the audience and supporters at his record-breaking clays shoot.
A downpour threatened Miller’s chance to make history moments before he was set to start on the evening of May 16 at Heartland Trap and Skeet in Harrisonville, Missouri.
The several hundred supporters who had gathered to watch the attempt ran to take cover in nearby tents.
The rain eventually stopped, but lightning continued to flash across the sky as Miller started his no-easy feat − drilling more than 4,000 shotgun shells into the air as he aimed to shoot clay targets.
Onlookers and supporters turned out for Dave Miller’s record attempt.
Miller had four organized practices at the Harrisonville range prior to the event this month.
“Each time we got a little bit better,” Miller said.
Over the course of each practice, his hands blistered and bled as friction tore through his shooting gloves.
The same held true again during the official record-breaking attempt.
A few of the 30 CZ 712 semi-automatic shotguns used to set a new Guinness world record.
Miller shot with 30 CZ 712 semi-automatic shotguns equipped with Nordic Components magazine extensions, allowing each gun to hold 16 rounds instead of the usual five. He also shot from his hip instead of his shoulder.
New world record guidelines by officiator Guinness World Records also required clays had to be broken past 10 meters from his position on the shooting deck.
Guinness’ exacting new guidelines changed the rules from previous records to exclude shooting from a rest, only one target per shot, and established a minimum distance of 10 meters to break a clay target.
As the clock ticked throughout the hour, Miller aimed perfectly into the night sky. Fans shouted Miller’s name in between shotgun blasts. His parents sat in bleachers behind him, holding onto their anticipation the best they could.
Miller struck 3,653 clays by the time the hour was up.
Alex Angert, a Guinness World Record adjudicator, presents Dave Miller with a certificate for breaking the most clays targets in 60 minutes.
A few minutes later, Alex Angert, a Guinness World Record adjudicator from New York City, came up to Miller’s shooting deck to make the declaration. A crowd had gathered around the stage to listen and to congratulate Miller. They also asked for autographs and photos.
“It’s been a hell of lot of fun getting here,” Miller said. “This is absolutely my biggest shooting achievement I’ve ever completed.”
A few of the gung-ho volunteers who supported the logistics of Dave Miller’s record clays shoot.
More than 30 volunteers helped Miller pull off the attempt. Many of the volunteers helped Miller reload his guns with ammunition.
The event raised more than $80,000 to support Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever’s No Child Left Indoors initiative, a national movement to reach young people fixated on electronics and get them outdoors in order to reverse the trend of inactivity and obesity in youth.
Money was raised in part by local chapters of the organization to benefit Forever’s Shooting Sports Endowment to purchase ammo for youth events.
John Linquist, the national shooting sports coordinator with the organization, was at the world record attempt in Harrisonville.
“The studies are showing that the kids who are in shooting sports have better focus, improved grades and they make it a lifelong passion,” Lindquist said. “It’s something they can pass on to their kids and make a family tradition out of it.”
He works with about 70,000 youth each year — from junior high to college-aged students across the country.
“We spend our time teaching leadership skills to kids, shooting sport skills and teach them a little about wildlife, that hopefully transition into hunting in the future, and teaches them the value of conservation,” Linquist said. “To see the look on kids’ faces when they shoot their first clay is a beautiful thing.”
Bethany Sharpton resides in Belton, Missouri, with her husband, Jon. Sharpton is an editor/reporter by trade and has written for multiple newspapers and magazines in Missouri, Kansas and Iowa. She has a bachelor's degree from Evangel University and a master's degree from Regent University.