By: Megan Sauer
Amidst the 2016 Winter Games, our blog published profiles on the father-son shooting duo, Frank and Jacob Barthel. They are joined for the 2016 Summer Games by mother Jodi Barthel and children Kyle and Morgan Barthel, making it a Barthel tradition for Games to come.
The father, Frank Barthel, is a Grand Rapids Police officer whose shooting career was inspired by his grandfathers and fathers involvement in the military. Over the years, he has built up quite a list of accomplishments including a 2015 Bench Rifle course record, second place finishes in the 2013 and 2014 Bench Rifle events, and silver medals in both the Pistol and Centerfire events in 2015. For Frank however, it's not all about the trophies. His shooting career continues to have a positive impact on the community as he is involved in planning events for the Caledonia Sportsman's Club and the Police Officer Explorer Program out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. In the future, he hopes his children will carry out his philosophy of hard work, and the idea that "the steps you take to reach your goal are more important than a snapshot of success."
His wife, Jodi Barthel, started shooting nearly 15 years ago when she and Frank got married. Her objective was initially to become comfortable with firearms, but as her family's love for the sport progressed, she began to seize opportunities to compete. To Jodi, the best part of having all of her family involved in shooting sports is the support they offer one another to become more accurate shooters.
"Our involvement is unique because we can each take on the roles of coach and athlete. Sometimes I coach my kids, other times they are coaching me," said Jodi. "The Meijer State Games of Michigan is an opportunity for our whole family to compete at the same time. There aren't many venues where we can all do this together."
The oldest son of Jodi and Frank is Jacob Barthel. This will be Jacob's fourth time competing in the Meijer State Games. When he's not at practice with his dad and younger siblings, he enjoys hunting, camping, coaching, and ATV riding. As the three-time defending Bench Rifle Champion under 17 and a member of the 2015 4H State Champion 3D archery team, he is truly a role model for his two younger siblings, Kyle and Morgan.
"We are all apart of a team and we have to act like it," said Jacob.
Kyle Barthel is 10 years old and in 2015, was the youngest athlete to participate in the Meijer State Games of Michigan. Aside from shooting, Kyle loves to play tackle football and lacrosse. He hopes to one day play in the NFL, be an engineer or inventor, or be on the SWAT team. Kyle's favorite thing about shooting sports is learning about the different parts of the gun and how to keep people safe during practices. In the 2016 Summer Games, he hopes to medal and improve his accuracy from last year.
"It is always a good challenge because I shoot against people who are older and more experienced," said Kyle. "I hope at these Games, I can prove that even when you are smaller, you can still take yourself ahead."
Morgan Barthel, age six, is one of the youngest athletes competing in this year's 2016 Summer Games. A heavy influence on her shooting career has been the involvement of her parents and brothers in the sport.
"I think what I do is special because I get to spend time with my dad and mom," said Morgan. "It's fun because my brothers are there as well."
Morgan, also a cheerleader, learned how to practice good camaraderie as she grew up watching her brothers shoot. Now that she is involved, she cheers on all her competitors and remains humble whether she wins or loses. Perseverance, as her dad taught her, is how she will continue to improve.
"When I get sad or frustrated, my dad says to keep trying," said Morgan. "I hope to keep practicing to get better scores."
Morgan's proudest achievement is her second place medal from the Coldwater invitational last year where she competed in the females under 11 bracket. While the youngest Barthel's goal in the Meijer State Games of Michigan is to win a medal, she really is just in it for the fun of participating in events with her brothers.