Thursday, November 24, 2011

THANKFUL FOR OUR SOLDIERS


I was 12 and on my way home from the Gun Bloggers Rendezvous (GBR) in Reno. During that car ride I had plenty of time to think. I was thinking about the past weekend, learning new blogging techniques, about different firearms, new friends and lessons I would take with me from then on. That weekend I realized how much I appreciate our soldiers and veterans, how Thankful I am for them. I realized what I didn’t see before, I realized how much veterans and their families sacrifice, and how little of their sacrifice is understood and honored. Every Veteran’s Day, always the same thing: a parade, flags and a day off school but really…how do children who have never experienced such sacrifice comprehend the magnitude unless it touches home?  For me, at the GBR it touched home. Veterans’ Day has never meant the same again; I am thankful for all the men and women who have served our country.
  
That year was my first trip ever to the GBR. As I entered the meeting room there was clicking of laptop keyboards, fizzling of soda pop, and racking of shot guns. I was in Reno, in a meeting room so foreign from any place I had ever been, yet there such a familiarity with those I was meeting! There were bloggers and shooters, but also veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and Korea. This was a convention of bloggers and others in support of Soldiers Angels/Project Valor IT. I was so excited to be helping with this event to benefit Soldiers but I didn’t understand the gravity of it just yet. It wasn’t until I met Major Chuck Ziegenfuss (the co-founder of Project Valour-IT) that it started to make sense. Major Chuck Z spoke to the group of gun bloggers, humbly thanking them for their support and explaining what Soldiers Angels/Project Valor IT was all about. 

I listened to him tell his story of war, loss, sacrifice and love for his Brothers in Arms. What really made sense to my 12 year-old understanding was when he began talking about electronics…electronics for wounded soldiers - voice activated laptops! Soldiers’ Angels/Project Valor IT was sending electronics to soldiers injured to the point of extremely difficult to no communication ability so they could correspond with their families, their wives, parents, and children. That was the moment the light went on. Right then I felt horrible that children didn’t know if there mom and dads were okay, but then I felt so relieved to know that there are people out there helping the men and women who help us most. Hearing Chuck’s story first hand, I knew that this was something I wanted to support.  I’m always eager to stand up and talk about Soldiers Angels/Project Valor IT!  It is one of the many ways that I can give back to our Soldiers and Veterans, and one way I can say “Thank you.”


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Hope you all have a wonderful day! Xoxo

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

MY FRIEND MR BOX


There comes a time in every (short) person’s life when they are faced with a challenge, for some that challenge comes often. Most recently my challenge was an option: do I give up when faced with a port too high for me to even see the target, or do I shoot?
Well, I was going to shoot of course, because I love a challenge!
But the question was now how could I manage this? I couldn’t see the A-zone (center of the target) on my tippy toes! That’s when I met Mr. Box (notice the really good looking fellow between Eric Leach and I in the picture). He became a trusted ally at the last local ICORE match at SLOSA. The organizers of the match were thoughtful and really creative.  Thinking of my height challenge they strategically placed an optional box for me, providing access to the high ports.
It was a problem at first, but for every shooter, there will, one day, be a problem…but nearly always a solution along with it! Don’t give up! Face that challenge, through laughs and teasing and lots of head scratching know there is a solution to be had. High ports or low ports, timer malfunctions or scoring malfunctions, in every match, there is something. Yet with the right mind set, any problem has a good solution! Even with a re-shoot, sometimes all you need to do is know what you need to do, shoot as best as you can! And don’t give up.  A Challenge...that makes for one great match.
Mr. Box is now a good friend of mine, ahem, part of my squad.  You see, I hit the target's “A’s”. We had a grand time. I had a great squad and a great time. What’s better than a beautiful day on the coast, run and gunning with my revolver and facing a challenge head on?
By the way, I asked mom if Mr. Box could live in our garage until the next match. Her response, well…does rolling eyes mean anything? 



Saturday, October 1, 2011

GUN BLOGGER RENDEZVOUS FOR SOLIDERS ANGELS/VALOR IT

There was the clicking of laptop keyboards, fizzling of soda pop, and racking of shot guns.
                There was only one place that I know of where that ambiance is possible- the Gun Bloggers Rendezvous…all to benefit Soliders Angles/Valor IT.  There were so many very generous sponsors, and others who donated so much for the cause of our wounded soldiers!  I’m so proud to have been able to take part.
     For me it was the third year attending and as soon as I stepped in the door, I felt the excitement again. It was great to see all my blogger friends, like Mr. Completely who devotes so much of his time and energy to put on this extravaganza. Without him there would be no Rendezvous; grim thought, huh?    And I always look forward to seeing KeeWee with her warm smile and a hug!  One blogger was missing: Bea Johnson. She is an 80 year old grandmother and revolver shooter! I understand she will be back next year though!  She generously donated a Ruger Blackhawk Convertible Revolver.  And guess who won it?  Yep, the only junior revolver shooter in the bunch!
Allen Forkner (Otis technology) provided breakfast and shared a lot of interesting information.  Also, generously donated some fantastic Otis Technology cleaning kits.  Dan and Caleb from Gunup took us all out for a delicious dinner, yummy! Can you pick Caleb out in the above picture?  And NSSF provided food for a pizza party.  We all had a great time and lots of food!
The first year that I attended, I was absolutely intrigued by Alan Gura's discussion about and his work. He’s an incredible Constitutional Law Attorney and has defended our Second Amendment Rights multiple times, clear to the Supreme Court!  This year he gave the bloggers a “progress report” of how things are going in the court room with different cases. It was so interesting to hear about!  Another bit of good news straight from Charles Ricci (Pro Ears) was that Pro Ears has developed ear muffs for juniors! AWESOME!  Earmuffs that actually fit!  I’m looking forward to trying them out and updating my blog with more info! Thank you Pro Ears for your very generous gifts and thoughtful too, ear muffs for all the bloggers.
                The whole stay over four days was fantastic, they had speakers every night and “range days” that were excellent for trying all sorts of new guns…like sub-machine guns and shot guns! This was some of the most fun I’ve ever had shooting! Not only was I in good company, but everyone brought their guns and shared. If you notice the picture, that’s me and Allen Forkner and I am shooting his Weatherby PA459 home defense shot gun. That gun was so much fun to shoot…accurate and quick too!  Also, an amazing event, I was able to try a sub machine gun, which had to be one of the most interesting things I’ve tried. I shot my rounds, then turned around and looked at the spectators; my parents and the bloggers who were curious as to who was shooting it now! My dad blurted, “Well, how was it?”
                I paused, then upon a moments reflection said, “Tingly!”
                One of the bloggers heard me and agreed, “Exactly! That’s what it is, Tingly!”

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

THE SHOOTING SISTERHOOD AT MGM JUNIOR SHOOTER CAMP

   
See my article in the   Womens Outdoor News

  
One thing I love to mention about shooting when people ask about the sport is when there are women shooters, there is an immediate bond. And as great as it is to be part of this “sisterhood,” there is also something more. There is the legacy this sisterhood upholds that dates back to the first gun ever fired by a woman. Strong and independent, the legacy of our “girly” history who’s presence has been fairly obnubilate, (my Latin teacher would love this word) or hidden. Lucky for me, my generation has grown up with incredible female shooters and role models who are acknowledged and praised for their talent and strength! Female shooters have made their presence known.
We girls stick together in this sport! It’s an instant friendship because of the major similarity, a sisterhood. This was very apparent at the MGM Junior Camp in Idaho this summer, especially. The girls at the camp traveled from all over the US to participate and with about 60 shooters with only eight girls, we were kind of outnumbered. But we had our advantages…the inspiration of the wonderful woman who organized the camp and the woman coach!
Both women, the organizer and the coach came with interesting and inspirational backgrounds. Rhonda Gibson, the woman who organized the event, was shooting when women were even more scarce in the sport! And it wasn’t just her shooting out there either; she took her daughters, age 13 and 15 at the time. Some of the men tended to look down on them at first, “after-all, what were three little ladies doing at a gun range? Well, shooting, and having a darn good time doing it!” The men who seemed to disapprove were won over pretty fast though! "Now, my girls and I were not easily ignored, we were there to stay and we decided that we would be just nice and friendly that they couldn't ignore us for long" Rhonda said.
I like to think of Rhonda as a sort of pioneer of the shooting family. She was and remains a range mother; I adore that dedication and love for the sport. She and her husband, Michael are the founders of the MGM Junior Shooter Camp. Together they own MGM targets; early on their plan was for every target sold, three cents would go to the junior shooters. At first they gave the money to USPSA, but then wanted a more “hands-on” approach with the juniors. "One year at the SHOT Show, Sgt. Aaron Hampton of the USAMU (United States Army Marksmanship Unit) came to our booth and told Mike he had an idea for a junior camp but needed some help" Rhonda told me. That was the answer to their dilemma. A junior camp! From there, the camp has grown and moved from Georgia to Idaho.
The female coach was Randi, sound familiar? Yes, the World Champion, intelligent, strong, independent, and female role model, Randi Rogers! When I found out she was coaching at the camp I was so excited that she would be there, I could hardly keep my feet on the ground! She taught us some fabulous tips about reloads (mostly for semi-autos, but she took time out to give some help to the girl revolver shooter!) We all left her stage feeling so confident! We knew we were getting better.
Randi, like Rhonda, had an interesting start in the sport. She shot Cowboy Action with her grandpa, and at 15 she became a Junior Champion. But, like most, she didn’t start off winning. At her first match she didn’t place very well; “last in the junior category,” that sounds kind of familiar! Yep, we have something else in common. Of course, that would never stop her! "I got back up and I went to the the World Championships in April and I won the Junior Girls World Championship title" She’s a major inspiration for junior girls AND boys. Randi is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and one of the best shooters I’ve ever seen! She has brought about a huge breakthrough for girls starting in competitive shooting, and I know they look up to her as being like them. As sweet as she is, she has overcome the barriers that have so frequently held women back. And she is just amazing to watch shoot and continually win.
Its women like Rhonda and Randi that paved the road for my generation they have built the foundation for range families. Not only are they major inspirations, but they are among a legacy of women by being dedicated, talented, and skilled shooters. They are part of the sisterhood! Range women: some of the sweetest, strongest, most inspirational people you will ever meet. I have such admiration for my “sisters” of all ages, for they are participating in carrying on the legacy. Rhonda and Randi are two women I aspire to be like! Both independently taking different routes in the competitive shooting world but traveling one road, they are part of the legacy of women in the shooting sport!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thanks, Bill Bowers!

Thank you, Bill Bowers for the really nice article about me for WON! This was the last Steel Challenge World Championship in California, so it was bittersweet. The last three years have been awesome!! I love the Steel Challenge! Thank you sooo much, Bill! Read it here!

Monday, August 1, 2011

STEEL CHALLENGE BENEFIT MATCH!

This weekend I shot a Steel Challenge match in, you guessed it, Piru, California! It was great, not just because I had an awesome squad and I shot well, but because all the funds went to help a fellow shooting family in need. After a really, really unfortunate event happened to them, the shooting community banded together and have been raising funds to help this family! It was awesome to be able to help out like that, and it really shows what kind of people you encounter when you go to the range; a range family! I love that about shooting! We‘re a family!
There were so many amazing donations! A man donated all the food for shooter’s lunches, Mike Thomson and Mike Dalton donated all the range and shooter fees, and many people donated prizes as well. It was wonderful to see all the charity and compassion!  If you are wondering about this family and would like to help please contact Ron Joslin at the California Wheelburners at either (310) 613-5129 or  briley1911@gmail.com
This picture is of Mike Thompson and me.  He’s a great range host! Thank you Mike! 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

MGM JUNIOR SHOOTER CAMP!

At the MGM Junior Shooting Camp last week, I had such a fantastic time that I want to share some of the highlights!
We had amazing instructors who we were fortunate enough to cycle through and learn from.   Phil Strader’s stage was action packed! We learned about how to move to a target, while keeping our guns up. That way, you have your sights mostly acquired and you’re on target! It was tricky at first, but with the drills Phil used, we were pros by the end of the session! Some of you may be wondering what sort of techniques Phil uses to get his students to be so successful in their shooting. Well…I…ok, just look at the picture.

Cowboy quick draw? Or BJ Norris quick draw? On day two, my squad was definitely working on the BJ Norris quick draw. From what I heard, my squad lucked out; BJ had some of the junior shooters on full army march! One-two-three-four-DRAW-two-three-four. And sprinting. BJ recorded our average draw speed at the beginning of the class and then again at the end. We all improved! By a LOT! It’s outstanding to see what just a few hours of practicing with a pro can do! He had us work on hand placement when the start position is “Wrists above shoulders.” We had to think: Was that the best place to put our hands?

Manny Bragg (AKA Squad Leader Extraordinaire) started my squad on the first day. He was teaching us how to shoot something many shooters aren’t particularly fond of, (and not those squirrels in your yard) swinging targets! He told us so many great tips and let us practice the swinging targets over and over and over! That’s really what we needed! It gave us time to see how the swinging target moved and where our hits were going. We learned to follow it while it was on the move!
Manny also stuck with my squad on the final day and shot the match with us. It was a blast to have such a great shooter demonstrates stages then show us the different options on each. He walked us through the field courses and gave us great strategies. And most of all, he stuck around in the hot sun with eight juniors all day and we all had the best time! Thanks so much, Manny!

I’ve shot a shotgun, a revolver, .22 pistols and rifles. I’ve even fired an AR 15 a few times. But you know what I haven’t done before this weekend? Hit a target at 100 yards with an AR 15. Matt Burkett showed us the basics of the AR-15 for those of us (myself) who hadn’t learned anything from where the safety was to how to pull back the slide. Yes, I was that new to the rifle. It was really neat to be able to try shooting from different positions; standing, kneeling, prone. First I was nervous with something almost totally new for me, but by the end I was having just as much fun as everyone else, plinking away at those far targets!

Shooting a barricade can be totally different depending on the person. Some people can see over the barricade. Other people, like me and other female and junior shooters have to lean a little far over to see the targets. It has always been a struggle for me to find the best angle, the best foot position, everything when it comes to a barricade. Thankfully, there was an entire two hours where Max Michel taught us how to properly shoot around a barricade. Some of the lessons I had no idea about, such as sliding your foot to give you more of a view of the targets rather than leaning impossibly far! He had us doing fun drills so we could get used to hitting targets when there’s something obstructing your way. He covered everything, from how far away to stand to where to put your feet, to how to hold your arms!

 Randi Rogers, a prior female junior shooting champion spent two plus hours with my squad! Not only a great shooter, she always has a smile and a hug!  That day she wasn’t only giving out hugs and smiles, but giving us instruction on reloads!  Reloads could be one of the biggest ways to save time on stages. Of course, avoiding needing to reload is the best option, but when you do need to reload it’s best to do so FAST! That’s what Randi Rogers taught us! As I was the only revolver in the group, she had to take a couple minutes to explain what I could do to increase my reload speed with a revolver. She even taught the group some IDPA reloads! That was really interesting to see.
At the end, she gave us time to ask her questions on any aspect of shooting. I had the opportunity to ask her about shooting one handed. She showed the group a great stance to take up when shooting with one hand. Put the leg of the side you’re shooting with forward (right handed, right leg forward) and lean into it while putting the arm you aren’t using to your chest.

By the end of camp, I felt so confident because of the wonderful instructors.
But that’s not the most important part. Rhonda Gibbson of MGM targets is awesome! Thank you so much  for all your hard work, Rhonda!  From coordinating and lining up extremely generous sponsors, to your generous caring and loving support of all the junior shooters.  The MGM Junior Shooting Camp is an experience that I will never forget! Rhonda is an amazing lady for her dedication to junior shooters and the shooting sport. I can’t wait for next year!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

PRONE (ALMOST) PERFECTION!

This picture that was taken by Doug Sallee.  

Shooting requires grace and balance as well as agility and accuracy. Now how much of that is displayed in the picture? …That’s what I thought. Now if I can get my legs in the right direction, I’ll be in business! I like this picture partly because it’s interesting to see the mid-air decline while going prone and also because it’s funny to see if I really look that weird! (My mom assured me that all teenagers go through the phase where their legs and ankles go in funny directions at some point.)
And I’m proud to announce that I’m getting better and better! Going prone has its useful points, like stabilizing shots…or makes for interesting jokes! Well, it’s not folding paper cranes or painting portraits, but it’s definitely an art; a fun one too! 
Is it a bird? Or a plane? Nope! Just me, like many other shooters, going prone. Sometimes it does feel like you’re flying and hopefully you have a steady landing, because those hard landings can hurt!  One of the best parts about ICORE besides running and gunning is flying through the air and going prone! I can’t wait until this Saturday because that’s when my local range has its ICORE match! It’s going to be so fun!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

TRIPLE B'S WITH ATSN (American Trigger Sport Network)



              Thank you soooo much Rose-Marie and James Towle for the opportunity to go to an incredible range in Southern California…Triple B Sporting Clays! I loved my day there; I loved my experience with ATSN (American Trigger Sports Network). Triple B is mostly shotgun, that in itself was great learning for me, and the property is HUGE! So huge in fact, that you have to get around on golf carts while you’re there! And guess what?  I learned how to drive. Rose-Marie, the woman behind the scenes of ATSN really took me under her wing and showed me how things worked…like golf carts! Yes, my first driving lesson!!!! The task my parents are too scared to take up, Rose-Marie did with next to no fear (at least it looked that way), and maybe a few sore muscles from the bumpy roads… and made the day a blast! Yes, Rose-Marie didn’t hesitate to put me in the driver’s seat show me how to turn the cart on and told me to just “Go for it!” I loved my day with her! She’s amazing.
                Well, most of you know that I’m more commonly found at a pistol range than a shotgun range, but that day I wasn’t shooting (for the most part…); I was invited by Trigger Sports Live (http://www.atsn.tv/) to observe and help out as much as I could filming segments for their show! For me this was a dream come true. I have only been on the other side of the camera, being interviewed and filmed as I shoot. But, I’ve always been really interested in what happens with the media aspect of shooting, and I have got to say it was really, really great. The crew was constantly confronted with interesting and fun things for their viewers, they have to be really alert and aware of everything going on around them so they can capture it. I was so impressed! This was an incredible opportunity! Next stop? The studio to see how it all comes together! Can’t wait!  

Friday, June 24, 2011

THE WEST COAST STEEL CHALLENGE


The West Coast Steel Challenge was last weekend in Piru, California. My friends Jim O’Young and Mike Dalton did a great job and I think it was a huge success! I had a blast! There were lots of shooters; over 100. It was great to see so many of my friends!
 The match was set up to take place all in one day, including awards. A few of the shooters (myself included) had the right idea to get there early! We were squdded quickly and shot the match before it got too hot out.  We finished before noon! It was awesome! My squad was small and that was pretty great. I had never shot with them before, so it was really nice getting to know them.  We had fun with some great conversations about Magic Mountain, roller coasters and Legoland.   I can’t wait to shoot with them again!
I shot my Smith and Wesson 627 iron sighted revolver, and felt I did pretty well! But of course as I critique how I did, I found areas that I need to practice. One thing I kept doing was hitting the plate twice! I really need to work on trusting where the bullet goes not listening for it to hit. I think one of my best stages (or most improved) was Outer Limits. I had two clean runs! Outer Limits has the longest shot in of all the match and you have to move between boxes! Tricky at first, but its fun to be able to do a side-shuffle or moon-walk like Jim O’Young does.
              This match was a great warm up for the Steel Challenge the final match will be in August, hope to see you then!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Just a Shooting Adventure... (Bianchi Cup.2)

                If you look up at the sky in California and see dark clouds, you can expect rain. Just rain. Maybe thunder and lightning and possibly hail, but not so often. In states in the mid-west, however, you see dark clouds and you can expect all that and then some. Tornadoes, for example. Speaking as a California girl who has experienced earthquakes, tornadoes are terrifying.  I never gave them much thought, until the day I arrived in Missouri and a tornado touched down in nearby Joplin.
                A few weeks ago I went to Columbia, Missouri for the Bianchi Cup, a match that I love. We heard about the tornado warnings and I was immediately nervous about that. My mother, on the other hand, was more than comfortable in a situation as exciting as a possible tornado. My uncle (safely in California) was in the same boat as me; nervous. He sent my mother constant reports on the weather, even though some of the time they were a little off.
                It was the Bianchi Cup, day one of the match, and I was on the barricades. Actually, I was waiting for my turn which I learned would be delayed for a while because of the rain. There was some thunder and lightning, with dark skies growing even darker.  My mom and I sat around and talked to some of the other shooters. Some of the competitors traveled from places all over while others were close to local.
It was a murky day, with huge flat clouds blanketing overhead. I was on the watch for tornadoes, my eyes nearly constantly glued to the skies for any sign of twirling. I learned from locals that swirling clouds were the start of a tornado. After a while, I started feeling restless. I didn’t like just sitting there, and I convinced my mom to go with me to the car, up on a hill, a bit of a distance away, to get my phone so I could text my friends and update them on the weather.
                We rummaged in the rental car, I was rambling about how much I hated the weather and my mom was half (or less) listening.
                “Shh.” She said, tilting her head to the side then going perfectly still. “Do you hear that?”
                I didn’t listen. I was focusing on how to spell “definitely” in a text to one of my friends. My mom shook her head and we walked down the hill back towards the range, when suddenly I picked up a strange noise. A low hum. A low, menacing, scary, hum.
                “Mom, those are sirens.” I blurted, “Can we leave?”
                Before we could leave, we had to go back down the hill to the range and get my shooting equipment from the spot where we left it.  The sirens from the town were almost impossible to hear from the gulch where the range was. Nobody we spoke to had any idea. We went to the score shack, and my mom decided it was best to leave me there while she ran to get my equipment. By this point, I was staring silently at a huge funnel shaped cloud creeping down to earth in front of me. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t crying. I would also be lying if I said that at that moment I didn’t hate Missouri. When I get nervous or worried, I pace and move. I also feel the need to be with my mom. I shuffled out of the score shack, out from where the volunteers were murmuring and pointing out the window at the same cloud that scared me beyond belief. They were saying things like, “Oh, that’s not good. That’s really not good…”
I saw Julie G, and managed to choke out something along the lines of “I’m scared.”
                Julie responded by firmly telling me to get in her car, that we were leaving as soon as she retrieved my mom. Of course, I sat in the car and every second felt like an hour as I stared at the funnel getting closer and closer. Twenty seconds later (it felt like twenty hours) I saw Julie tugging my mom down the range to the car. I saw various shooters pointing at the sky, just beginning to know what could have been coming.
                When Julie and my mom were in the car, engine on, riding down the road away from the tornado, we were able to sigh in relief; all in agreement that Missouri certainly is the “show me” state. We were certainly shown the power of nature. The tornado that was headed toward the range didn’t touch down, thank goodness. And when the enormous cloud and storm passed, I managed to pull myself together, went back to the range and ankle deep in mud, I shot my stage.

Thanks to John Rickards for the pictures! 
                You really can’t tell what sort of adventures competitive shooting is going to bring…like your first tornado, your first time getting over 400 points on a stage, or just the excitement of meeting people from all over the world. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lessons Learned (Bianchi Cup.1)

Great few days of practice for the NRA Bianchi Cup! The horrible tornado that hit Joplin so hard is weighing heavily on so many of the shooters hearts, yet there is still a  feeling of excitement in the air for the match.  Tomorrow is the first day of the match and I’m ready! I will be shooting my 627 Smith & Wesson production revolver. I’ve learned a lot these past few days and every time I shoot a match the learning aspects are huge.  So this is how my lesson today went…
“Shooter Ready…Stand BY….Beeeeeep” and down I went prone. I shot the plates, but I couldn’t understand the chuckles from behind me. I hit (most) of the plates. I wasn’t too worried about there being something on my face, seeing as I was facing away from them. Did I sit in a puddle of mud again? I turned around. Someone (who won’t be named *cough J.M. cough*) explained, “Your legs were in the air.” What! I thought.
Ooops. Never knew when I go prone that my legs, from the knees down go up in the air, and stay up waving back and forth like I am pumping a swing. Now that I know this, I have to try and keep my legs down! Kinda embarrassing.  It’s more stable with your legs down, toes pointed outwards; I understand that; it makes perfect sense. Unfortunately when I focus on shooting, it is on my trigger.  Are my legs really up in the air?   Another thing to add to the mental check list!

Wheelburners Awsome ICORE Match

Fun and Fast Squad!

Flora concentrating on amazing accuracy!
  It was a cold, foggy morning at the Piru range last weekend as I was loading my moonclips and looking forward to a great day shooting revolvers, at the Wheelburners ICORE club match. I couldn’t help but notice the absence of women, however.  At first, anyway. Before long, a few women showed up, including my friend Janet Leach, she brought some sunshine of her own with her. Among the ladies, there was Flora Yang. I had only met her briefly a couple of times before, but was familiar with her name from hearing it announced at multiple competitions. Needless to say, I was thrilled when I learned I was going to be on a squad with her!
                As the day continued, we were both shooting great. We were the only two women on our squad, she shooting open and I shooting limited. And the men on our squad were shooting great too, I love these kinds of matches, the day flew by and I was having a blast.  But the best part of the day was to get to know Flora better and to be able to see her shoot, watching her techniques for accuracy! She was amazingly accurate and really fast! She was shooting a 627 V-Comp and had been shooting revolvers for only a year! She had been shooting semi autos for about six years, but its great to see any woman shooting! Especially revolvers! We avoided sticking our fingers down the snake holes to get the moonclips that rolled in and shared the secret of the best place to stand on near and far standards… “away from the ants”.  Thank you Wheelburners for putting on a really fun match!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Announcing a New Sponsorship!

Exciting news! I'll be posting for GunUp now!! They have a lot of great articles on just about anything shooting. It's really great to be part of their Pro Staff! You guys can ask me questions! Be looking out for me at GunUp!

Monday, April 25, 2011

ICORE SOUTHWEST REGIONAL MATCH


It was one of those perfect days, you know, the type that started slow and foggy and turned into a beautiful, sunny, California morning.  And it was a perfect day, I decided. April 23, 2011, the ICORE Southwest Regional Match.
                After arriving at the range and signing in, I was scanning the crowd for anyone I recognized, which was plenty of. Those who weren’t busily working on their guns would give a head nod and a “Hey, Molly.” There were a few new faces scattered throughout the group and I was eager to meet them.
Junior shooters from San Joaquin Valley, Jordan and Craig, came all the way to Morro Bay just to watch! It was great to be able to talk to them about competitions and shooting this match. I told them how I won my Smith & Wesson 627 at my very first IRC, coming in second to last. I was thrilled to see two juniors as eager to shoot as I was when I first started!
                I found my squad which had its fair share of great shooters, including John Bagakis and Rich Wolf, just topping off this funny squad! There were plenty of laughter and storytelling. We were starting on a standard, field-course type stage, my favorite type to start on. I was one of the first shooters, and shooting all A shots (“A” being the center of the target and not adding any extra time) really makes you confident for the rest of the day.  
We had several fun and interesting stages. On one, the shooter either had to go prone or shoot from a box off to the side, taking a five second penalty. I really liked this stage. For one, as most of you who follow my blog will know going prone started as a weakness for me but is now one of my favorite ways to shoot. I had never gone prone with a running start, I didn’t anticipate flying forward as fast as I did, which made it even more fun even with the face-plant! I was really happy to see a stage like this, a relief after having to look into ports a bit too high up for me and leaning over too wide of walls. That stage got even better when I ran to see my long distance shots were all “A” shots again!
I got to watch and listen to so many of the pros throughout the day. It was fantastic to not only watch them but learn from them as well. They are always willing to talk to any learning shooter. John Bagakis and I talked strategy a few times for the different stages and he brought certain aspects to my attention, like not to break the 180 rule at certain spots, or even to simply focus harder!
Congratulations to all the participants!! The Southwest Regional was a fantastic match!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

BIANCHI SCORE SHEET OOOPS!

            I used to think that only the older fellows forgot things at the range. Now I know otherwise…
As most competitive shooters know, there is a lot of waiting for your turn in matches. There was a pretty long waiting line for the moving target at the Prado range the second Sunday, this month.  I set my Molly Box (A green fishing box that has been decorated with flowers and my name painted on that I keep my supplies in, a great idea from my friend Jim O’Young) down, held onto my target, and chatted with my fellow shooters. I don’t exactly stay still for very long – I just move or fiddle a lot. Sadly, I was too engaged in everything else to even think about what I was doing…passing the waiting time.
I shot (still improving!) and was reloading my moon clips, discussing with my dad how the mover went, when he asked a very important question.
“That’s great! Where’s your score sheet?”
“Right here – oh.” I realized it wasn’t in my box. Nor under it, nor beside it. I placed it in between the plasters on the moving target! (You just staple over a clean target, and between the papers is where I put the sheet, then I attached it to the plasters that move back and forth.) But they had extra targets so I didn’t shoot the ones I brought up! I looked up in dismay, watching the target move with a little slip of white hanging from under the paper; obviously bullet holes would be included on my score sheet, as another shooter shot it with precision. Unknown to him my entire match was recorded on that little white piece of paper.  Once the shooter had finished, I got a few interesting glances when I scurried up to the target, stuttering about what had happened. By the time I got back, I had the pleasure of explaining what happened to Scott from Safariland! He enjoyed the story so much he sent it to Julie G! Errr…I can explain!
It was definitely a forgetful event to remember.

Southwest Regional ICORE Match!

What's this weekend?
Good Friday? Yes!
Easter? Yes!!
Spring break? Yes!
What else could possibly be this weekend? I don't know...maybe the Southwest Regional ICORE Match! Yes!! It's going to be tons of fun, and I expect to see all you revolver shooters in the area there! See you soon!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dr. Rice's Lecture

                One of those things that parents always tell their children is: “Straighten your back!” Whether it’s at school, during prayer, in the car, or when you are going to listen to a public speaker about foreign affairs. On this particular Wednesday, it was the latter. I was sitting at Pepperdine University School of Law in a room a few degrees too cold next to my dad in the front row.
                “Straighten your back!” I started slouching to read the pamphlet in front of me as he told me again, “Oxygen to the brain. You have to keep up with her.” 
                The her my father was referring to was Dr. Condoleezza Rice, and in a matter of minutes she was going to sit in one of four seats in the center of the room and talk to the audience about her take on world events.
                A voice came over the speaker that instructed everyone to stand. Out of a door, in the back of the room came a line of people. In the middle of the line was a woman that everyone stared at, Dr. Rice. She took her seat and the other three people, two men and a woman, were introduced by an older man at a podium. The woman was going to moderate questions written on cards by the audience and the two men were going to continue conversations with Dr. Rice.
                Without a further ado, the panel started.
                The panel started with current events such as Egypt. Dr. Rice would state her opinion and the panel would continue asking her questions. No matter how difficult the questions may have been, Dr. Rice had an answer nearly immediately. I wondered how anyone could think that fast yet talk so clearly. Occasionally, Dr. Rice would crack a joke, and as the audience chuckled she would pause and smile before continuing when it quieted down.
                She brought up interesting points, some that will stay with me forever. One of which was about the treatment of women, and how it shows how safe a country is and the quality of the culture. The countries trying to be progressive will treat the women as well as they treat the men. The idea was new to me and I found it very interesting to notice this; that simply how women are treated can show what a country is like.
                Dr. Rice also spoke about America being exceptional. America consists of families that have been coming from all over the world for generations, but falling under the same category of American. We fight for the rights of others, even if we don’t know their names. This really is exceptional. Exceptionalness doesn’t stop there though. Every individual out there can be exceptional. They can be the ones to fight for the rights of others, to use of knowledge composed from all different cultures.
I have never really thought about American Exceptionalism before, but with Dr. Rice describing this and the treatment of women being a touch stone for the quality of a county’s culture, I started to review my life as an American girl. I get to go to a school I love, spend time with people that I choose, and no one tells me that I can’t do something or even worse, that I am only allowed to grow up to be a certain thing. My mom and dad tell me all the time that there are no limitations to what I can become; in some countries the girls and even grown women do not have these chances. I know I am young, but I cannot remember a time when I was told I could not do something because I was a girl.
The NRA, Smith & Wesson, and SHE Clothing believe in women, providing opportunities, education and encouragement making it so women and children can learn about shooting sports and outdoors activities. A focus of the NRA is to teach children and women about safe handling of firearms.  Smith & Wesson sponsors women and junior shooters, which would be unheard of in some other countries. (Then again, there is also the possibility of firearm restrictions, where women, children, and maybe even men may not be allowed to own or use firearms.) SHE clothing, makes clothing for female outdoorsmen, showcasing women in adventurous and exciting settings.  They all encourage women to experience the outdoors, experience the enjoyment of life.  
              Toward the end of the lecture another question was asked. Lots of students in that room were wondering what advice she had to give to those who wanted to become involved with international affairs. She told them the practical things, to find something you have a passion about, to learn many languages, especially the difficult ones, to learn about different cultures. Then she told me something that really stuck out. She explained that you cannot plan the next twenty years of your life. You can only plan the next step. This took me a moment to fully understand, and then another moment to see a difference. I could only plan so far in life because things happen every day that change the next moment. I can only plan what comes next, if it’s writing this essay or watching TV, if it’s studying or talking to friends. I can only plan what comes next to make that goal come true. Well, I did sit up straight and I realized what sort of opportunities are here for me as I’m growing up in this exceptional country, America.
                After she had finished talking and after a round of applause, she left to go into a room where she would sign books. My dad had his book tucked under his arm as we waited first in line. I was going to meet her! We walked up and she smiled and said hello, signing the book. I was so happy! It only got better though, as I left the room and my dad’s friend handed me another book; my copy. I left it for my dad to pick up and he had given it to his friend who was working security for Dr. Rice.  
                We got into the car and I opened to the front page. I had written a note for Dr. Condoleezza Rice, telling her about my goal to be the best I can in shooting, about how, like her, I’m going against the normal look for my “profession.” I’m not a bulky adult man. I’m a short teenage girl. Dr. Rice went against stereo types to be an African-American woman in a high place politically.
                As I sat up straight, I read her note. She told me to keep going for my dream, which encouraged me not only to be the best shooter, but the best daughter, the best friend, the best student, the best person I can be. Because to be the best I can is my dream.
            




Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Central Coast Rimfire Match

Had a great time this weekend at the Central Coast Rimfire Match! I helped out before hand with Eric Leach and John Allchin...gave some guys over 6 feet tall some advice! It was kind of difficult, considering I had to stand on a barrel to be eye level with them and see the targets like they do. Great day! Great turn out! Eric did great with organizing it all!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Great Article!!

Hey take a look at this article by Barbara Baird from WOMA about why girls love revolvers!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

SHE Communicator Award: An Interview On the Firing Line With Jim and Joe

SHE Impressions Summary

“On the Firing Line with Jim and Joe” Radio Show KUHL & KSMA

“SHE? What’s that?” Jim Kauth leaned forward and pushed the microphone towards me while Joe Degeus crossed his arms jetted his chin and nodded at the question. All eyes were on me, all two pairs of eyes, as well as a multitude of radio listeners from Central California. I was gradually relaxing in the foam covered room, gaining confidence about talking on the radio. They asked me to come on their radio show to talk about being a fourteen year old, female, competitive shooter, which I figured would be an easy and fun task. To my relief, it didn’t take but just a few deep breaths for me to realize that this radio stuff was lots of fun. “She outdoor clothing for women, I exclaimed!”

“Well….a clothing company?” Joe asked, realizing with a bit of surprise that they had never heard of the SHE clothing line, I continued “SHE clothing, SHE women’s clothing, they have style.” Jim looking on added they do have style. And that is probably a great thing because for many years females looking for durable outdoor clothing have had to wear men’s clothing.”

Jim and Joe looked a bit puzzled as I went into further detail, about how much I like the style of the SHE clothing line. “They have really nice products for girls who hunt or fish or like me even shoot! It’s really great, the clothes fit and are made for the outdoors, and its not your dad’s or brother’s clothes”

They nodded, understanding about half of what I said. I spoke too fast. I always speak to fast when I become especially energetic about the topic. Instead of repeating, why not do something different? I thought, be me!

I stood up, they looked with baffled expressions, I motioned to my shirt, displaying the SHE logo in the center and their mouths formed “O”s.

“Not only do they have clothes that are practical, but also fashionable, like my shirt, really cute!” I spoke thinking of myself like one of those women on those commercials talking about how great a product was, seemed Boring! SHE clothing is not boring, I thought and wanted to get that across.

“I mean, look at how cute this is! I can wear it to the range or anywhere. I have a jacket from SHE at home, too. It’s waterproof so I can shoot in the rain without a problem! And they are soooo comfy!” This was more like me. I smiled, standing there in the middle of the studio showing my shirt and being myself I knew that although the listeners could not see my shirt, they could hear my enthusiasm for SHE clothing and that of the radio hosts.

Jim and Joe, the hosts, who are also owners of Rangemaster of Santa Maria a gun and sportswear store, noticed my eagerness about SHE and nodded, “For all of those who don’t have web-cams hooked up in our studio and can’t see what she’s talking about, she’s displaying a lovely gray shirt from SHE Clothing.”

“It’s gray and silver and has swirlies all over it.” I explained further, taking my seat again.

“It really is a nice shirt,” Jim commented. “And you hear that, outdoors-ladies out there? There’s a clothing company just for you. Molly, how would ladies go about contacting SHE about their products?”

“The easiest way would be to go to their website, w-w-w-dot-she-safari.com.”

Joe nodded, “Great. So tell us about why you love shooting-”

And the interview continued for another twenty minutes. They asked me more questions about what I do in shooting, why I shoot, all things like that. When the clock on the wall showed one minute left, they asked me if I had any comments to wrap the show up.

“I want to thank you guys for having me on here! It’s been a blast. Also, thanks to my sponsors, Hogue Grips, Tactical Solutions, Speed-E-Rack, Smith & Wesson, and SHE clothing.”

They smiled and said their conclusion of the day and the commercials began to play.

Jim looked at my shirt again, “That really is a nice shirt. You know, by associating clothes and shooting, you probably sparked a lot of interest from women about it.”

“That’s what I’m aiming for!” I said happily.




A NEW BAG FROM ACTION TARGET

 
I got something pretty useful, very sturdy AND fashionable from two friends of mine, Dave Mathis and Mike Stilwell! All the way from Utah, Action Target made me a new bag for my revolver! Best part? It matches my box, and it has my name on it, too. Personalized! Thank you so much, Dave, Mike, and Action Target! I love it.