Why I Compete

Competing is fun. If you don’t already know you’re going to have to trust me on this. I just recently discover the immense thrill of hearing “Shooter ready! Stand-by!” followed by a loud buzz; the adrenaline rush of running from barrier to barrier, tap, tap, bang, bang, slayin’ frickin’ bodies. Fun: that’s all there is to it at the end of the day.

Of course, at first it’s all timidity – what am I doing? It’s like a friend of mine always says, “If they’d kicked me in the back before my run that first night, I would’ve just figured that’s how things were done.” However, it only took once for me to see the amazing amount of support I had for getting my red-head out on the hypothetical battlefield and mustering my way through the unknown.

The social aspect of any sport, any industry, is extremely important; and to see the people in the room stepping up to show me support was awesome beyond what I had imagined. Even now I see that support from friends, coworkers and customers. They all know I can do it, they have all seen me improve. I actually had a customer look at me nostalgically the other day and say “I remember a year ago when you were just learning to shoot handguns, and now you’re designing courses of fire.”

From AR lessons with coworkers to safety lectures (and bad pirate jokes) from my favorite SOs there is consistent encouragement in every league I’ve shot in, not only to have a good time, but to have the opportunity to learn and grow. It’s moved beyond just feeling supported, as in my first weeks of tap, tap, bang, bang, to feeling empowered. Having more knowledge about guns and competing than the average Joe off the street is extremely important, not only in my line of work, but being who I am in my line of work.

Competing gives me a level of credibility above and beyond wearing a black polo, which is something that is genuinely important  in some circles. I’ve spent most of the last year trying to soak up as much industry knowledge as possible and the fact is that attending competitions gives you a new and interesting aspect on the industry and provides input on products and tactics that you don’t get standing in a gun store or behind a range counter. You get to see everyone’s cool toys and the stupid things they do with and to them. You can hear different sides of any given topic and get actual consumer feedback on a wide variety of products put to an array of different uses.

Competing has been an educational endeavor that has proven important to me professionally and personally, and, at the end of the day, running and gunning is just a blast.


  1. Pics of Ladies with guns should not be allowed, it’s a conflict of interest.
    I don’t know which one to look at more!

    Seriously tho, welcome.
    Any good advise for getting our daughters into shooting? I have 2, one actually went hunting with me for a couple of years then quit, other had never fired a gun.
    I’d like to get them into carrying a gun for their own protection.
    Not just asking Shelley but any ladies here.
    Thanks in Advance.

    1. The best thing you can do is make shooting fun. It’s a sport, it’s a hobby, you have to let them enjoy it on their own. If you push them into it, they’re just going to rebel. If you make something cool and exciting they can do with their dad they’re more likely to get into it.
      There’s no guarantee they’re going to love it, not every sport is for everyone, but they might just like spending time with you.

      1. “make shooting fun”? How can it not be fun?
        OK, if someone else is shooting AT you it wouldn’t be fun, but short of that what’s not to love.

        Perhaps that’s a difference in the wiring of men’s brains as opposed to woman’s brains? I dunno but my 2 sons are gun nuts in training, the 2 girls are so-so. They just don’t have that urge to go burn up a pile of ammo like the boys do, and I’ve tried to raise them all the same as far as guns and shooting goes. Dunno where I went wrong or even if it was my fault.

        Another Question, why are the shooting sports predominately White? I haven’t shot competition, but target shooting and hunting for over 30 years, 10 of which were in South Jersey, which has a large black population, I’ve only seen 2, possibly 3, black hunters/shooters.

        Anyone have a clue why more blacks don’t shoot?
        And how we as hunters and shooting enthusiasts can get more blacks into shooting?
        Look at the pictures from the NRA conventions, If you can spot more than 1 black face in any of the pictures I’ve missed it. Why is it a virtual sea of white faces?

        We need to get more people of ALL colors into shooting if it is to survive into the future. This is also a big part of why I would like to get my daughters strongly into shooting, but as you said, If I push too hard they will just rebel against it.

        Sort of a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation………

        (PS, sorry for rambling)

        1. Children are conditioned differently on a social level, and that’s where you find the gender split. As a kid it never occured to me that I might pick up shooting as a sport or hobby, it was something I did with daddy because it was something to do with daddy.

          When I moved to Corvallis I ended up involved in starting up the Oregon State University Shotgun Club (we didn’t get enough interest for it to stick, sadly) and only then did it occur to me that this was more than something to do with daddy or my boyfriend.

          What it boils down to is that shooting’s not as “cool” in the world of girls as it is in the world of boys, or at least not as frequently discussed. The boys can go to their friends and say “guess what I did yesterday?!” and their friends want to know all about it, I still have trouble communicating my gun related activities to my female friends because they don’t have the same level of social interest; it’s not something they’ve been conditioned to get all excited about. They support me, they think it’s neat, but they have no yearning desire to develop an understanding of the industry.

          As far as race goes, while I haven’t spent a lot of time at conventions, etc. I have seen quite a variety of people come through the range at West Coast Armory. So while they may have yet to develop the same level of industry presence, different races are out there shooting.

          1. I haven’t been to any either, but looking at the photos from the convention in the American Rifleman a few months ago it really hit me. Even in the wide shots of folks on the convention floor, 99.9% white faces, it really struck me as odd.

            I have several friends from my High School days, and only 1 shoots, I’d say about 80% (conservatively estimating) of my white friends shoot/hunt, but only 1 out of a dozen black friends I keep in touch with do, and that guy is a Glock lover, I’m a 1911 lover. Needless to say we have had some “interesting” discussions (read: Arguments) about guns. 🙂

            Thanks for the insights into the female mind. 🙂
            My wife is not into guns so she was no help on the matter!

            Wish me luck…….

  2. I am a lucky guy who also has a girlfriend that is a competitive shooter. We have a lot of fun on and off the range.

    1. I’m happy my wife accepts my hunting and shooting afflictions 🙂
      Even though she doesn’t shoot, she has gone hunting with me a few times just for the exercise, sadly mostly when we both were much younger, it’s been years since she went with me.

Comments are closed.