I was lucky enough to be raised in a great family that supports our Second Amendment rights. From a very early age, I learned to respect firearms and appreciate them for what they are – a tool. While growing up, I only hunted with shotguns and occasionally a rifle. It wasn’t until later in life that I got into competitive shooting. I’ve had a lot of help over the years and wouldn’t be here without friends, family, and mentorship from other shooters. My goal in life is to help others and teach them how to shoot firearms.
I’m so grateful every day that the Rifle Association at Florida State University (RAFSU) existed when I was finishing up my master’s degree. I was looking for a hobby, a group of like minded individuals, or some sort of club to get involved with. I ended up Googling FSU and firearms only to land on this organization’s Facebook Page. At the time, the President of the club was a female so I couldn’t be more excited. I learned a lot for a short period of time as I only had 4 months until graduation when I could no longer be a part of it.
Once I joined RAFSU, a spot opened up on the pistol team and I made the cut. I got to compete on the 9mm squad immediately skipping out on shooting .22LR. I picked up, sorted, and cleaned A LOT of brass while on the team which I still do today. The club also owned a 650 reloading machine which was really incredible to learn so quickly. There’s nothing like team bonding late at night picking up brass by car headlights and reloading in time for a match.
My dad gave me my first firearm – a gen 2 Glock 17 which I still have today. It meant a lot for my dad to entrust me with my own firearm. It was also around this time when I finally made the decision that I was ready to carry concealed. I signed up and took a Basic CCW class. The instructor for the shooting portion turned out to be one of my favorite shooting friends who I still get to shoot with. That CCW license was one of the best decisions I ever made. I refuse to be a victim and I hope I’ll never need to deploy my firearm, but knowing I can defend myself is a great feeling.
My very first shooting competition outside of the team was the inaugural GSSF match at Talon Range in August of 2014. It was 111 degrees – record breaking heat for Tallahassee with hundreds of shooters competing. I waited about 5 hours to shoot one stage when I learned the hard way that I was supposed to sign-in on the other stages first thing upon arriving at the match, a mistake I have never made again and have passed on to other shooters.
In 2015, I had finished up my Master’s Degree in Marketing and Project Management with no clue what was next for me. I spontaneously decided to open a marketing business and my very first client was my home shooting range. I slowly started shooting a couple of USPSA and steel challenge competitions, borrowing gear from friends. I never would’ve made it without the friends that loaned me magazine pouches, competition belts, and sometimes even a firearm.
In 2017 is when things really got going for me. Talon Range hosted an inaugural 3-gun competition which I was highly unprepared for, but it was the best experience of my life. I also ended up signing up 5 of my friends to shooting the match, some even borrowing my firearms. My squad also had the Co-Owner of Range Project on it, who I shoot with today, and which has become my new home range. That match lit the fire in me to continue growing and learning to shoot different things. I also shot the inaugural Annual Cowboy Match in the same month at Talon Range. I had none of my own items – pistols, rifle, shotgun, leather belt, nothing. I ended up taking second place Cowgirl surprising myself of my own abilities. That was the match that hooked me on Cowboy Action Shooting.
In January of 2018, I traveled with a new shooting buddy to Dothan Gun Club and shot a really fun USPSA match. In April, I took third Cowgirl in the Florida State Annual Competition. In May, I was first place Cowgirl at the Georgia State Annual Competition. Things were changing for me quickly, but I went through a lot personally that slowed down my ability to travel and shoot competitions. It wasn’t until later in the year that I set some goals for myself on what I wanted to pursue with firearms. I came up with the following list:
To teach 100 females how to shoot
To become an NRA certified instructor
To bring 5 new shooters to every match
To become a sponsored shooters with companies whose values align with mine
To start vlogging my experiences
The first one is a hefty goal that I am making progress on thanks to friends and family who believe in me. Just recently I became an NRA certified instructor. I have brought between 1 and 5 new shooters to every match so far this year. I also found a couple of sponsors who believe in me and have been a complete honor to work with. I invested in myself this year and purchased a GoPro Hero 7 and find people to film me when I shoot my stages. 2019 has been a game changer for me and I hope to make a positive impact in the firearms community.
There’s a huge learning curve to get into shooting, and especially into competitive shooting. I hope to make it easier and to encourage people of all ages that it’s never too late to start. If you’ve read this far, thanks for following along with my journey. Hope to see you on the trail… (something my cowboy friends say).