It is difficult to put into words what it means to me to win my 10th USPSA Ladies National Title. Returning to the match circuit last year after taking time off to have my daughter, I tried not to put too much pressure on myself to win. My goal was to give my best and to have fun. Mission accomplished!
This season it is a different story. I have had a year to adapt to balancing motherhood, my work with Smith & Wesson and competing. I was able to start training late in March with a new gun, a Smith & Wesson Pro Series 9mm 1911 with custom work by Pete Single. I LOVE this pistol! My goal for Single Stack was still to enjoy every aspect of competition, but also to win. Lots of dry fire, physical training and a practice plan were all critical components.
I also had a chance to head down to Arizona to practice with Kippi Leatham. Of course, Kippi’s husband, Rob – the shooting world’s “Great One” – was also at the range. They aren’t just shooting power houses, they are wonderful people. I can think of very few athletes who would welcome a fellow competitor with open arms to train with them in that critical window before a national championship. We call it my “Spring Training” where I quite literally thaw out and start sending bullets downrange. After a few days with Kippi, a favorite to win, I was humbled by her consistent accuracy and quick transitions. I left Arizona motivated with number of things to work on. Rob and Kippi, thank you! You are TRUE CHAMPIONS in my book.
The USPSA Area 6 Championships in Conyers, GA served as a warm up for me. Challenging courses of fire and an atmosphere of tough competition helped me to get back in the groove. The final days leading up to the nationals I was able to focus on shooting thanks to my parents. They braved three grueling flights and a long 4.5 hour drive to come and watch my little one. Thank you so much Mom and Dad. I couldn’t have done it without you!
So, how was the match? AWESOME! This is the one USPSA event where every skill in practical shooting is tested. There was a complete balance of small speed shoots, medium stages and run-n-gun field courses. The match had close shots, swingers, drop turner targets that disappeared, and max traps targets. There was a five second par time “Standards” with 35 yard targets engaged from around both the right and left side of a barricade. Shots were fired in the dark illuminated by only a SureFire® flashlight in the “Dark House.” A variety of start positions with the gun both empty, fully loaded, in the holster and in a briefcase kept things interesting. There were tough shots from both strong and support hand. Every year a large field course consisting of all steel showcases competitors’ speed. Oh and of course, lots of reloads!
I am very happy with my match. My gun and ammunition performed flawlessly! I had some penalties, but didn’t let them phase me. I posted top lady scores on 8 of the 16 stages and had the best percentage of a lady shooter in Single Stack Nationals history. I opted to shoot 9mm minor. This gave me an extra two rounds in my magazines and the opportunity to explore different options for breaking down the stages. All the hard work paid off and I won my second Single Stack Nationals. The victory marks my 10th USPSA Ladies National Title. To join the ranks of the talented few in the sport who have attained USPSA wins in the double digits is something I am extremely proud of.
The big news from the match was that Rob Leatham did the unthinkable – won his 24th USPSA National Title and 16th consecutive Single Stack Championship. A sweet 16 years of victories! Rob once again proved, that when it comes to the single stack 1911, he is the king. Congratulations, Rob!
I had a great time shooting with Rob, Todd Jarrett, my teammate Phil Strader, Matt Cheely, and GREAT lady shooters Kippi, Tori Nonaka, TD Roe and Lisa Munson. It was truly a super squad on so many levels! I wish I had a chance to shoot with Sara Dunivin who finished second lady and shot a VERY strong match. Congratulations, Sara!
The host range, beautiful PASA Park in Barry, IL is one of my favorites. The range officers were professional, courteous and efficient. A huge thank you to Match Director Russell Cluver, Range Master Jay Worden and the amazing staff for running the event.
I also want to thank everyone who sent me well wishes. I so appreciate your support! I am living my dream thanks to amazing sponsors. Knowing I have the best gear that I can rely on makes me confident to compete at this level. Thank you so much!
Family and friends, tough competition, great stages, an amazing gun, reliable and accurate ammo, top notch gear and a goal met all make this one experience I will never forget.