Channeling Annie Oakely – Impossible Shots Debut On The Outdoor Channel

I can still remember the day Mike Irvine asked me if I would come out and work with Shooting USA’s Impossible Shots crew. I agreed, of course, but I can only imagine the look that must have been on my face – a mix of confusion and surprise with a splash of terror. Mike must have seen my intense uneasiness with the idea and said something like, “It’s OK, we’ll start off with something easy, like a couple of Annie Oakley’s shots.”

Sure. Yeah. OK.

Just a couple of shots by the most famous woman in all of shooting. Oh… and only join a cast of incredible shooters who perform mind boggling feats of marksmanship, like say… Jerry Miculek!?!  Eh. No matter that my main gig is competing not dreaming up super hard, awesome shooting tricks. No big deal, right?

Channeling Annie Oakley

Right. So when I made the trip down to Franklin, TN to film, yeah, I was a bit nervous. I had sighted in my Smith & Wesson M&P15-22, but with my training schedule I wasn’t able to put a whole lot of time into preparing for the show. I kept telling myself shooting is shooting, to stare down the sights, accept that movement and be soft on the trigger.  I was  determined to give it my all, but if it turned out to not be my cup of tea, then so be it. Knowing your limitations is a good thing, right?

Well, it’s one thing to be on the tube demoing shooting tips and quite another to have several cameras pointed at you, their lenses like howitzers as you try to pull off an “impossible” shot. Now don’t get me wrong, the guys at Shooting USA are top notch and they are willing do anything that will help you get ‘er done. That even included indulging me when I asked “Um… guys can you turn around and not watch while I do this part?”

How sweet of them! Little did I know they were all watching with that flipdy-do viewer screen they can move around on their big cameras to watch the scene unfold in any position. In my Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz voice, “Curse you modern camera technology!”

For my debut I took aim at a corncob pipe, a Dum Dum lollipop, and a cigarette. That’s what we had planned anyway and I was happy enough with the results but then Rob Youngblood decided that was too easy. Keep in mind I was shooting a stock gun, straight out of the box from Smith & Wesson. No fancy trigger job, plain old iron sights and I was using Federal ammo you can buy off the shelf. And he wanted to make it harder?

You can watch it all unfold thanks to the fine folks at

It’s one thing to hit tough targets when you’re on the range by yourself, but to do it on demand for a crowd and cameras, that puts a whole new spin on shooting under pressure. My initiation into the shooting exhibition world gave me even greater respect for the amazing Annie Oakely and today’s greats like S&W’s Jerry Miculek and Benelli’s Tim Bradley.

It still feels a bit surreal watching myself on the show. It was kind of like one of those crazy amusement park rides where they drop from you a gazillion stories. There’s the intense anticipation, the “I can’t believe I am doing this” stomach jumping out the throat moments to gee, that was fun. Can I do it again?

I did get to do it again and you’ll be able to see me on the Impossible Shots in a few more episodes. As always, love to hear what you think!

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