2011 goes in the books as one of the most memorable for me in my shooting career. It was very difficult to narrow down my year into just 11 moments, but here they are…
11. Adventures in 3-Gunning – I took a big leap out of my comfort zone this season and explored the sport of 3-Gun. Many years ago I shot a few multi-gun style matches, but this sport has greatly evolved since then. I have a lot to learn about racing with the Smith & Wesson M&P15 and Benelli M2 and though 3-Gun is still very much in its infancy, it is a challenge I definitely want to pursue in 2012. Read more about my adventures in 3-gunning here.
10. Shooting Industry Masters – Some approach the FMG’s Shooting Industry Masters as a “serious” competition. For me, it’s more about the people who make the industry tick. From chatting with those who work tirelessly behind the scenes to deliver products and services in the shooting, hunting and outdoor industries to trying out new things like shooting a crossbow to raising money for the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s First Shots program, I had a great time at this event. Here’s a post I wrote up on it for Women’s Outdoor News.
9. Benelli On Assignment Texas Turkey Hunt – I jumped at the opportunity to go on my first ever turkey hunt with Joe Coogan and Benelli USA in March. Not only did I get to learn how to use a slate call and hunt turkeys, I ended up shooting my first gobbler and got to do it with a wonderful group of fun and talented women!
8. 2011 USPSA Ladies Production National Champion – I had no expectations for this year’s USPSA Production Nationals. For me it was a test run for the IPSC World Shoot with my stock Smith & Wesson M&P9L and Warren Tactical Sights against more customized production guns with lighter triggers. I shot my own game and I think this was my most successful match of the season. I felt strong and confident. Being able to bring home the title after finishing second for the past couple of years definitely rates as one of my top moments of 2011.
7. Duck Hunting with Mike Irvine of Shooting USA – Getting to know Mike Irvine over the years, well, his eyes just light up when he talks about waterfowl hunting. This December I had the chance to step into the blind for the first time, where Mike is the expert. What fun! I totally caught the bug and was excited to be able to share it with an old friend from the US Army Marksmanship Unit and Olympian, Shawn Dulohery. I have been so busy over the past few weeks that I haven’t had a chance to blog about it, but stay tuned. This is one experience I will be writing more about.
6. SHOOT: Your Guide to Shooting and Competition – I never realized how much work goes into writing a book until I found myself staring at my laptop wondering where to begin. Writing Shoot gave me the opportunity to learn more about shooting sports I have never competed in. It also allowed me to combine two of my passions – shooting and writing – into a book I am very proud of. Check it out at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
5. 2011 USPSA Ladies Revolver National Champion – I wasn’t able to coordinate all the components to make it happen in 2010, but in 2011 I was determined to compete in the Revolver Division at the USPSA Nationals. With the help of good friends Rob Leatham and Seiichi Ishikawa, I was able to not only compete in my first ever Revolver Nationals, but win the Ladies National Title against the sport’s most enduring women’s revolver champion (and all around wonderful person), Annette Aysen.
4. My First Mule Deer – In case you haven’t guessed it, I love to hunt. It is a hobby my dad and I shared when I was young and moving to Montana I take advantage of all the hunting the Treasure State has to offer every chance I get. After a hectic shooting season, being able to head to the field with my husband is a pastime I look forward to all year. This year, we hit the plains near the border of Canada to hunt for my first mulie. Thank you, my love, for an amazing time.
3. RUSSIA! – Shooting has taken me all over the world and I have been able to enjoy the sport in six of the seven continents. Just last month I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel to Russia for the IPSC Moscow Open. I have a blog post in the works (and possible article for Front Sight magazine), but truth be told I am still mentally absorbing it all. A huge thank you to my hosts, Svetlana Nikolaeva and Stanislav Novoselov, for an incredible experience I will never forget.
2. World Shoot XVI – An IPSC World Shoot is unlike any other event in the action shooting sports. First, it’s huge with a cadre of range officers, volunteers and, of course, hundreds of competitors. I love meeting shooters from around the world and to be able to do it with my teammates from the USPSA Ladies Production Team, Sara Dunivin, Kippi Leatham and Maggie Reese, it is one match experience I will always treasure.
1. USPSA Six Division Champion – When I signed with Smith & Wesson, it opened the doors to a wealth of shooting opportunities. I realized I could do something that had never been done – win a national title in all six divisions of USPSA (Open, Limited, Production, Limited-10, Single Stack and Revolver). Having the support of my family, friends, even complete strangers who were sending me well wishes through Facebook, Twitter and my blog, made this achievement all the more special.
It sounds cheesy, but being able to share all this with you has been such a highlight of my year. Thank you for all your well wishes, kind words and support. Here’s to an amazing 2012!