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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fabulous Lady 3-Gun



I may not be a Professional Lady 3-Gunner, but I DID stay at a Holiday Inn Express for three nights! LOL

The Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Conyers, Georgia served as the official match hotel for the inaugural Brownell's Lady 3Gun Pro-Am Challenge,  www.lady3gun.com  and I certainly came home from the South River Gun Club  www.southrivergunclub.com  feeling like a winner!

What a fantastic experience!! I'm sure there were some hitches - as there always are when putting on an extravaganza such as this for the first time - but Match Director Lisa Marie Judy, Assistant Match Director Kay Miculek, Range Master Chris Palmer, and an entire HOST of coordinating staff and RO's deserve a ten minute standing ovation for pulling off this history-making event! It was truly FABULOUS!

I just don't have enough good things to say about this match. One of the most important to me, was the sudden realization partway through the first day, that EVERY shot I was hearing - coming from all over the range - was coming from a WOMAN. It hit me so suddenly, and gave me such a surge of pride that I can't even describe it to you. It almost brought tears to my eyes. It was one of those times when you realize that you are part of history-in-the-making. I'm guilty of overusing this word, but it was truly AWESOME, and I can't thank everyone enough for making this come to pass.

From what I could tell, there wasn't an RO who was less than kind and helpful, and there wasn't a shooter who wasn't thrilled to be there. It may not have been Disney, but it sure seemed to be the happiest place in Georgia last weekend. I've never hugged a Range Master before, but yeah, that happened too. LOL

But I'm getting ahead  of myself.

So where do I start the story?

There was a whole saga involved in me actually getting ON the road, but nobody wants to hear about that, so let's cut to the chase.

When I arrived at the match hotel and checked in, the first thing the desk clerk said to me was "You ladies sure do love your guns!" 

And that was pretty much the theme for the entire event. I heard stories all weekend about everyone from airline baggage clerks to other hotel guests being taken by surprise by how these women "love their guns". Nobody seemed to think that the big case full of noisy hardware should belong to a female. Yet there we were - all nearly 200 of us. And we proved to the country and the industry how MUCH we love our guns! :-)

We started off with Match Registration at the beautiful and well-appointed South River Gun Club in Covington, GA (and by "well-appointed", I mean "Yay for flush facilities!") where I received my registration bag, literally stuffed FULL of industry support, including the beautiful and feminine match t-shirt from GunGoddess.com



That was followed by a wine and cheese reception ( and eventually beer and salami LOL), sponsored by even more industry supporters. This allowed the ladies a chance to mix and mingle and get a little better acquainted, and also to hear some announcements about the following day's start.

I am not a night owl, so I was in bed early while visions of shotgun reloads ( or maybe those were nightmares LOL) danced through my head.

Match Day #1 dawned early and was cool, but sunny. The profusion of gun buggies, carts, and wagons, brimming with firearms of every color, was truly a sight to see. The crowd of excited women gathered around the pavilion for welcome announcements and self-congratulations, and then ... history was made.

I was part of the Fun and Fabulous Squad 7, and couldn't have felt luckier. We all bonded well, had a great time, supported each other and videoed the Bejeebers out of each other. 



I volunteered to go first on our first stage, mostly just to get over the jitters, and boy, was that scenario fun! A pre-staged revolver and a real live minivan! Imagine if you will, your favorite female, engaging targets out the window of the family van, then transitioning to shotgun, and finally grabbing and charging the semi-auto MSR out of the back hatch of the minivan to finish off the marauding hordes. It was SUCH a rush!  It would have been enough to send "Moms Demand" into a fit of pearl-clutching vapors LOL!!  (Video can be found on the blog Facebook page)

Each stage that day provided a similar rush and feeling of accomplishment, until we had reached our allotted four for the day. By that point the guys from 5.11 Tactical had been hard at work prepping our delicious dinner, and it was ready to serve.


OOh, did I mention that there were costumes? Yep, this day of shooting fell on Halloween, so not only were there some brave souls who were actually shooting IN costume, there was also a costume party and contest as part of the evening's dinner festivities at the range.

There were some ingenious and entertaining outfits, let me tell you! Prizes were awarded courtesy of Nikki Turpeaux and Archangel Tactical. Yours truly actually won third place. I'm a little fuzzy on details because I was so exhausted, but I seem to have flashbacks about a Well-endowed Hula Girl, a Jedi, a very large Squirrel, a Care Bear, the Cast of Grease, and a Troupe of Gorillas chasing a banana...... and no, I'm not hallucinating, I only had one beer LOL Most of my costume photos didn't turn out well due to the ambient lighting, but you can imagine the scene - 3-Gunners in wild costumes arrayed across the Cowboy Town stage on a gun range.   Mind. Blown.

     My costume-win goody bag

The second day of shooting started out cold and windy - temps in the 40's with wind gusts into the 30 mph range - especially uncomfortable for those who had packed for what they assumed would be southern weather. The colorful shirts of the previous day disappeared underneath layers of extra t-shirts, sweatshirts, and drug store gloves bought on-the-fly. The swag-bag fleece beanies from Leupold got quite the workout that morning. There were some cute shemaughs too. (and I see that Voodoo Tactical has one in pink and black - hint to my offspring for Christmas LOL!)

But, the "No Whining" flag was flying, and we soldiered on, trying to keep our trigger fingers warm while "on deck".   There were even a couple of pros-who-shall-not-be-named who tried to keep warm by making a banner into a burrito :-)


That second day for my squad started with Stage 3, which involved a wobbly "bridge", and a black fabric "house" - really interesting! I've done a similar bridge with pistol before, but never with rifle, and this bridge seemed even more wobbly. I stretched my skill set a bit with that one. But for me, that's really what this was all about anyway - learning, having fun, and pushing myself a little. I wasn't perfect, but I was happy with my performance.


Subsequent stages struggled a bit with the wind. Steel "clays" wouldn't always stay perched on their stands, and poppers either stayed up or went down, depending upon the direction of the wind gusts at any particular moment. But the stage RO's maintained their humor and made it a fun day for all.

Finally, we finished up our eighth stage for the match, and it was all over but the celebrating! The match dinner was held at the Cherokee Run Golf Club, and the prize table was amazing! I hear-tell that there was over $200,000 worth of prize gear donated by VERY generous sponsors.

Benelli offered a $5000 check for the top pro (Lena  Miculek), and a new travelling trophy cup for the top amateur (Ashley Rheuark)  - in addition, there were fabulous prize table pics in each division. I personally scored 54th out of 106 in Tac Ops and was very happy with that - especially since this was only my 5th 3-Gun match ever. I chose a fantastic Vooodoo Tactical range bag full of goodies from Hogue, Freedom Munitions, JP, Fiocchi, Hornady, and well, there was so much I've lost track. As I've said before, the sponsor support was overwhelming, and all the women were extremely appreciative.


​As if that weren't enough, my experience had an even bigger surprise cherry on top. Adams Arms was holding a fundraiser raffle for Breast Cancer Research, and amazingly enough, for the gal who never dropped a single quarter in a slot in Vegas, because she never wins anything - my ticket was pulled! So thanks to the generosity of Adams Arms, and everyone who made a donation to Breast Cancer research, I got to keep a gorgeous pink-blinged rifle! I'm pretty sure that this rifle can out-shoot me LOL. But the most important thing is the money raised to help fight this disease. Everybody wins here. Thank you again, Adams Arms, and I'll post more pics when my prize gets to my FFL :-)

     Photo courtesy of Becky Yackley Photography

Those of you who are regular readers, know that I like my "soapbox", so I'm going to drag it out again for a minute before I close this up ...

You all know that I'm not one of the "cool kids" in the shooting world - I don't wear a pretty sponsored jersey, and even though I have tons of fun, I'm not very "good".  The majority of the industry photos of this event you will see ARE those of the cool kids in the pretty jerseys though -- even though there were a whole ton of us in just plain T-shirts (and insulated sweatshirts ....and Walgreens gloves and hats .... with "hot hands" tucked into our pockets LOL) that were having a helluva good time.  But honestly, for this event particularly, that's where I think the emphasis OUGHT to be - on the gals in the plain T-shirts. Because the vast majority of shooters in this sport (and the vast majority of IDPA and USPSA shooters as well) are not the sponsored shooters in the fancy jerseys. They are the average Joe (and now Josie) working their tails off at their home clubs across the country. I am concerned that we aren't going to swell the ranks of women shooters by only showcasing the "Jersey Gals".  

Don't get me wrong  - we LOVE Our "Jersey Gals". They are the public face of our minority in the sport, and we love them to pieces - but they aren't the only story here. The REAL story here is about all of the UNsponsored women who squeezed airfare out of the family budget, or carpooled a thousand miles and used loaner equipment just so they could SHOOT! 

THEY are the future of the shooting sports (and honestly the entire 2A) in this country. If the grassroots woman in a plain T-shirt wants to shoot that badly, then we should ALL support her! That is exactly what happened this weekend, but you won't see a lot of that in the news wire photos. New friendships were forged, hugs and applause were exchanged, memories were made, and hopefully the true objective was achieved  - of getting, supporting, and KEEPING women in shooting. I just don't want THAT message to get lost amongst all of the pro action shots and sponsor thanks.

Although I personally made out like the proverbial bandit, prize and swag-wise, I would honestly have done this even if all I got to bring home with me was a fistful of stickers and a hat. The experience, the comaraderie, the laughs, the learning curve -- all of it was phenomenal. I really hope that Lisa Marie et al, haven't totally exhausted themselves, because I am already looking forward to doing this again next year!

Thanks so much again to everyone! Congratulations on a fantastic job well done!


2 comments:

  1. It sounds like so much fun. I've wanted to shoot 3G, but after attending an "outlaw" match in our area I was turned off by, well, the lack of decent gun handling and I'm not a fan of being swept by anyone's muzzle, especially when I'm standing behind the line. Maybe a sanctioned match would be more up my alley.

    Kudos on representing the T-shirt brigade so well!

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  2. You really should try a sanctioned match. The safety rules are very stringent, and you would have a blast!

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