Ladies Shoot Air Rifle and Win in Bench Matches at The CMP
With the 2016 Olympic events at a close, it was the ladies who rose up to show the world on the largest competitive stage. They showed that they are confident leaders in the shooting realm – winning the only three medals collected by Team USA shooting.
Of course, nineteen-year-old Ginny Thrasher made history as she became the youngest to ever win the first gold medal of the Games during the Women’s 10-meter Air Rifle event.
Back on American soil, as the Olympians made strides in female sports on a global level, some ladies shoot air rifle in Ohio were proving they too compete to succeed on a national level – including those who arrived late to the game in their 50’s and 60’s.
During the annual National Matches in July and August, the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center at Camp Perry hosted a 30 Shot Bench League, where competitors used sporter, precision and AiR15 air rifles to fire 30 shots downrange from a rested position. The highest score in each category was deemed the winner of the match. Over 140 competed in the event, with the ladies coming out on top of the pack in each division.
Below. Joyce Edwards (left), Kathy Tribble (center) and Nora Gallagher (right) all competed and excelled during the 2016 National Match Air Rifle 30 Shot Bench competition.
Some of those ladies earned their victories after taking advantage of the state-of-the art facilities through the Open Public Shooting nights the range offers year-round.
“It’s just what I do on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And if you call me between 4:30 and 8:30, you’re not going to get a hold of me. This is it – this is where I am,” said Kathy Tribble, 57, of Oak Harbor, Ohio. That’s Kathy in our heading photograph, above.
Kathy gave an incredible performance in the precision match. She recorded a score of 299-21x in the event – only one point away from a perfect 300.
“This is the first time that I’ve done anything like this,” said Kathy, speaking of competing in the National match. In the past, she was reluctant to sign up, but a recent health scare pushed her towards taking on the challenge.
Growing up, her father was a man who believed that women were meant to stay in the house and unfairly discouraged her from firing any gun. With that notion in the back of her mind, she regrettably spent nearly 40 years without picking up a rifle – that is, until she found the air gun range two years ago.
It was there she discovered that not only did she actually enjoy shooting, but she was actually exceptional at the sport! The staff members within provided her with guidance and constantly praised her, telling her that she was a natural.
“To this day, it still doesn’t seem like they’re right. But, the computer can’t be too wrong,” she joked. “I’ve got a 299 in the Nationals.”
With her first National Match win, Kathy has shown that she has what it takes to be an outstanding markswoman!
Coming in second behind Kathy was Joyce Edwards, 65, of Marblehead, Ohio, who fired a score of 296-21x.
“I had never shot a gun until about 11 months ago,” Joyce admitted. That was when she discovered the airgun range at Camp Perry. “I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if it was going to be easy or hard. I thought the rifle was going to have a kick to it, and it doesn’t.””
After visiting the range with her husband, Phil, and firing a few shots downrange, she was hooked. She credits CMP staff members, like Kent Floro and Jackie Slosnerick, for helping her through the complexities of air rifle, such as sight picture, breathing and other marksmanship essentials.
Below. Kent Floro is one of the CMP staff members at the range during Open Public Shooting. Kent, along with the other staff members, is there to ensure safety and to help with each guest’s overall experience.
“They’ve been wonderful. Kent talked me through it each time and said, ‘We’re going to do better this time.’ At first I thought that’s a lot of stuff to remember! But after a while, it gets to be routine,” she said.
When her husband went to air pistol, she started using his air rifle. With practice, she became better and better each time, and those around her encouraged her to sign up for the National Match event.
“Everyone said, ‘You know, you ought to try the matches.’ And I’m going, ‘Please, I’m just a housewife. I just come here to play around!’” she said with a smile.
Proving that she’s more than “just a housewife,” she not only surprised her husband and her children by placing second on the National-level, but also herself.
“I really never expected to get to this point, but it’s fun. I like it,” she said.
Boasted as one of the most advanced air ranges in the country, the competition center is host to hundreds of competitors from around the nation throughout the year. A short drive for Joyce, who visits at least once a week, she is astounded that such a revered spot for the shooting sports world exists only a few minutes away.
“This is in our backyard. I’m so surprised . . . all of these people from other states just coming here to do this. It blows your mind – you don’t realize how important this place is,” she said. “Everyone should come out and try it at least once. They might be very pleasantly surprised. This is amazing, and the people are so nice. To me, that’s what makes it fun.”
In the sporter match, Nora Gallagher, 65, bested a field of 83 competitors, firing a score of 297-18x.
Open Public Shooting at the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center at Camp Perry is open August through June, Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5-8 p.m. For more information, visit http://thecmp.org/air/cmp-competition-centers/open-public-shooting/.