Seventeen-year-old Anniston Baluyot is a remarkable teenager. As one of the “professors” at 3-Gun University, held in March and sponsored by A Girl & A Gun Women’s Shooting League, she was calm, confident, and patient. At the time she was still 16, but she acted much more mature – a rarity for a teen, so I had to find out more about her.
“I was 12 the first time I went shooting. I went with my dad on a kind of daddy-daughter date,” she explains. “It was like okay, this is fun. We started with .22s. I seemed to have a natural talent at it, so after that I started doing private lessons with the president of the range.”
Anniston didn’t start shooting competitively until about three years ago. “I didn’t expect to like it so much. I was always a girly-girl,” she laughs. “I was into dance, ballet, tap, jazz. Then in middle school I got bored with that.” She was also not the outgoing, confident young woman that she is today. “I used to be super shy. In eighth grade I had to give a presentation. I was so nervous that when I got up in front of everyone, I started crying.”
Anniston credits shooting for her change, “Since I’ve started shooting I’ve learned to get out of my comfort zone. It has helped me tremendously.”
Another way Anniston is different than most teenagers is that she’s willing to listen to more experienced women. “I’ve learned to pick and choose my fight, what’s really going to matter. Women like Becky Yackley and Dianna Muller have taught me that all that stuff [teenage drama] doesn’t matter.”
Anniston attended the Brownell’s Multigun Fall Festival, also put on by AG & AG, and assisted Lena Miculek, as they were the two most experienced shooters on their squad. “We alternated going first and second, and helping the other shooters. Miss Julianna [Crowder] saw how that went and asked me to co-teach with Ashley [Rheuark] at 3-Gun University. I loved it. I actually really enjoy teaching. My coach had always told me you’ll be come a better shooter once you start teaching. Once I started being able to teach and critique others, helping diagnose their problems, it helped me remember those things for myself. You would be surprised at how something as simple as your grip or site picture being just a little off can affect your shooting. Teaching at 3-Gun University helped me be a better shooter. I loved it and will definitely do it again.”
“Teaching the group of women also gave me a lot of confidence. I was really intimidated by the thought of it before, especially at the idea of teaching men. I thought they’d think, ‘Oh, what’s this teenage girl have to teach me?’ But now I know that I do have experience and skills that I could teach to them. It gave me the confidence to go into a classroom full of guys,” she laughs.
What are her future plans? “I plan to go to college and to be shooting while I’m in college. Right now I’m looking at the Texas A & M Corps of Cadet program, then I want to go into the military and be a doctor. My dad is a dentist and in the Air Force right now, and I guess I want to be like him,” she smiles.
Anniston has some final thoughts for women shooters. “Don’t be intimidated by the guys and competing with them. I can see now that I can hang with the top guys and be competitive. Don’t get discouraged, there’s always room for improvement. Even if there is something they are doing and it doesn’t work for you, keep trying. You will find something that works for you.”
Sage advice coming from a teenager. Remarkable indeed.
Photo: Anniston with AG & AG’s Julianna and Robyn