Participating in the Rockcastle ProAm was just as much professional development as it was personal development.
When Kay and Deb made the announcement early in 2013 for the opportunity to have a coveted slot in the Rockcastle ProAm plus be coached by Pro Lady Shooters, I was one of the first girls to send my email to Kay securing my spot. I knew from a professional stand point I needed to be there, personally I needed to finally convince myself I am a “real competitor”.
A little background on me- I am the Founder of A Girl and A Gun Women’s Shooting League. An organization that is introducing women to the word of competitive shooting sports via social and fun events around the country. I am very happy to be the range officer behind the timer, clipboard or as match staff creating opportunities for others. It is a hard job, but extremely fulfilling. Plus I have the opportunity to meet every competitor and develop special friendships with shooters I get to see for an hour or so a few times a year. I compete because as a Range Officer I want to understand what it is like from the shooter’s perspective and because I am a huge advocate of bringing women into the shooting sports, thinking I kind of need to be an example.
It kills my husband when I used to say “I am not really a shooter, more like a professional RO”. I recently stopped saying that in August. For so long I just didn’t see myself as a real competitor, kind of like an impersonator if you will. Although I have been involved in the shooting sports in some fashion for almost 10 years, it has been the last 4 years that have shaped me, and my experiences this season at five major matches (two pistol and three 3 gun) has allowed me to say with confidence “I am a competitor”.
I have shot maybe five multigun matches in the past 2 years. The Rockcastle ProAm was my first major 3 Gun match without my husband. I don’t really practice at local matches, just show up at these big ones and muster my way through it (not recommended), helping my kids with their stuff and cheering on my hubby. I also haven’t been using the right gear, but my hubby let me use his belt set up and for the first time, I looked like a real shooter, and felt like one too! Familiar with the phrase “Dress for the role you want”…it is so true. And instead of being an “impersonator” I experienced the final transformation that had been happening all summer.
Usually I shoot with all men and juniors, not really having a competitive thought in my head. Being on a squad with 10 other women flipped a switch. For the first time I saw how I measured up to other women, figured out who I needed to pace myself with based on my skill level, and had the twinge of “I want to beat her time”. It was uncomfortable for me to feel so competitive, but what I love most about women is we are extremely supportive of each other in this sport. It is funny to the guys because we always clap and give a cheer when a gal is done shooting. It doesn’t matter how good or bad she did on the stage, you hear positive encouraging feedback and praise, making that competitive jolt easier to experience. I don’t have a fancy jersey… yet, working on that with Animal Customs. I do have a few friends in the industry that contributed gear and equipment to help me in my journey, guess it is time to acknowledge I am a sponsored shooter and ask permission to wear their logos, and then practice!
Professionally speaking, I did what I came to do, which is to stay relevant in the shooting industry by keeping my circle of relationships strong and engaged, as well as met a new circle of people creating new opportunities to support each other.
Personally speaking I overcame a huge non truth, and came out the other side an energized person excited about my sport and the opportunities available to develop who I am as a competitor. I placed 9th out of 40 amateur ladies, 195 overall of 250 in my division. Now I’m thinking like a typical competitor: how I would have finished had I #1 practiced more, #2 not had a major gun malfunction on stage one which cost me 75 seconds in penalties, and #3 take back the other 3 penalties for missed hits on target which cost me 15 seconds.
I cannot thank the Noble Family, Resort Staff and Match Staff enough for a wonderful destination and match experience. Thank you Lena Miculek and Randi Rogers for being our squad coaches. Deb Ferns and Kay Miculek continue to be my mentors with the work they do with Babes with Bullets and inspire me to strive harder each day to make A Girl and A Gun a premiere organization serving women in the shooting industry, and of course the amazing Pro Ladies that took time to be coaches, share their knowledge and experience making a difference in our lives.
Humble, Happy & Motivated, Julianna