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The Northwest Observer ~ September 2018

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Former jockey reloads career training Girls Really Into Shooting


She Magazine – GRITS Summer 2017


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Virginia Sportsman

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 Carving out the time for Shooting with the GRITS

People used to ask me how I found the time to shoot in the midst of a very hectic life raising three children, keeping up with the daily responsibilities of living on a farm, teaching and all the other domestic and civic duties we managed to get ourselves into. I’ll tell you how, and more importantly why I made it a priority.

It was the sheer enjoyment of shooting and the love of social interaction that led me to form a women’s shooting group, the GRITS (Girls Really Into Shooting) about eight years ago. We shot on the first Friday of every month and tried to have at least two overnight adventures a year. The monthly shoots gots penciled (inked) into the calendar along with all the other appointments we do our best to keep each month….the doctors, the orthodontist, kids’ activities and so on.

This tradition has continued to this day, long after the kids have moved on to their own things and though life changes daily, these women are always a source of consistency and comfort, friendships built and bonds created simply by understanding why we love it so!

It is the camaraderie, the laughter and the shooting that makes that time easy to commit to and schedule around each month.

I have been a part of every GRITS getaway. It was precious time carved out of a very busy life and every moment has always been worth it.

Several years ago, eleven of us managed to put our daily hassles aside and enjoy an evening of food, libations and lots of shenanigans, jokes and laughter. In the midst of all the fun, I asked each of them to write down what they got out of shooting and more specifically, what they got out of shooting with the GRITS.

Here is what some of them had to say:

“I used to go along on bird hunting trips with my husband to watch the shooting and the dogs work and it beat staying home alone. Then, with a lot of encouragement from my husband and a new gun, I realized how much fun it was to actually join in and shoot. As for the GRITS, the group is the most amazing collection of interesting people – a couple of artists, a floral designer, company executive, decorator, doctor, lawyer, preacher and a few stay at home moms. I love to brag about all of them!” MW

“Unfortunately I am not into arts and crafts, jewelry making, quilting or needlework but shooting excites me. I like being outdoors and I love the instant gratification of seeing the clay break. I love to hear my friends cheer me on. Shooting helps me keep it simple, slow down and live in the moment.” SBgrits-group-5

“I used to shoot occasionally for fun. Now I am separated and going through a divorce and I love shooting because it helps take my mind off my troubles. It gives me confidence, the women are a wonderful support group and besides, it might be a nice way to meet a single man….beats the hell out of walking the dog!!” AG

And the last quote, my favorite…

“My husband and I were given a shooting lesson as a wedding gift. My soon-to-be step-son thought it was great too…..until I broke the first 8 targets in a row, then they were not so sure. Anyway, when I got a new gun for Christmas that year my friends just did not understand why I was so ecstatic They equated it with getting a vacuum cleaner or worse. Let me just say, my husband’s chest puffs out more when I run a station than when he does. Forget the negligees, put me in a shooting vest or blaze orange and he is toast. As for the GRITS, how much fun can you have? Brilliant, sassy women who love laughing, getting together and shooting. We have come together as old friends, new acquaintances, working and retired, all full of spirit, young at heart and shooting keeps us that way.” GGH

I think these quotes are a great example of the “ties that bind.” Though they are not a solicitation or promotion of the GRITS in particular, their thoughts are conveyed as mere encouragement for the idea of getting women together that would enjoy trying to shoot more. As a great friend of mine always says, “I was the cheerleader for years while my husband shot competitively, now it is my turn.” Besides, shooting is a wonderful release from the daily grind. It is also a good way to get women out there who might not always feel comfortable or confident enough to hit the shooting course alone or might feel some intimidation of entering a sport traditionally enjoyed by many more men than women.

Right here I will say that the men we shoot with have been and always are genuinely happy you are there and are always happy to help you along.

That aside, forming a women’s shooting group allows you to find people who understand the passion of a non-traditional women’s sport. It is not tennis or golf. It is not bridge or a book club. It takes someone who shoots or wants to shoot to understand the joy of a new gun for Christmas or the excitement a bird hunting vacation creates.

Women who shoot understand the challenge of shooting, all the pride of improvement and the sometimes therapeutic benefits as well.

Women love to communicate all those thoughts as well. We love to sit around and talk about the hits, the misses, the sometimes “handsome” distractions on a course, whatever….we talk about it, laugh about it and smile all the way home, thinking about the next shoot and all the while remembering to try to make   finding the time to shoot with the gang a priority.

Find the shooters, form the GRITS chapter, schedule the monthly time and KEEP SHOOTIN’