Ladies Day 2017
Saturday, Nov 18th, saw 70 women from all across our community come to learn about and practice shooting firearms. The event, hosted by Gateway Rifle & Pistol Club in Jacksonville, Florida, provided the ladies with a short orientation to handguns, and gave them training in personal protection, pistols, air rifles, and cowboy action shooting.
It was a full day of fun for the ladies. We started with a welcome from Gateway’s president, Don Hardeman, and a safety brief given by Ted Carter, an NRA Certified Instructor. Retired JSO Officer Barbara Weber gave a seminar on personal protection and self-defense. She stressed the need to be alert and aware of our surroundings. She talked about what you could do if faced with a problem. The women had the opportunity to learn different techniques to block various attacks, and even got to try them on each other.
After the personal protection seminar, the women were split into four groups. They rotated through the different stations to sample different venues of shooting. A representative from OnTargetSports gave a brief firearms orientation to each group on the many different types of handguns available to purchase. He stressed that no one gun is THE firearm for every lady, and they need to try out different ones to see what fits and works for them.
On the air gun range the women were instructed how to shoot air rifles at a distance of 10 meters. The range was indoor, so everyone stayed comfortable. Marion Estes and the coaches gave a brief lesson on how the air rifle worked, and basic sight alignment and trigger squeeze. The ladies were seated and could use a sand bag if they wanted. Although the targets were small, they did well.
At the pistol range, the ladies shot .22 caliber pistols at 15 yards, standing and using two hands. They were separated into two relays, with coaches having one or two students at a time. After an orientation on the firearm, safe gun handling, and loading and unloading, the women were given 20 minutes to shoot as much as they wanted. Shooting iron sights, the goal was to learn to group their shots anywhere on the target. While one relay was shooting, the other received training on the fundamentals of a good shot, position, grip, sight alignment, sight picture, breathing, trigger squeeze and follow through.
Cowboy action shooting was a big hits for the ladies. Sheriff Misfire Mordecai and his gang did a great job of introducing the women to the period dress and the firearms of the era. They had the chance to shoot revolvers, rifles and shotguns at different distances and at fun targets. Each one selected a pistol, rifle and shotgun to shoot two rounds out of each gun. The firearms included 1866 Yellow Boy’s, Marlin 1894’s Winchester 1873’s, 1897 Winchester Pump Shotguns, Double Barreled Coach guns, Colt Peacemakers, Ruger Vaqueros, Gambler 2 shot Derringers. 450 rounds were fired by the 70 ladies!
Lunch was catered by the always delicious Gator BBQ. We all enjoyed smoked chicken, pulled pork, slaw, beans, rolls and banana pudding! No one left hungry!
A huge thank you to those of you that came out to help. Our group leaders were Preall Loncarevic, Lori Hallauer, Jody Keach, and Kathy Klimek. Marion Estes, Bob Hathcox, Chris Wensell, Sara Wensell, Al Goodman, and Alan Seacrest in the air rifle range. Ted Carter, Larry Watkins, Terry Drinkwater, Andy Loncarevic, Jim Fleming, Mike Hicks, Jane Cebulskie, and Bill McMullen on the pistol range. Thank you to OnTargetSports for loaning Rob Youngblood to us, and to Randy Erickson who jumped in to take over when Rob had to leave. Thank you to the Cowford Regulators, Sheriff Misfire Mordecai led his posse of 11 Cowboys and Cowgirls, Alma Sacket, Red Bear, Misfire Mordecai, Hogtown Huckleberry, Huckleberry’s Rib, Willy Whiskers, Flamingo Joe, Snake Oil Osage, Hoorah Hank, Pocket Rocket, RIAMBSC, and Rattlesnake Sams. And thank you to Barbara Weber, who has been a presenter at Ladies for several years. Without this wonderful group of volunteers, this event would have never happened!
Let us also recognize those businesses that supported us. Thank you to the Florida Sport Shooting Association for the goodie bags, Ruger for the swag and drink bottles, and GunGoddess for the lip balm. The Well Armed Woman Jacksonville West Chapter provided several volunteers, and of course those delicious goodies for a small cost. These organizations continually give their support for our Ladies programs at Gateway and are truly appreciated!
All in all, Ladies Day 2017 was a great success. The women had a fun time learning how to shoot and handle firearms safely. The instructors and coaches were happy to help, and everyone enjoyed lunch!
Keep your eye out for more events in 2018. We will be offering a Refuse To Be A Victim class in February, NRA’s Women On Target in June, something yet to be determined in August, and of course, Ladies Day in November. The Jacksonville West TWAW Chapter meets the 3rd Saturday of the month, from 9-1130. Contact Sue Carter, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are interested or want more information. See you next year at the range!