Unique Sport

Unique Sport

Valerie Sweeten
Houston Chronicle-Cy-Fair
July 5, 2007

Barbara Garney, a Cypress resident, started shooting shotguns as a hobby and is now a National Sporting Clays shotgun instructor.


Barbara Garney Picked Shotgun Over Diamonds

Cypress resident Barbara Garney loves the instant gratification of her favorite sport, shooting.

Garney is a recreational shooter at American Shooting Centers, 1655 Westheimer at George Bush Park.

A U.S. Sporting Goods Association study found between 2001-2005, an estimated three million women hunt and as many as five million regularly shoot.

Women held 15 percent of the hunting, shooting and firearms marketplace during the period, and it is growing.

When Garney married husband, Jim Maxey, an avid outdoorsman in 1988, he offered her a choice between diamond earrings and her first shotgun for a wedding present.

Choosing the shotgun changed her life.

Garney took a few lessons, but it was a weekend session with a Texas Parks and Wildlife workshop, “Becoming An Outdoorswoman,” that gave her direction.

“They helped us understand how gals are different,” Garney said.

Garney also discovered the importance of why a gun must fit the shooter.

“You don’t have to stretch your arm out,” Garney said.  “Your trigger finger reaches naturally.  It’s much more comfortable.  You don’t get that slap in the face when the gun goes off, which leads to bruising.”

With the right equipment and instruction, Garney embraced the sport.

Vicki Ash, owner of Optimum Shooting Performance School, watched Garney progress during the past eight years from amateur to a worthy opponent.

“She’s come from a very much beginner to a very good shooter,” Ash said.

“She’s done a wonderful job with the monthly Ladies’ Shoot to making it survive.  She has a lot of energy with good ideas.”

HOME ON THE RANGE: Barbara Garney shoots clay targets at the American Shooting Center, 16500 Westheimer

Garney’s love for the sport prompted her to become involved at all levels.

She has now competed in the Browning/Briley World Open, joined various all-women hunting expeditions in South Texas, chaired the annual Ladies’ Charity event and joined as an executive board member with the Texas Sporting Clays Association.

Kathryn Sweeny, fellow board member, met Garney in 2003 during a shooting event.

Sweeny feels inspired when she sees Garney, who is described as outgoing and positive, actively promoting the sport.

“She is the Energizer Bunny when it comes to sporting clays,” Sweeney said.  “She’s gone out of her way to do outreach.  She organizes volunteers and events.  She wants people to have fun, learn, and laugh.  She’s somebody that enjoys herself and the competition.”

Garney, a native Houstonian who grew up in the Heights, watched her father hunt birds.

Sharper skills are the draw for Garney.

“I’m trying to better myself each time I shoot,” said Garney, a member of the National Sporting Clays Association.

“I try not to compare myself to other shooters.  It’s the feeling of self-satisfaction and self-achievement.”

Garney, a Level I NSCA instructor, wants other women to discover a love for this sport.

“When I first started and shot eight targets, I thought I set the world on fire,” Garney said.  “I was addicted.  I want to provide the chance for women to get out there and just do it.  Hopefully, we’ll share our love of the game and let them go on.”

Garney, who is looking forward to competing in the TSCA state tournament in September and the NSCA event in November, spends her free time water-skiing in the Hill Country with her family.


Barbara Garney

  • Age: 63
  • Community Connection: Cypress Resident
  • Fast Fact: Is a National Sporting Clays Association Level I shooting instructor
  • Quick Quote: “What I like about this is that it is something girls do for a sport or a hobby.  It doesn’t take strength but good hand/eye coordination.  The payoff is instant self-gratification the minute you break the target.”



Copyright 2017 © Lady Clay Shooters, All Rights Reserved.