FACES IN THE CROWD
Cypress Shooter Aims to Promote Her Sport
By Valerie Sweeten
Houston Chronicle Correspondent
July 5, 2007
Barbara Garney Picked Shotgun Over Diamonds
Cypress resident Barbara Garney started shooting shotguns as a hobby and is now a National Sporting Clays shooting instructor.
She loves the instant gratification of her favorite sport, shooting.
Garney is a recreational shooter at American Shooting Centers, 16500 Westheimer Parkway 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 this period, and it is growing.
When Garney married husband, Jim Maxey in 1988, he offered her a choice between diamond earrings and her first shotgun as a wedding gift.
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 Outdoors Woman,” that gave her directions.
“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 is 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 OSP Shooting 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.”
Garney’s love for the sport prompted her to become involved at all levels.
She competed in the Browning/Briley World Open, joined various all-women hunting expeditions in South Texas, chaired the annual Ladies’ Shoot Charity event and joined 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,” Sweeny 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, watch 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 broke 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 in 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.
For more information about events, go online to www.ladyclayshooters.com.php7-34.lan3-1.websitetestlink.com or call Barbara at 281-851-2671.
- Age: 63
- Community Connection: Cypress Resident
- Fast Facts: Is a National Sporting Clays Association Level I Instructor
- Quick Quotes: What I liked about this is that it is something girls do for a hobby or sport. It doesn’t take strength but good hand/eye coordination. The pay-off is the instant self-gratification the minute you break the target.