Shoot, I Could Do That!
The Sun-Cypress
Valerie Clifton
Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Barbara Garney began hunting as a sport 20 years ago. She now actively participates in women shooting clubs and has been the recipient of several awards and trophies for her involvement in sporting clays shooting. PHOTO by Valerie Clifton/The Sun

Wearing a pink Polo shirt, white pants and a flowered visor, Cypress resident Barbara Garney looks like she’s ready to shout “four” any second.

But the purple bag with her name embroidered on it doesn’t hold any clubs, and the game that she is playing is not golf.

Garney is a trophy-winning competitive clay shooter.  She hunts too.

She became interested in hunting through her second husband, an avid outdoorsman, so interested that when offered the choice between diamond earrings and a shotgun for a wedding gift, she chose the latter.

Garney began hunting 20 years ago, but the couple quit active participation in the sport because of rising costs.  Having dabbled in sporting clays, she turned to what she calls “a game of inconsistency.”

Outdoor sporting companies and gun manufacturers are designing products specifically for women such as smaller guns and lighter ammunition. Clothing lines for women hunters are also becoming increasingly available. PHOTO by Valerie Clifton/The Sun

She began practicing at the American Shooting Center next to George Bush Park, often alone.

“I started coming up here by myself, not knowing anybody, and had the courage to come into a man’s sport.” Garney said.

Now Garney’s goal is to encourage other women to do the same.

She joined the Women’s Recreational Shooting Association, a group of women who shoot for leisure, and three years ago was certified by the National Sporting Clay Association, for who she acted as a referee.

Garney also goes on all-women hunts for turkey, pig, dove, and deer in south Texas and serves as the chair of an annual WRCA event that benefits Be An Angel Fund.

“I have learned over the years that the best way to get women involved in this game is for them to learn from another woman,” Garney said of the tendency of male intimidation turning women off to the sport.  “A woman can do it as easily as a man.”

Outdoor sporting companies are designing clothing lines and equipment specifically for women.  Gun manufacturers are developing smaller guns and lighter ammunition for women recreational shooters.  And American Shooting Centers is experiencing increased interest in target shooting and firearm instruction among women.

She believes that the rising interest among women can be attributed in part to cultural shifts and a few women leading the way for others in a sport that traditionally has been reserved for men.

American Shooting Centers, where Garney practices twice a month, is experiencing increased interest in target shooting and firearm instruction among women. PHOTO by Valerie Clifton/The Sun

A week and a half ago, Garney made her mark in her class of the National Sporting Clays Association by winning trophies for the 20-gauge and the main event, for which she received prize money.

President and COO at American Shooting Centers Mo Parsons, a master shooter and instructor, is an international renowned course designer for sporting clays tournaments

“He’s very woman friendly and supports us and encourages us,” Garney said.  “It’s important that someone of his caliber supports us.”

 

INFORMATION:  Barbara Garney invites women interested in learning more about sporting clays to call her at 281-851-2671.