Something that comes up quite a bit when I’m being interviewed or just meeting people in person is this question: how do you balance your shooting and music careers?
Sponsored by Volquartsen Firearms
First off, I’ve been playing music since I was 4 years old. It’s just a part of who I am and I’ll be doing it the rest of my life. I played Suzuki violin from about 4 to 8 years old, then I started to transition to Bluegrass. That’s where I found pure joy and happiness. I love the way Bluegrass crowds get into the music and hoot and holler. It’s AWESOME!!! Don’t get me wrong, Suzuki was a lot of fun and taught me a lot about technique, and it also taught me hard work. My Suzuki instructor was an amazing lady, but she wouldn’t stand for mediocre playing. She taught hard work by challenging me to be my best. She had a dice that I would roll after each lesson and whatever number the dice showed was how many times I had to practice something. The dice had a side with 1000 on it. Imagine that, practicing vibrato technique 1000 times in a week. How about playing a song that many times in a week? I loved it. I would wear out bows from playing so much. She knew that I was self-driven and wanted to succeed. That’s a big part of how I’m able to balance my life today. I learned at a young age not to let opportunities pass me by.
I started shooting competitively when I was 12 or 13 years old. By that time, I had been in my own Bluegrass band for a couple years, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Shooting started out to blow off steam and relax. I’ve been fortunate beyond my wildest dreams with opportunities in shooting that most people will never get. There’s pressure to that, but not from the companies I work for, but from myself.
Volquartsen Firearms was my first “big sponsor.” Scott Volquartsen, like all my sponsors, appreciates that I have other interests than shooting. I think companies see a multifaceted person as possibly more interesting. My shooting and music career go hand in hand, and each benefits from the other. Shooters have purchased a lot of my band’s CDs, and I know for a fact that some people that I know through Bluegrass have purchased guns and accessories from my sponsors. It’s a great relationship.
Like I stated at the beginning of this story, I’ve been playing since I was 4. I’ve just grown up having to balance music, shooting, school and friendships. All my friends think it’s cool that I shoot or sing. Again, it seems self balancing. With the popularity in social media, I have had to add that to my balancing act. It’s not that hard to do social media, but coming up with quality social media content can sometimes be a daunting task. Again, I love every minute of it and fortunately, I have family who is super supportive. I’ve dragged my dad out of the house more times than I could ever count to get a photo of this or that. My parents and grandparents help me all the time. I’ve started to try and do less posts of better content, such as videos.
A lot of people asked if I’m forced by my parents to do the stuff I do. Well, the answer is, “No!” I need to be nudged from time to time (remember I’m 17), but I don’t see how you could force a kid to do what I do. Sure, I get tired or burned out from time to time, but I think that’s normal for anyone. I have things I must do everyday. Most of it involves music or shooting. I’m homeschooled and that helps with having time to do all the stuff I do. I recently started taking college courses at night. In fact, I’m the youngest student in the system. Why do I do it? Because I love a challenge.
OK, so I’ve written quite a bit about the fun I get to have. Let’s talk about how I balance it.
I have a day planner!!!
My advice to anyone would be to get a planner and write down everything you need or want to do each day. Include time to do nothing. For me, some weekends are for shooting and some for music. Most people wouldn’t realize that it takes about 6 months of practice to find songs. Learn them, play them to perfection and record a CD. That’s a lot of time! Throw in a match here and there, a tradeshow or 2 and then some free time. It can be done.
My main forms of busy time are: 1) School 2) Music 3) Shooting 4) Gym-swole is the goal 5) Friends. Oh, I like to fish, too!
Balancing all of this can seem tough, but with attention to detail, you can accomplish a lot. Writing everything down has been a huge help to me, and surrounding myself with family and friends that understand what I do is super important as well.
I want to be the best at whatever I do and I know I have a long way to go, but I just keep chipping away at it.
I hope this helps you, because I have used my 1 hour of free time today to write it. Just kidding! I love writing and sharing stories with you! Have a great day!
Cheyenne Dalton is an up-and-coming junior competition in 3-gun, USPSA, and Rimfire challenge. She writes a column about her shooting experiences, sponsored by Voquartsen Firearms. She's been competing for 4 years and has won state titles, along with the Limited Ladies Rimfire World championship 2 times (2014 & 2016). When she's not at the range, she is traveling with her Bluegrass band, "That Dalton Gang," where she plays mandolin and violin, along with singing lead vocals. Her future plans include lots of shooting and continuing her education with a focus on being a pharmacist. She lives on a family farm in Missouri. View all posts by Cheyenne Dalton