At first glance, she looks like … oh, let’s see … a classy book author (probably a president’s biography) or the librarian at a large university. Intelligence and quiet intensity combine to make I-squared, aka Carol Smeltzer. We like her can-do attitude and also her reasons for shooting, for hunting, for taking life by the doggone horns and shaking it up a bit. In other words … she’s a Type (Way) A about the outdoors.
I am the Promotional Programs Manager for BLACKHAWK!. BLACKHAWK! manufactures tactical gear for law enforcement and military, offers a clothing line, an outdoor line and a fire/EMS line of products. My duties include managing our Show Room, handling the Custom Logo Embroidery Program, acting as liaison for NRA’s programs, and assisting in the planning and coordination of events such as Bloggers Conferences and Writers Conferences. I also attend trade shows as needed.
I have always loved being outdoors! Some of my earliest childhood memories include going for walks with my mother through the woods in Virginia and picking wild strawberries, and hiking the mountains of Pennsylvania and picking absolutely huge blueberries. Of course, I carried half of them home in my stomach! I love the mountains, the oceans, the deserts – all of it.
I started shooting in my mid-30s to get over a fear of guns. I chose shotgun. (Why not go big!) The result was a national record in American Handicap Trap in my second year of shooting (most yards won by a woman in one year – 6.5 yards), three ATA All American Team honors, and runner-up two years in a row at the Grand American Ladies Champion of Champions race with 99×100.
After just five years of shooting ATA, I switched to Olympic Trap (also called bunker trap). In my first year I shot a “cut score” which qualified me to shoot at U.S. Team tryouts. My score there put me in first place among the ladies, with a record score. I served on the U.S. Shooting Team for two (non-Olympic) years and was a member of the Bronze Medal Ladies Team for Olympic Doubles Trap at the World Moving Targets Championships in Moscow, Russia.
Back problems put me out of shotgun competition, so I dabbled a bit with pistol (IDPA) and became an NRA Certified Instructor in the pistol and in shotgun. I put about 500 people through the state-required course to qualify for a concealed carry permit.
Although no longer a competitive shooter, I thoroughly enjoy teaching women the wonderful sport of clay target shooting. I do both individual and group lessons, including Women on Target classes. I was honored to be asked by the NRA to attend their initial Women’s Wilderness Escape at the Whittington Center in 2008. I assisted in teaching the ladies the absolute thrill of breaking clay targets, and was invited back in 2009 and am also scheduled for 2010.
While at WWE, I was privileged to meet Lisa Metheny, an avid archer and hunter. I totally admired her ability to hunt and to maintain absolute respect for her game animals at the same time. After considerable thought, I decided that I, too, would like to try a hunt. Although I felt it went against my love of animals, I understood the all good reasons for hunting and the fact that the meat is clean, totally organic, and fresh.
In December 2008 I returned to the Whittington Center for a cow elk hunt. (Why not go big!) Of course, I was using a BLACKHAWK! Knoxx Stock on my rifle and wearing BLACKHAWK! clothing. I was fortunate to get a good, solid hit, and my cow went down quickly. Whew! And I didn’t even faint, throw up, or cry! Toward the end of 2009, my husband looked in the freezer and said, “Honey, we’re getting low on elk meat. You’d better schedule another hunt.” Being an obedient wife, I complied with his wishes. Again, a good solid hit on a cow who quickly succumbed to my bullet. 231 yards. OK, I’m hooked. My good friend Lisa and I are talking about a bison hunt, and maybe even moose. Not so bad for a granny who got a late start on a new sport!