This year has brought me more experiences than any year before now. It brought gifts in the forms of people and experiences, with lessons guiding me to a new place in my mind: a very excellent place. It didn’t come through necessarily winning or even accomplishing excellence through the experiences, but came through the acts themselves, along with challenges and adventures.
Adventure 1: SHOT Show
SHOT is the biggest shooting/hunting/outdoors trade show in the world. I met more people during 4 days then I have for the rest of the year, and possibly my life. Some people who didn’t shoot asked me why “a 12-year old,” such as I, would want to shoot. That opening gave me the opportunity to explain what I do – which is more than run-and-gun. I often explained the safety and responsibility that is involved with gun ownership. Then there was the other side, you know, the business side of the industry, something I’m not as commonly exposed to. I saw it in full swing and boy, what lessons I learned. The SHOT Show being a trade show is closed to the public, so everyone there had a reason for being there, more than just checking stuff out. It is high energy, type Way A, on steroids.
Adventure 2 (and then some): Competitions
Of course, I can’t talk about 2013 without mentioning shooting competitions. From ICORE Regionals to the World Championship Steel Challenge, there have been a lot of shooting matches this year. I’m already getting back into the swing of things for the Bianchi Cup and NRA World Action Pistol Championship. I qualified in both divisions for Juniors’ and Women’s teams. This next year, I’ll be working to beat my old score, and hopefully placing in the Women’s Production category, like I did in 2013. At the International Revolver Championship, I placed top Limited Junior and Second Limited Lady. I witnessed another fantastic experience at the World Championship Steel Challenge. With my teammates Elliot and Annette Asyan we placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Limited Revolver category. This match will go down in my memory book as one of the greatest. I also remember how the rain came down as steam, but it didn’t dampen our parade.
Adventure 3: Veterans
Volunteering with veterans has been an opportunity to extend kindness and see firsthand how my small efforts can mean so much. I cannot say enough about the outstanding organization Honored American Veterans Afield (HAVA). This non-profit organization raises money for disabled veterans to have fun, through family activities that reacquaint them with civilian life. I spent time in Tennessee last fall during a HAVA Family Range Day, where I helped encourage the soldiers in the activities as well as instruct an action shooting class with Kay Miculek and Allie Barrett, tailored for the wives and daughters of the veterans. Seeing the families having so much fun meant the world to me; however, seeing the veterans and their attitudes – even though many of them sat in wheelchairs for the event – impressed me greatly. They laughed and had fun, and I found them to be some of the most well grounded and contented people I’ve ever met. It inspired me.
Adventure 4: AgSafe
I will not forget AgSafe either. If you missed my column on it, to summarize, it’s a fundraising match for that promotes safety in the agricultural industry. My second year at participating, it is an event I intend on returning to again and again.
Adventure 5: ‘Guns and Ladies’
This one is near and dear to my heart: working with Guns and Ladies! Also known as GALs, Guns and Ladies holds seminars educating women in firearm safety and provides a fun and safe environment where women teach women the basics (and some advanced moves) in practical shooting.
Adventure 6: TBD
This time next year, I’ll be finishing up finals – at a university. I’m applying to a several schools, and I won’t know until April where I’ll actually be attending. But before I end up at college, I have a few last things to do in high school – prom, graduation, winning the International Revolver Championship, and perhaps growing a few inches taller. (Well, maybe I should not hold out my hopes for the last plan.) My next stop after Winter Break is SHOT Show, then I’ll be back in the courtroom at the Mock Trial at school, then on to the ICORE Southwest Regional and the NRA World Action Pistol Championship. These events fall into the first part of 2014. Even though I suspect it will be hard to top the stellar year that 2013 gave me, I’m optimistic that 204 will be even better.
Follow Molly’s adventures at her most-excellent blog, The Molly Minute.
California teen shooter Molly Smith shoots for Team Smith & Wesson, and prefers a 627 Smith & Wesson iron-sighted revolver. She attends several matches each year, and loves to write about them at her column, "Millisecond Molly." View all posts by Molly Smith