I caught a newspaper article with the headline, “Woman Kicker Vies for Penn State Job.”

The article announced that, “Stephanie Weimer … will try out with other [football] walk-ons.” Ms. Weimer was a skilled and experienced soccer player, with her claim to fame being a 36-yard field goal. If she makes the team as a kicker she will be the first woman to make Penn State’s football team.

The very next day I heard a radio interview with racing legend Buddy Baker. In discussing the future of stock car racing he commented that the sport is gender neutral but few women race. He went on to say that the first woman to get with a winning team in NASCAR can write her own ticket.

Why am I telling you this and what does it have to do with shooting?

Nancy Thomkins-Gallagher took the High Power championship at Camp Perry in 1998. Her daughter has taken the Wimbledon cup a number of times. I know of more than one match that no longer offers a trophy for “High Woman” because female shottists take the whole match so often. The trophy is now reserved for the top shooter who is the opposite gender of the HoA champion. Should a male manage to win overall, then it goes to the top shooting woman, and vice versa.

This situation is hardly a recent development. Even in the days when girls were largely discouraged from playing sports women have been winning major shooting tournaments. For example, Gertrude Backstrom, not content with being a multiple High Woman champion in Conventional Pistol, took the whole thing among the civilian shooters in 1957.

How about Margaret Murdoch, a Silver medallist in 3 Position at the 1976 Olympics (the was before the IOC stupidly segregated the genders in shooting.) She barely lost to Lanny Bassham, then World Champion and Silver medallist in 1972, by 1 point after in a 2400-point event. These are a few prominent examples. There were and are countless others.

So reading about how “enlightened” Penn State is for considering a female player for the first time in the 21st Century made me chuckle. A couple decades behind the power curve, bozo. What’s more, she hasn’t been
accepted on the team; she has just been granted the opportunity to try out. Auto racing is better, with several female IRL drivers for example, but NASCAR has yet to catch up.

But, then again, maybe we are the real clowns. Penn State and Baker are savvy enough to make it known to the general public that they are slowly but surely smashing their glass ceilings. We shooters never really had
one, but never bothered to tell anyone about this fact.
Most shooting and hunting organizations give the notion of promoting our activity to women a bit of lip service. They possess the demographics showing women are largely not participaing, and the psychographics telling them that attitudes show they would *if* asked and promoted properly.

The “promoted properly” is the falling down point. When more than 94 percent of card-carrying members of the NRA (men and women) don’t participate in and are largely ignorant of NRA-sponsored shooting events, why should we be surprised that the public at large is ignorant as well?

Advertisements