Category Archives: Kickin’ Back Quam Style

This Isn’t Your Ma’s Dinner Party!

Ok, this might not be the image you conjure in your mind when the word “camp” is mentioned….

Babes With Bullets Camp, Steamboat Springs, CO June 2012

What happened to dinner?!

  Steamboat Springs was host to another Babes With Bullets Camp,, last month.  Smith & Wesson,, is the primary sponsor of the camps as you can see by the camp loaner guns, which are M&P 9mms, provided by S&W, equipped with our HIVIZ sights. 


  The camp had 30 women in attendance, anywhere from 20 years old to their mid- 60s.  We had beginners who had never touched a gun just wanting to get started, to a few competitors wanting to hone their skills, and some with personal life experiences that brought them to camp wanting to learn more about safe gun handling.   As always, the “dream-team” of instructors were there!   IPSC style shooting was the focus, first day is simple gun handling, safety, holster use, etc. before the ladies are moved on to “Bill Drills”, transitioning between targets, and movement and timing on regular IPSC stages.

“Back to the line for you!”

  And no, this wasn’t a camper trying to sneak off the line.  Camp Director, Deb Ferns was getting a little encouragement /pat on the back for a job well done from Instructor Judy Wooley.  

Our “Princess” bullseye shooter for the day!

  Deb makes sure the ladies have fun during their instruction and of course there is a “Princess” Bullseye shooter title to be had for the lady with the tightest shot group.

With a view like this, who cares what the accommodations look like!

  Of course our accommodations were over the top here also, but with views like this who would have cared? 

  The camps are a great avenue for women wanting to get some intensive training from the elite shooters like Kay Miculek and Lisa Munson, and a host of other top shooting instructors on their team, with some quality equipment and accessories to learn on.

“Ma would be impressed!”

Shooting Intro for Youth: Keeping it Fun!

Target practice at the range

  Recently I finished a trade show in Harrisburg, PA and had some time to visit with nearby family.  This included a beautiful morning spent at the range with three generations of the family.  The youngest was my soon to be 11 year old niece, Bella.

  Bella has been going to the range with her dad off and on for the past four years.  She started out with a Cricket .22 single shot.  Last year I won another Ruger 10/22 at a match and changed out the stock with a Boyd laminate with the some snazzy purple coloring for her.  Bella was now upgraded to the ten shot magazine!  This girl is now putting 1 inch groups at 100 yards from the bench!  Her dad offered to take her for an evening at the sprint car races if she put the first shot in the bullseye….darned if she didn’t just edge it too!   Races it is! Next to safety, the point is to keep it fun for them!

Look at that concentration!

    After convincing me of her prowess with the 10/22, we brought out her little 32 revolver.  We went over safe loading and muzzle management from bench to shooting line.  You could tell this was not her first time at the range, but it still gave opportunities for giving little lessons on range terminology such as not “sweeping” any part of your body, muzzle down range, “going hot” etc.  I was impressed with her concentration.

A little itimidating…but willing to give it a try!

  We brought out the 20 GA Remington 870,, youth model for her next.    This is still a bit intimidating for her.  We made sure she had the light loads for the least recoil possible and set her up with dad to assist.  With some Shoot ‘n See targets she shot twice and peppered it!  Now the big grin was on.  Along with this I’ve been sending her the occasional DoAll,,  self-healing fun targets to shoot at.   She loves it and I will continue to encourage her whenever I have the opportunity. 

Sharing family time and enjoying a sport together is time cherished.

Aunt Chris and “Junior Chris” in training!

Steel Challenge Match

This May, I was finally able to take a breather from work travel and get on to shooting a few matches.  However out of practice I am, I still had a great time shooting.   Besides if I was afraid of how well I’d do, I’d never shoot and what fun is that?!  Pueblo West held a Steel Challenge match Memorial Day weekend. 

I entered to shoot two different guns.  Friday I shot .22 Open Rimfire Rifle class and Saturday I shot Limited class with my M&P 9mm with the HIVIZ sights.  Neither day did I threaten to knock anyone out of the top scoring spots!  The Steel Challenge, a speed steel shooting competition is governed by USPSA/SCSA,  The match consists of eight stages.  Each stage consists of five steel plates in different arrays, one of those being your stop plate.  Seven of the eight stages you shoot 5 strings and throw out your worst time.  The other four times are added for total time on that stage.  

Open Rimfire Rifle Class

With some good trigger control and practice I can get some pretty decent times.  Yes, I have my moments!  But…the key here is practice, practice, and more practice to be consistently good!  I’m working on that practice and consistency part….

I’ve been shooting this match off and on for the past five years and this year I was finally able to talk my shooting friend’s wife into joining us.  Deb’s husband fixed her up with an STI Steel Master, trigger job and finely tuned by our local STI guru.   She was a little aprehensive about competing, but we were all there to help, give advice and above all else, make sure she was safe.  Prior to competing we did have her out off and on the past 6 months or more for local shoots, so she wasn’t completely with out experience.  The format and rules she was unfamiliar with. 

Shooting like a pro!

 Deb did very well and is now more comfortable coming to the matches.  She has also signed up for the next Babes with Bullets camp in Steamboat Springs the end of June!  She’s hooked!  Like I said, don’t let your fear of failure or just the unfamiliar keep you from participating in the sport.  And for those that do already, get that woman who may be a little leery about the idea and encourage her!!!

Be safe, shoot straight, and have FUN!!!

Evolution of my “princess” …..

My "Girlie-Girl"

My daughter at 22 years old, came with me to her first Babes with Bullets Camp, We hopped in the truck with all my gear loaded and began our road trip north from Colorado through Wyoming and Montana, ending in Plains, MT, north western side of Montana and 14 hours drive for us from Fort Collins, CO.  I have my concealed carry permit and two ladies driving alone in no-mans land that far, I had the seat holster and my M&P 9mm between my knees.  I can only imagine my daughter thinking what did her mom get her into here!

My daughter has never shot nor really had much interest in going to the range to watch me shoot any of my competitions as of yet.  Somehow I talked her into signing up for the camp.  She was the “girlie-girl”in camp when we got there.

She had no idea before hand what to actually expect.  Keep in mind you have Kay Miculek and other top competitors teaching the camps.  We shoot 600+ rounds in two and a half days.  The first day about noon, my daughter tells me she is tired and thinks she’s had enough shooting for one day.  Oh no…dear, you aren’t close to being done with these ladies!

I see a little lip quivering and I’m thinking, please don’t cry in front of these women… Had it not been my daughter I would’ve been thinking, get your big girl panties on and get with the program already!  But this is my baby, and somehow she sucked it up and when it was all over, had a great time and has shot more since attending her first camp. It was a fantastic mother/daughter trip that neither one of us will ever forget.

This past year I went with her when she purchased her first firearm!  My princess has evolved!  From “girlie-girl”, which she still is….to purchasing her first firearm. What a journey for her, and it’s only beginning! 

Montana Babes With Bullets Camp

I am so proud of her and excited for her journey that lies ahead, not just in shooting sports, but all the opportunities for her to experience new adventures in life.  Don’t be afraid to reach beyond your comfort zone!

Making the Most of Trade Show Traveling

This is travel at it's best!

October 31st I packed and headed to Reno, NV for our NASGW Show.  This is the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers,  This is a much smaller venue than the SHOT Show in January but a very important show for the industy’s manufacturers.   This is the time to set appointments in your booth with your Distributors to present the 2012 pricing, programs, and get any new products set up in their listings.  SHOT Show is too late to make it to market for that year with most Distributors.  So, it looks to be a busy and packed few days while here.

I arrived into Reno at the Grand Sierra Resort about 9:30 PM and run into one of my buyers and several of our reps already.  Head up to the room to get settled in so I can get moving early tomorrow morning!  Booth set up is open at 8:00 AM.  HIVIZ has just a 10×10 booth here, so I don’t expect it to take too long.   I hit registration and booth selection for next year and then head over to tear into my crate.  After so many shows, I’ve perfected…or improved upon, my set-up.  By 10:30 I am finished.  My day is clear until the Industry Awards Dinner later that evening.

Dave Stanley: "Man-Hook" recipient!

Knowing this I had planned ahead and called Chad Belding with The Fowl Life TV, whom HIVIZ,, advertises with.  He and his brothers live in the Reno area.  I did not want to sit around in the casino killing time….and probably kissing my money good-bye.  So I asked Chad if he knew any Fly-fishing guides.  Just so happened he did.  He hooked me up with Dave Stanley at Truckee River Outfitters,  I booked a half day and Chad’s younger brother, Clay joined me.

Me and Clay Belding...holding HIS fish!

I had only fly-fished once before, so there was some “re-training” involved for me!  Drop flys, wet flys……and all that other fly fishing techy jargon doesn’t mean much to me yet, but I’m learning!  The weather is a little chilly and the wind is picking up.  I cast and haven’t hooked any trees yet.  That is a plus for me.  I’m getting lots of good stories and getting to know Dave and Clay a little better.  I’m a bit of a story teller myself, so we’re yuckin’ it up quite a bit.  I see a huge brown trout jump out of the water just after my fly passes that spot – WOW, he was huge! Of course the dumb thing missed my fly, don’t know how that happened.  He’s actually really dumb or really smart…I’m thinking it was the latter though.

Dave changes the fly and rod on me.  A little different casting style on this one.  Roll casting?  My first cast was beautiful; second cast stank worse than the fish!  After what Dave termed “breaking my wrist” on the second roll cast, he decided to call my first cast good and leave it at that.  He explained we were using barbless hooks.  I don’t know about barbless, but on one of my attempts at the second roll cast I hooked Dave’s cap – ooops…he didn’t tell me I had the “man-hook” on my rod!  At least I didn’t get any flesh…thank goodness.   After freeing himself, he moves a safe distance from me.  I’m a little paranoid now and I turn and look over my shoulder during the cast to see Dave standing there with his face guard…whatever you call it…pulled up over his nose!  Gee, there goes my confidence!  The guide is nervous!  I can see him laughing in his eyes.  I thought the “man-hook” comment was funny….guess it didn’t feel the same on the receiving end.

24" Rainbow!

Now doesn’t this beat sitting in the casino all afternoon?!

This is my way to spend free time at a trade show!

Zip Lining! – Check One Off the Bucket List!

Me coming across the zip line!

Historic Banning Mills in Whitestown, GA is where I experienced zip lining for the first time! 

  I was recently traveling for work and had a free morning.  I thought what am I going to do traveling alone…  I did not want to sit around in a hotel room and I was unfamiliar with what might be in the area.  After I had my booth set at the event in Douglasville, GA, I drove back to my hotel and changed, getting ready to walk to a nearby restaurant for a light lunch.  The brochure stand in the hotel caught my eye and I saw Zip Lining Adventures!  Wahoo!!! This was an item on my “list” and as it turned out it was only about 30 minutes drive from where I was staying.  Perfect! 
  I called and booked one of their zip line adventures for the next morning.  It was about 4 hours worth.  Having never done this before I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  After all, the brochure bragged about the “Sreamin’ Eagle” and “Big Daddy” zip lines, achieving speeds of up to 60 mph!   AHH! 
  When I arrived they put me with a group of about seven people.  A large group of Army personnel were also there doing some team building exercises.  They looked tough and now I’m wondering if I may be in over my head! 
  You go through a brief instruction and safety course…how to brake when you are flailing and flying like a madman

Jumping off tower!

before you body slam into the guide at the other end!  Just kidding…it was quite controlled and I lived through it all!

  Anyways, we climb up the first tower and I thought, I’ll hang back and observe this entire operation while someone else takes the initial plunge.  The guide turns to me and announces “You’re first!”  Wait, how did this happen?  This is definitely not to plan here.   He hooks me up and give me the “Jump” command.  I had a small audience and I didn’t want to show any fear in front of these guys….  I took a deep breath and  jumped.  Hey, this is kind of cool… and not nearly as scary as I thought!
  We traversed from zip line to zip line for several hours, including crossing a few sky bridges.
Until the end where we raced parallel with another zip line…carreening at 50 mph…tuck and lean back as best you can to get the best speed.  What an exhilarating experience! 
Coming in for a landing!

Don’t be afraid to try things that may be outside your comfort zone.  …or to go it alone.  I met some wonderful and interesting people in the group I was with.  You may just find out things aren’t nearly as frightening as you thought.  YOU CAN DO IT!

“Stop and Smell the Moose!” – Hiking Across the Continental Divide

Hiking the Continental Divide
  The first time I came to Colorado was with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) in 1981 as a volunteer on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a three month position at the Kawanechee Visitor’s Center just above Grand Lake. I arrived by bus in Granby and my supervisor transported me up to the housing area by the Visitor Center. Having no car I hiked everywhere, which included in to town at least once a week for the few groceries I could afford with my meager subsistence allowance provided by SCA.  I saw elk for the first time.  I stepped out one evening behind my government housing trailer and walked through the lodgepole pine forest to the edge of the meadow below the Never Summer Range. I was awe-struck at the sight!  There must have been 200 plus elk in the herd.  This was amazing. I remember humming birds dive bombing me on my hikes.  They were everywhere! I remember seeing a golden mantled ground squirrel for the first time thinking, “Wow, that is the hugest chipmunk I have ever seen!”  I hiked up Specimen Mountain where I saw my first Big Horn sheep. It’s a killer mile almost straight up from where the Continental Divide crosses the road to get above tree line.  A lot of firsts that summer…and a lot to learn.
  Rocky Mountain National Park is just about 25 miles from Fort Collins…..practically in my backyard!   This past weekend I hiked from Bear Lake, on the east side of the Divide, to Grand Lake, on the west side of the Divide.    
Wildflowers on the Western Slope
  The western slope receives a lot more moisture than the eastern side.  It was still covered in wildflowers!  A slice of heaven….
  I had been talking about doing this hike for over ten years now and figured since I turn 50 this year what better way to celebrate life!  By mile 13 or so my near 50 year old feet were feeling every mile of it.  I still had at least 4 miles to go to make it out…now my hips were feeling the miles too!  Nothing like dangling my feet in the icy stream to revive my achy feet and renew my spirits!
Cooling My Heels!
  But what a beautiful hike!  The summit of Flattop Mountain you see on the first picture was 12,324 ft. and I was still smiling! Making my way down the western slope through many switchbacks, I escaped the thunderheads and lightening that were fast approaching. I made it below treeline once again and hiked past the storm.  Wahoo! 
  Along the way I saw numerous pika, marmots, elk, mule deer, and just when I was about a mile from reaching the trailhead we had a little moose standoff on the trail!
You Want a Piece of This?!
  Immediately achy feet and hips were forgotten!  There was not one, but three moose:  bull, cow and calf all within ten feet of either side of the trail.  How magnificent!!  I kept a respectable distance.  They had no intention of moving on anytime soon. 
Well…ok….I guess I can do a little off-trail detouring.  Wise decision.   
  The older I get, the busier I seem to be.  This hike was a good little life check.  
Sometimes you need to stop and smell the roses….or in my case it was “Stop and Smell the Moose!”
Roses….Moose…. I’ll take it!