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, www.babeswithbullets.com, last month. Smith & Wesson, www.smith-wesson.com, 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.
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, www.steelchallenge.com. 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.
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.
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!!!
I just put down a deposit on my first guided elk hunt for this fall! I am so excited. Bison, black bear, and now my third hunt EVER…bull elk in Colorado. Bit by bit I’ve been acquiring hunting gear, as I was starting from scratch not long ago. Must haves first, my Remington 700, 30-06 rifle and Luepold scope. Nice rifle sling, range finder, and some Primos Trigger sticks, www.primos.com.
The first hunt I was fortunate enough to be at the Prois, www.proishunting.com, shop in Gunnison during a WOMA Retreat, www.thewoma.com, nearby and picked up some fantastic women’s RealTree camo pants and jacket. Great fit and feel. They did it right!
The second trip for bear, as it was being filmed by TNT Outdoor Explosion, www.tntoutdoorexplosion.com, and their other sponsor was Mossy Oak, I was now scrambling to find some Mossy Oak pattern clothing to wear. This entailed a little more searching on the internet as just about every major outdoor retailer carries Mossy Oak patterns, not as many carry women’s sizes. I thought maybe I can settle for a men’s small. Well, the smallest they carried was a men’s medium! I finally found some at Russell Outdoors that still carried Women’s Mossy Oak …and one of those items was now discontinued. I did find pants and jacket in my size, but it wasn’t my first choice at the time.
Now as I am preparing for my fall elk hunt, I need the blaze orange vest and hat. Hat no problem…vest is another story. I know I don’t need to be fashionable out there, but the first couple outdoor retailers I visited had 3XL and 2XL. Really? I finally found a men’s medium…again the smallest they had out. Took it home and it was huge even over my heavy camo jacket. Three retailer visits later, I ended up returning the vest. This running all over shopping is making me tired…I’m thinking I’m going to have to train hard this summer if I’m ever going to keep up on an elk hunt now! In my searching I came across one lone ladies vest. Nice but $160 was not getting me too excited here. Now my physical ailments have just been compounded with a headache! This vest hunt will continue at a later date I’m afraid.
Last week I returned from the NBS show in Fort Worth. While there I came across another vendor, Kenetrek Boots, www.kenetrek.com. They had some fantastic insulated women’s hunting boots. I had boots already, but not good quality insulated boots. I know if I’m going to enjoy my hunt, warmth is a big plus in my world! I spent a little time in their booth. He measured my foot and let me try on a pair. I’m sold! I was able to purchase my boots the following week and have had them out twice so far. Very comfortable. He suggested I put about 30 miles on them before the actual hunt to break them in. Plenty of bike trails close to the house and as the temps warm up a bit, I can hit the trails in the foothills by Fort Collins. I’m determined to be in shape and have comfortable boots!
Gloves: I have some “youth” hunting mitten/gloves that aren’t too warm. I found plenty of men’s huge gloves….which is ok if I don’t have to actually handle a rifle or use the reins on the horse I’ll be riding in on for the hunt….gee two things that may be slightly critical. I did come across another vendor, Manzella www.manzella.com. At the end of the show when I had a little time to look around, I stopped in his booth and noticed he had only men’s large sizes in his booth. I spoke with him a few moments and shared my plans for this fall. He remembered and at the next trade show he brought over 2 pair of women’s gloves for me to try! Outstanding! My fingers actually fill in the gloves! I can be functional with these. Such a little thing, but it means a lot to have fit and functionality for hunting.
While I am piecing together my clothing, the outfitter sent a checklist: minimum 0 degree sleeping bag. I thinking if he is suggesting 0 degree bag for his usual big burly hunters, -30 degree bag is going to be my minimum to stay warm at night! I found one online at MidwayUSA, www.midwayusa.com. It delivered this past week and my gosh, am I glad horses are packing us in! This is huge! Definitely not your backpacking size bag; very toasty though! Along with this, I am taking an insulated foam pad to put beneath the bag on the cot. This will keep the cold air from permeating through.
I have one more item to get, a good hunting pack. I have my eye on a Badlands pack model 2200. It has the hydration pack available and the gun pouch for the butt of your rifle when strapping it to your pack.
I’m more fortunate than the average person. Working the trade shows in the industry, I am able to at least see what is available for women. Granted it is still somewhat limited, but the women’s market is definitely growing. Don’t give up and settle for the men’s clothing that doesn’t fit! A little time researching and you will find what works best for you. Really, it has to be better than the men’s 2XL and 3XL’s adorning all the local retailers racks!
As a general rule when choosing your booth space at a trade show, you and your direct competitors don’t normally want to be in adjoining booths or directly across the aisle from one another. Not that there are any big industrial secrets going down or spying across the dividing booth curtains. It’s just not the optimal placement for you, period.
When arriving to set up my booth at a show last month while unpacking I chatted with the adjoining booth person setting his own. I had all my work done in a few hours and had the product out etc. No secret that HIVIZ was occupying the booth here. The neighbor hadn’t had his product pulled out and I hadn’t really paid close attention while setting up if there were any company signs up.
I’m off for a free afternoon of fly-fishing…that’s what is on my mind. After a beautiful full and relaxing day, I’m ready to call it a night and get up early for the show opening the next morning. I rise early and head down the elevators to grab a coffee and yogurt and head over to the show. I get to my booth and darned if a direct competitor, although new to the market, isn’t the one that was setting up beside me the day before. I looked at him and said, “how the heck did this happen?” I joked a little and told him I had already picked my booth space for next year, so make sure he checks out where I’m at…and NOT go there for 2012. In fact one of the owners was a former pro staff member for us …interesting. I knew him when I first started with HIVIZ 12 years ago, although he probably didn’t know me then. Well ….shoot….this is going to be interesting. Like I said, no big industrial secret stuff going down but this is the show where I have all my distributor appointments set with buyers, laying out our 2012 programs and pricing. Now I feel like I have big ears close by. I’m sure the same thoughts may have crossed his mind too. What the heck, we are all in the same business here trying to eek out a living. Right?
I introduced myself and told him I knew of him from his HIVIZ affiliated days way back when. Friendly enough…we chatted off and on through out the show over the next few days. You have to keep in mind people move around in this industry. Treat your competition with respect…you don’t have to divulge all your companies dealings of course. But you just never know what company that person may turn up in down the road. I’ve seen people be spiteful and cutthroat only to have it come back and bite them in the butt. We’ve dealt with customers that have moved around in the industry, one that has gone from S&W to Remington, to Mossberg now. Another that went from Smith to Ruger. Anyway, you get the idea. Respect….it’s a reflection not only on you but on your company.
I’m not naive in business, but you don’t necessarily have to be real cutthroat and nasty out there to be successful. And word does travel if you deal dirty…I’ve had my own impressions of a few, well actually one that doesn’t deal so nicely, and I thought it was just my impression, but talk in the industry tells me I wasn’t far off the mark. So, again, treat your competition with respect.
I’ll admit, the thoughts did cross my devious mind while the competitor next door had customers come by. I thought of cranking the volume on my Fowl Life TV video to distract them! Just picture it, he’s trying to show them sights and geese are honking, shots are ringing left an right….birds are dropping, people are stopping in the aisle to watch this video…”oh, I’m sorry were you trying to have a meeting over there?” Ha! My fleeting thoughts at some psychological warfare…
Honestly though, I really enjoyed getting to know this new competitor. Yes…we are all here in the same business…let’s enjoy a little healthy competition..afterall, isn’t that what brings out the best in our market!?
October 31st I packed and headed to Reno, NV for our NASGW Show. This is the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers, www.nasgw.org. 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.
Knowing this I had planned ahead and called Chad Belding with The Fowl Life TV, whom HIVIZ, www.hivizsights.com, 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, www.truckeeriveroutfitters.com. I booked a half day and Chad’s younger brother, Clay joined me.
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.
Now doesn’t this beat sitting in the casino all afternoon?!
This is my way to spend free time at a trade show!
Yes, apparently in more ways than I had thought before, most of which are in a positive way…..
Lepracy. I have been to seminars with various industries in attendance. Lunch is always interesting as most people begin introducing themselves and what type of business you’re in etc. Comes around to me and tell them I work for HIVIZ Shooting Systems and we manufacture gun sights. Well, I think I must have been sitting with a more liberal crowd that day. There was a “the OMG look” and they quickly turned their conversations amongst themselves and no one spoke to me the rest of lunch. So now I’m in “sporting goods”….yeah, that’s it. Much more palatable for lunch conversations I guess. Gee, now that I feel like the Lepper…
It’s kind of like wearing one of your shooting T-shirts through the airport when traveling. People tend to leave you alone. Works well on the airplane too! I travel a lot and there are moments where I see this as a benefit. This one below seems to work quite well.
Steel Challenge match in Pueblo, CO
Coolest Mom. In contrast all of my daughter’s friends and the entire store where she works think I am the coolest mom ever only because they don’t know any women that work and do what I do. I get first class service when I shop there. Like Molly Shannon, I too am a “Super Star”!…. (at least while at that grocery store).
Coolest Sister. Growing up in Pennsylvania, just about everyone hunts…out of the male population that is. My younger brother does a lot of hunting all over. He tells his friend stories about where I work or shoots I’ve been to and they say, “Your SISTER?!” Not so common in Pennsylvania for women, but apparently my brother and his friends are impressed. I think they just need to get out more!
Car Shopping. A few months back I decided my old Pathfinder was beginning to cost me almost as much in repairs as I could be putting into car payments for a new vehicle. I never had a brand new vehicle before and I really despise car shopping. I was referred to an “auto broker”. I didn’t even have to set foot on a car lot. I was liking this idea! I already knew approximately what make and model I was looking for and had my desired price range.
I set up an appointment and met the auto broker in his office downtown across from Colorado State University and upstairs above a little cafe. Very quaint; I was early and drawn into the cafe to kill a few minutes. Later I’m in his office and give him all my parameters. I’d like to get a Toyota 4Runner. Of course he tries to up sell me on one with all the bells and whistles on …too much. Half of those bells and whistles I can live without. Okay, he tries to talk me into a smaller model vehicle. I’m sticking to the 4Runner. He keeps steering me to smaller models. Finally I blurt out, “Look, the rear cargo area has to be wide enough to fit my shotguns and gear.” It got very silent and I wish you would’ve seen the look I got in return! Priceless!
Remodeling. This is still new for me as I’ve only been twice so far. The bear wall/rug mount I am having done I’m wondering where am I going to put this when it’s done about six months from now. My front livingroom has a few pieces of antique furniture and wood floors. Kind of a quiet area and scary bear mounts don’t quite mesh there. The back livingroom is more my “Colorado Lodge” type room…or at least it’s going to be. Big brown leather furniture, fireplace, TV, etc. in there now. I see a wall but I’ll have to move furniture around… Now I’m envisioning some remodel work here! The house is about 25 years old and the fireplace looks very dated. The carpet we were waiting to replace when our aging dog passes…(sorry, I know that sounds cold)… So what started out as “yes, let’s get a mount done with the bear hide” turned into a renovation project to have the perfect place for displaying it. To date, the old fireplace was partially torn out, new stonework, mantle, lighting and a wood burning insert installed. I tore out the carpet and tack strips this past weekend. Ordered hardwood flooring to install in another week. Painted the walls and scrapped and textured the ceiling ready for painting next. Of course now I have two oak cabinets I need to stain to match the cherry wood on the mantle and the flooring coming in. Almost done! All this for a place to put that bear! Well, kind of…it certainly was a motivator and it will look very nice in my “Colorado Lodge” living room. Now I’m eyeballing a corner where I can mount an elk. I don’t even have that trip booked yet!!
See what this has done to my life!…and I thouroughly enjoy it…even if it is occasionally shocking a few liberals….
Last year we partnered with Banded Productions in the advertising HIVIZ on Chad Belding’s The Fowl Life, www.thefowllife.com, and Dead Dog Walkin’ shows that air on the Sportsman Channel.
It is important to be able to find your barrel, cover your target, and have confidence in every squeeze of your trigger. This is why Chad uses HIVIZ Sights day in and day out. Whether it is a blue bird sky, overcast with a low ceiling, or shooting in the dark woods, Chad knows that he can find his target with the use of HIVIZ, www.hivizsights.com.
Chad is from Reno, Nevada, raised in a country family filled with love and support. He grew up with a true interest in athletics and outdoors and following his dad around the Nevada Mountains. His craving for hunting and the outdoors only grew more intense from then on leading to his mission statement that I think says it all:
” Passion is our fuel. This fuel must be directed and focused. Those who channel their passion will reach achievement in contrast to those who wait for the world to come to them. We are put here to be the best we can be – we know this. We are the American hunter, and our fuel comes from our pursuits, our experiences and our lifestyle. We are the foundation on which our country was built. We never take nature for granted. We know we are blessed – we are not entitled. We will live each day to the fullest never forgetting to express our love to family, friends and the great outdoors. This is our story. This is our passion!”
Each week, they chase waterfowl and predators in Canada, Mexico, and all over the United States. The Fowl Life brings great puddle duck, diver duck, goose, and predator action that will have you wanting the season to begin tomorrow. Chad Belding is joined by Team Maniac members as well as other friends each week as they run the roads and follow their dreams. They hunt hard, stay safe, respect the animals, and share their lifestyles week in and week out.
HIVIZ is proud to be sponsors of The Fowl Life. We admire Chad’s energy and love his passion! I encourage you to tune in to The Fowl Life and Dead Dog Walkin’ shows on the Sportsman Channel.