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My First Match


My 1st Match: From PR Girl to Pistol Shooter My name is Jessica De-

los Reyes and I’m the Media and PR Manager for USA Shooting. Many of you have seen me around the rang- es, snapping photos, tak- ing interviews, announcing matches, putting together this magazine. For


two years, I have immersed myself in the international shooting sports. I have be- come a devoted student of this art and I have learned

freaked. I didn’t touch a gun again until I came to USA Shooting. By my fourth day on the

job, however, I had Olympic athletes teaching me how to shoot an air rifl e and pistol – who gets that kind of oppor- tunity? I’ve been involved in sports for most of my life and never have I seen a sport where the elite athletes are so willing to share the keys to the kingdom (as my co-

more on training as an air pistol shooter. I had tried shooting an air rifl e – jacket and all – but I was too claus- trophobic for that. Air Pistol fi t more conveniently in my professional life – all I had to do was change my shoes, put a Post-It on my eyeglass- es (aka “instant blinder”) and make the 20-second commute to the range. My plan was simple: Shoot every day at lunch, do my

amazing volunteer – was kind enough to outfi t me with a pistol and offer his years of knowledge


so much from all of you and now, you can learn a little about me…for example… I had only shot a gun once

before I took this job. Once. Uno. That’s it. I’m

from Montana and grew up in a family where my fa- ther hunted, but only took me to the rifl e range once when I was a kid. During my one shot, I accidentally shot a bird on the berm in front of the target and kind of freaked. Okay, I really

workers would say) with their competitors. I have access to the Olympic Training Cen- ter range a mere 30 paces from my desk -

how could

I NOT learn how to shoot? I originally wanted to learn when I got here to really get a better understanding of the sport and what my ath- letes do day in and day out. I never could have dreamed how much I’d learn. About six months after I came on the job, I focused

42 USA Shooting News | March 2015

pistol-specifi c workout every day after work, compete in the Winter Airgun Champi- onships and don’t fi nish last. When I’d go shoot or dry

fi re during my lunch hour, I’d have National Team mem- bers and Olympians volun- tarily help me with my hold, my grip, to fi x my gun – what- ever. I’m this total beginner and they didn’t patronize or act like I’m a burden – they freely gave of their time and expertise. Bud Kucera – an

(Paralympic National Team member) Mike Tagliapietra coached me through the ba- sics; even running drills with me the week of competi- tion. Entering Winter Airgun, I took at least one piece of advice from each of them that I applied to my shooting – everyone was so helpful and too many to name, but for example, Nick Mowrer’s recommendations on mak- ing sure my grip was con- sistent, Teresa Chambers’ advice on how fi rm my grip should be, John Zurek’s tips on head positioning, just to name a few. None of their complete styles were right for me but they’ve all given me a piece of invaluable in- formation to help in my train- ing – even the non-pistol athletes. Trap shooter Collin Wietfeldt told me to always just take one shot at a time - don’t worry about the past or future ones – just take each shot at a time. Sounds easy enough, right? Then I’d be in a place where I’d start doing the math in my head of “Oh, if I just shoot [blank] points, I can make [blank] score” and I’d screw up those last few shots. [I’m a hockey goalie - I’m

too much of a head case for this sport! And I’m good at math…dang it…] So match day fi nally ar-

rived and boy it felt much sooner than I expected.

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