When it came time to pick the next WoD lady, I started to realize how many dynamic lady shooters there are that I would like to get to know better. As I weighed the options, I kept coming back to one name…Jenny Chu! I had shot a match at her home club in California when I was fairly new to shooting, and what I learned that day was that Jenny is not only an amazing shooter, but an extremely positive ambassador for the sport! When Jenny received a surprise invite from Eva and the WoD ladies, she thought they had the wrong recipient, but once she realized it was her invite she was “…excited and flattered! How cool!”
Jenny grew up in San Francisco, California, aka the “City By The Bay.” If you ask her how she feels toward her hometown she will energetically tell you “I heart San Francisco!” When she isn’t working or shooting, Jenny enjoys cooking and spending time with her family. Some of her fondest memories as a child were sitting on the kitchen counter watching her parents prepare dinner. “Now I cook with my parents and love the quality time and memories.”
Jenny’s desire to shoot first surfaced in 4th grade when she earned outstanding grades on her report card. As a reward, her parents offered to buy her a toy, they weren’t expecting that the “toy” she had to have was a BB Gun! She spent a lot of time shooting that gun, but it wasn’t until years later in 2007 that she took up shooting real guns, and at first she was reluctant.
Like many ladies competing today, her main motivation for getting into shooting was due to the fact that there were firearms in the house and she wanted to be safe and comfortable using them. At the range she thought the fellow shooters were helpful and encouraging, pretty soon she was addicted to the sport! Jenny Rapidly advanced in Production, going from “C” class to “B” class in a lightning fast 7 months. “Production taught me the fundamentals. Focus on the front sight, reload, grip, trigger control, reload, front sight, reload…” Jenny didn’t stay in Production very long because once she tried an Open gun she was hooked! “My heart is in Open division, the dark side! I only have to reload once at most. Yep. Just once. In other Divisions the stress over remembering to reload consumes me. If there’s steel forget it. Short and simple I love to run and gun.” Jenny is currently classified “A” class in the Open division.
While most shooters wait years to hit the really big matches, Jenny had barely 1 year of shooting under her belt when she went to her first away match, she traveled to Texas for the “Double Tap Championship”, followed by her first Nationals…and then off to the World Shoot in Bali! Once in Bali, not only was she jet-lagged, but the excitement kept her from sleeping before. “I was soooo excited and nervous at the same time. At local matches I have a hard time sleeping the night before a match. The adrenalin got me through six days with six stages each.” Not only did she survive the match…she did fantastic finishing 14th Open Lady and she even had a stage win! After the match, she rewarded herself with some local cuisine. “We ventured out to the town of Ubud for suckling pig, as seen on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. It was to die for!”
Since her whirlwind season in 2008, she has continued to progress and succeed. It was at the 2010 USPSA Nationals where she says she experienced the highlight of her career. “I came into Nationals ready to go with a goal of finishing Top 8 in Open and Limited division and I did just that!”
One reason for Jenny’s success is that she has such
a positive attitude, and considers her shooting friends as a second family. They joke and play pranks on each other as well as offer support and encouragement. One of the coolest coincidences is that Jenny’s boss is a shooter too and actually encourages her to get out and take time off for matches!
If you ever get the chance to shoot with Jenny, do it! You will not only have a great time shooting, you will also get a chance to spend time with a fun and positive person. To the new shooters out there, she is glad to help and answer any questions…all you have to do is be prepared to “be a sponge”!
It’s time again for another chapter in our “Who’s On Deck?” Series, well, actually, it’s a bit overdue. We sincerely apologize to Cindi Thomas, our most recent WOD participant, and her secret shooting star for the delays caused by our trips to the 2011 USPSA Handgun Nationals and the subsequent IPSC World Shoot in Greece.
We will be revealing Cindi’s WOD selection in just a few days. In the mean time, can you figure out “Who’s On Deck?” from the following clues?
I’ve heard many people say that USPSA is made up of “Average Joes” (and Janes). But every shooter I’ve been able to get to know has their own unique life story. Cindi Thomas is no exception. As a wife and mother with a full time job, she may sound like your “Average Jane”, however she’s anything but.
Many who grew up in a small town of 5000 may opt to stick around and never spread their wings too far. But Cindi left Solvang, California and joined the Navy. Long before she was shooting competitively, she was traveling around the world.
She says the most incredible place she spent time was in Antarctica. “We would fly down to Christchurch New Zealand and then on to the base in McMurdo, Antarctica. It’s a scary and exciting feeling when you leave New Zealand and pass PSR (point of safe return). You know you can’t turn back and you are going. We made our own impromptu fun and it felt like the whole squadron was one giant family.”
She even visited the South Pole where she remembers the wildlife she saw: penguins, whales, seals, and skuas. Cindi described her time in the Navy as “truly the best of times and the worst of times. As any veteran will tell you, deployments are long hours, stressful, and tiring. But they also foster a deep kinship and you create your own fun. Work hard, play harder! I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything, and if I had it to do all over again I would”. She even earned a meritorious promotion during her time in the service!
In Antarctica she met her husband, Steve, who she fondly refers to as her best friend for the past 10 years and “the reason I can pursue my professional and personal goals”. They now make their home on 15 acres in Maryland. Cindi has been riding horses since she was seven and now breeds and sells them on their farmette.
When Cindi and Steve began shooting IDPA and USPSA in 2008, they were hooked but she told Steve “that horses are my first love but that I would love to shoot with him when I could…and that I wouldn’t take this sport too seriously.” Since that time she says her horse collection has been cut in half and the gun collection has grown like crazy!
Shooting continues the sport and fitness aspect that Cindi’s father instilled in her as a child. He was a professional football player and recognized her strong ambition from the start. Since she “never found something I felt I was really good at”, Cindi sees shooting as her opportunity for her “abilitities to marry up with her ambition”.
Cindi’s primary division in USPSA is Production, but she plans to shoot Limited-10 this year as well. She has shot Open at a few matches, but says “I really want to push myself with the iron sights and see what I can do”. She admits that she felt frustrated with her overall finishes at the end of the 2010 season, but quickly realized that lack of practice was the culprit.
After a chat with National Champion Megan Francisco, she realized she had to put some work into her hobby. So she did. All winter she followed Mike Seeklander’s dry fire training and developed a physical fitness routine. And it paid off! She earned her B class card in Production after her first match of the 2011 season! She and her husband dry fire and practice together and are fortunate to have a range right in their backyard. They’ve recently started training with friend and GM shooter Todd Sindelar, who Cindi says is “awesome with footwork and stage breakdown and just a great shooter all the way around. I have already learned a lot from him in a short amount of time”.
As many people know, balancing shooting and everyday life and work is no easy task. Cindi has a full time job as a comptroller for the federal government, 14 horses to care for daily, and is currently earning her Master’s degree in business. Not to mention a 9-year old son, Travis, who matches his mom’s intensity with his Air Soft pistol. Travis gets to attend matches with Mom and Dad and next year will be shooting with them.
Cindi says one of her biggest challenges in shooting has been her cross-eye dominance. She says, “Todd Sindelar noticed I was shooting with one eye closed. He suggested I blur the vision of my weak eye and work on shooting with both open. I didn’t realize it would make THAT big of a difference – transitions and target acquisitions are so much easier now.” Her trick is to use chapstick to blur the lens of her shooting glasses just enough for her brain to focus on the picture she sees with her strong eye.
Cindi is on a roll so far this year with her Production gun, earning her B card, winning two stages among the ladies at the very challenging and highly competitive Florida Open Pistol Tournament, AND winning High Lady at the South Carolina Section Championship! She and Steve plan to attend the USPSA Nationals in Las Vegas in September, with plenty of other local and regional USPSA and IDPA matches in the meantime.
Cindi also conveyed that she would like to be more involved with introducing other women to the shooting sports. “I have gained a sense of confidence from what I have learned, and would like to help other women that are interested achieve that as well”.
If there’s one thing I learned from Cindi during this interview process, it’s the power of coupling positivity with hard work! Although we see each other regularly at our home club in Fredericksburg, VA, I had not had the opportunity to squad with her until recently at the South Carolina Section Championship. I watched her shoot a strong, consistent match, and her hard work and great attitude were obvious and contagious. We even got to spend some time together unwinding after the match and I found her to be as equally as friendly, laid back and genuine on the range and off the range. It was a pleasure to get to know her and I’m looking forward to shooting with her this year and watching her excel!
When Rebecca got on board with WOD, she also agreed to conduct the next interview to keep the ball rolling.
So about a month ago, Rebecca chose someone in the shooting community that she had not spent much quality time with and began to get to know her better. See if you can figure out Rebecca’s “Who’s On Deck”? selection from the clues that follow.
The best shooting advice I have ever received was … from Paul Mason. “Steal the gun from the holster…nothing else can happen until that gun is out.”
If I had to, I could probably subsist on … “chicken wings forever”.
It may be cliché but I can be won over with:
Other – “Kindness”
I could use a lot less “chores in my life” and a lot more “bullets!”
Most people would be surprised to find out that … “I have Flo Rida on my ipod.”
The one vice I have no qualms about satiating is … “red wine at night and a cold beer after a match.”
If I could start my shooting career from scratch, I would:
a. Dry fire more
b. Shoot more matches
c. Shoot more divisions
d. Other _____________
“Dry Fire More!”
I can’t imagine my life without … “my husband and son.”
I wish more shooters would … “say ‘yes’ when you ask them if they are having a good match…usually I tend hear how bad things are going.”
If shooting were a team event, the 3 people (2 guys & 1 other girl) I would want on my team are … “my husband, Julie Golob and KC Eusebio.”
Well, we know it’s not Julie G, but stay tuned, as we’ll reveal the identity of Rebecca’s WOD interviewee within a few days!
Who’s on Deck? – By Eva Micklethwaite
Picture a young girl growing up on her grandparents’ farm riding bikes, playing in the mud, fishing and climbing trees with her older sister and cousins. Doing all the things young kids should enjoy, but seem to miss out on these days. The town is Farmville, Virginia. Yes, Farmville, a rural and real town, verified on Google, approximately 1-1/2 hours southwest of Richmond, current population 7,868. Where her parents still live and operate a flower shop and her Dad remains her biggest fan!
Growing up there was the typical sisterly sibling rivalry, I imagine plenty of barefoot summers, and where tree climbing is prevalent, scrapes and bruises are certain to follow. I wonder if she has any scars that tell a tale.
Her first time firing a firearm was with her Dad where they would spend afternoons shooting 100 yd bench rest with his varmint rifles, busting water bottles with .22’s.
She comes from a family of artists and only recently found her inner artist in photography. In her words, “Even with all of these creative minds around me, not until recently did I feel like I had an ounce of artistic ability in me.” Christmas morning 2008 she scored a Nikon camera from her boyfriend, found an “amazingly” talented instructor at a local Visual Art Center, and has been immersing herself ever since in a different type of shooting!
Her first IPSC match, which she “vividly” remembers, was at Black Creek in Mechanicsville, Va., where she shot a single stack Springfield .45 (at major power factor), at the tender age of 14. Can you imagine?! That may have been where I stepped away from the competitive challenge, but not her. Instead, this is where it began.
One of her teenage memories was playing softball in high school, and as an adult she lived in Australia for six months, which was “the greatest experience of my life.” She has a biology degree from Mary Washington College and currently calls a Soil & Water Conservation District her day time home, where she coordinates environmental education programs.
If you haven’t been able to guess who my “Who’s On Deck?” interview was with at this point, I will give you a few more hints. Fourteen years after the Springfield .45 and 25,000 rounds per year later, she has gone on to win two Lady Open National titles, most recent being in 2010, beating all the boys with her 2010 National “A” Class win. She holds numerous Area and Regional titles, shoots a Para-Ordnance, and proudly sports a Strike Force Team uniform.
Yes, my “Who’s on Deck?” shooter is Rebecca Jones, two-time National Champion, photographer, girlfriend, and a lover of science and nature. I have only had the opportunity to shoot with Rebecca once at the 2007 Nationals held in Missoula, where I found her to have a quiet intensity that could resemble stand-offish seclusion. However, during this interview process, I discovered my first impression couldn’t be further from the truth. Rebecca, I found, is actually quite similar to me. Her love of photography, the outdoors, and her level of intensity whether it’s on the shooting range or life in general. She is vocal when appropriate and takes a back seat when it’s time.
I asked Rebecca if she shoots any other discipline and how it compares to shooting Open IPSC competitions. Rebecca admits to shooting iron sights occasionally but her primary focus is on Open. “Hobbies are supposed to be all about fun, right?” she says. She will use the iron sights to “slow down” when she starts to get “a little wild in practice,” but “her passion is Open”.
Rebecca has also shot Steel Challenge which she finds “completely different” than IPSC, and prefers IPSC due to the range of skills it tests. “Of all the disciplines, IPSC is the best test of overall shooting ability in my opinion.”
Rebecca recently started to shoot skeet and sporting clays and would welcome the chance at Bianchi. Hmmmmm…. I wonder if we’ll see Rebecca in another form of shooting competition any time soon?
Rebecca gives an incredible amount of credit and gratitude for her success in shooting to Todd Jarrett. “Todd and I have been shooting together for almost 5 years and I’m still in awe of his skills. At every practice he encourages me and pushes me and I’m always overwhelmed at his breadth of knowledge.” Todd keeps Rebecca’s guns and equipment in tip-top shape and also provides coaching sessions. It’s hard to beat that, lessons from a World Champion! But, “he tells me that I’m still the one who has to pull the trigger.”
What’s the single most valuable skill Rebecca has learned from Todd? She says “patience and trigger control,” two skills we would all vouch are difficult to master. When I asked Rebecca what she did differently between the 2007 Open Nationals, where she placed third, and the 2008 Open Nationals, where she won her first Open title, she attributed it to developing patience and trigger control. By Rebecca’s shooting record, I say she’s putting the lessons to good use!
I asked Rebecca if there’s one significant shooting moment that stands out with Todd. One instant that quickly came to her thoughts actually happened at the 2010 Nationals. Rebecca and Todd’s last stage of the match was the intimidating weak hand standard stage. When the stage was over and the RO’s had their say, Rebecca walked away with a clean stage and to top the cake, she saw Todd “beaming and literally jumping up and down.” Do you think Todd knew Rebecca just picked up her 2nd Open National title?
Rebecca also gives credit to being surrounded by “many talented individuals” at her local club and has taken tips from other top open ladies pointing to, “Megan’s patience for steel, Athena’s aggressiveness, and Kay’s consistency.”
But, is it all seriousness and intensity with Rebecca? No. In fact, Rebecca shared one of her most embarrassing moments with me! I’ll let Rebecca tell this story in her own words….
“The first time I traveled with Todd to a match, we rode with two of his friends and we all met at Todd’s house. I had just started shooting again after a few years, and I was a little nervous about the match, traveling with three guys, one of them being world and national champ… not to mention I had a little crush going on Todd! We got about 30 minutes down the road and I realized I’d forgotten my belt and holster in my car! We had to turn around and get it and I was so embarrassed! They still ask me to this day if I’ve forgotten anything when we leave for a match.”
What’s in Rebecca’s future? Greece will hold World Shoot XVI in 2011, and it’s my understanding Rebecca has a slot on the US Open Ladies’ Team. Congratulations! In addition to this, a personal goal Rebecca set for herself is to obtain her Master class card. From what I’ve seen of Rebecca’s shooting, I don’t believe a Master card is too far in the future! When asked about a Bucket List…”I don’t really have a bucket list, but I would definitely like to travel internationally more!”
Rebecca would like to give thanks to Strike Force, C-MORE, and Maui Jim Sunglasses.
To view Rebecca’s other shooting talent, be sure to stop by her website at www.rtjphoto.wordpress.com.
It was coincidental happenstance that we had the fortune of sitting next to Rebecca and Todd for a quick bite to eat at The Orleans sushi bar before the 2010 Nationals’ ceremony. This is where I, for the first time, really had the opportunity to talk to Rebecca one on one, which is where this idea came from. We spend a lot of money, invest a lot of time, and travel all over the world to compete. Yet I realized, although I know a lot of shooters, I don’t really “know” them.
I want to thank Rebecca for graciously taking the time to answer all of my many questions and agreeing to participate in Women of USPSA’s “Who’s on Deck?” launch.
I would also like to thank Robin Taylor and Front Sight magazine who were kind enough to help us launch “Who’s on Deck?”. We hope to be fortunate enough to have another interview published in the future.
Meanwhile, keep an eye out to see ”Who’s on Deck?” within the next few months. What will be the tell tale sign? When you see the next run of Cosmo questions posted here! Until then, shoot fast and accurate!
Photo of Rebecca shooting courtesy of Tara Cutts. All other photos courtesy of Rebecca Jones.
Women of USPSA contributor Eva Micklethwaite made a discovery at the 2010 USPSA Open Nationals. After competing in the sport for over 18 years, Eva realized she didn’t know much about her fellow competitors, and with this, a concept evolved for Women of USPSA’s blog called “Who’s on Deck?”.
We’ve all asked this question before at least one time on the range. Eva decided to ask it yet again. This time it would be addressed to one of her fellow competitors off the range, instead of an RO who’s probably answered her question twice already. : )
The idea behind the concept was for Eva to break the ice and take the time to get to know a female competitor on a more intimate level. What do they do in their work day, where did they grow up, what are their aspirations, what do they do in their spare time, questions even as basic as, where do you live!
How many of us can answer those questions about the people that we spend so much of our spare time with on the road, in different states, different countries even? Yet, we can rattle off what type of firearm they use, scope, holster, their shooting classification, match wins, and probably the first match we shot with them.
Eva thought it would be an adventurous road trip to start an interview process where she selects someone she knows, but doesn’t really “know”. Ask that person some of these questions, spend some time getting to know her, and then formulate an article to let the rest of us get to know “Who’s On Deck”.
The WoU’s twist to the road trip is that the On-Deck person then selects the next Who’s on Deck candidate. Once their interview has been completed and published, the pen is handed off, and the road trip moves on and makes its way to its next stop.
However, this road trip isn’t just for our competitive shooters. We have plenty of women who are active in our sport: Hard working range officers and range masters, accurate and efficient statisticians, creative match coordinators and stage designers, just to name a few.
We are also fortunate enough to have our very first “Who’s On Deck?” feature published in Front Sight Magazine! It is scheduled for the March / April Edition. If you haven’t received your copy, we’ve got a few clues about our mystery WoU …
The best shooting advice I have ever received was … “One thing at a time.”
If I had to, I could probably subsist on … “popcorn forever!”
It may be cliché but I can be won over with:
I could use a lot less … “work in my life”
and a lot more … ” practice!”
Most people would be surprised to find out that … “I have never been skiing.”
The one vice I have no qualms about satiating is … “having another glass (or two) of wine.”
If I could start my shooting career from scratch, I would:
“Dry fire more!”
I can’t imagine my life without … “music!”
I wish more shooters would … “not reshoot classifiers over and over.”
If shooting were a team event, the 3 people (2 guys & 1 other girl) I would want on my team are … “Todd Jarrett, Rob Leatham and Megan Francisco.”
Well, have you figured out Who’s On Deck? Check your March/April Front Sight magazine from USPSA to get to know Eva’s choice in even greater detail!
And ladies – listen for that “Who’s on Deck?” call and join in on our road trip of women getting to know women!