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The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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With the 2016 Olympic events at a close, it was the women who rose up to show the world on the largest competitive stage that they are confident leaders in the shooting realm – winning the only three medals collected by Team USA shooting.

Nineteen-year-old Ginny Thrasher made history as she became the youngest to ever win the first gold medal of the Games during the Women’s 10-meter Air Rifle event. Kim Rhode, famed shotgun Skeet shooter, went on to add to her legacy by earning her sixth consecutive Olympic medal to become the first woman ever to do so along with being the first competitor, man or woman, to earn medals on five different continents. And Corey Cogdell-Unrein came home with her second bronze medal in Women’s Trap during her third Olympic showing.

Back on American soil, as the Olympians made strides in female sports on a global level, the women in Ohio were proving they too compete to succeed on a national level – including those who arrived late to the game in their 50’s and 60’s.

829Tribble
Kathy Tribble was the overall winner in the National Match 30 Shot Bench League
precision match. She is also a regular at the air range Open Public Nights. (CMP photo)

During the annual National Matches in July and August, the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center at Camp Perry hosted a 30 Shot Bench League, where competitors used sporter, precision and AiR15 air rifles to fire 30 shots downrange from a rested position. The highest score in each category was deemed the winner of the match. Over 140 competed in the event, with the women coming out on top of the pack in each division.

Some of those older women earned their victories after taking advantage of the state-of-the art facilities through the Open Public Shooting nights the range offers year-round.

“It’s just what I do on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And if you call me between 4:30 and 8:30, you’re not going to get a hold of me. This is it – this is where I am,” said Kathy Tribble, 57, of Oak Harbor.

Tribble gave an incredible performance to overtake the precision match, where a more accurate rifle is used than in the sporter competition. She recorded a score of 299-21x in the event – only one point away from a perfect 300.

“This is the first that I’ve done anything like this,” speaking of competing in the National match. In the past, she was reluctant to sign up, but a recent health scare pushed her towards taking on the challenge.

“If things didn’t go right, I’m going to have it known that at least one time, I was good enough to shoot in the Nationals,” she added with tears in her eyes.

Growing up, her father was a man who believed that women were meant to stay in the house and unfairly discouraged her from firing any gun. With that notion in the back of her mind, she regrettably spent nearly 40 years without picking up a rifle – that is, until she found the air gun range two years ago.

It was there she discovered that not only did she actually enjoy shooting, but she was even exceptional at the sport. The staff members within provided her with guidance and constantly praised her, telling her that she was a natural.

“To this day, it still doesn’t seem like they’re right. But, the computer can’t be too wrong,” Tribble joked. “I’ve got a 299 in the Nationals.”

Ailed with diabetes and other health complications that limit her activities, Tribble grew bored sitting at home doing nothing but crafts, and she found coming out to the air range helped her forget her health issues.

“I can do it and I don’t have to depend on anyone else to do it for me,” she said. “I feel it’s a sport for anyone that’s physically able to sit here and pull a trigger . . . it’s something that I can do without having to be up physically moving around in order to do it.”

When she comes through the door, her gun and bags are set at her firing point, with the monitor tipped back the way she likes it and her chair turned out for her. She praises the CMP staff for their kindness – on and off the firing line.

“It’s a very rare occasion that one of them doesn’t help me with my bags to my car. I appreciate them being here. They even know the number of the gun I like to shoot,” she said. “That’s partly what feels so nice about coming out here. Everyone is so nice.”

With her first National Match win, Tribble has shown that she has what it takes to be an outstanding markswoman. Air rifle is a difficult, demanding sport that tests the skills of even the most talented shots in the world. Despite the stigma sometimes attached to firearms, Kathy encourages others searching for a fulfilling activity to try out the range for themselves.

“You’ll find that it’s a wonderful, quiet sport. In spite of the noise that’s usually thought of with guns, these are not loud. So, if you put your mind to it, it can become a very, very relaxing sport,” Tribble said. “It’s a challenge between you and the gun as to what you’re getting on the target. You’re challenging yourself.”

She added, “Sometimes it seems, when I get up in the morning, this is what I get up to do. I’m going to keep shooting as long as I possibly can.”

 

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