Women of all ages will soon come together at the Ladies Rule the Range annual event to test their aim.
The Pathfinder Fish and Game Club will host the third annual event on July 25; women are able to experience a variety of shooting sports that they may otherwise not have the opportunity to try.
“Through the Ladies Rule the Range event we strive to empower women through education and constructive experience in the use of hand guns, long guns and archery equipment,” said founder of the event, LouAnn Daniels.
Daniels approached the Pathfinder Fish and Game Club two years ago to ask about hosting an event entirely for women.
While there was some hesitation, Daniels went through with the event and had a better turnout than expected.
“I was hoping for at least 25 women to participate. But, I would consider it lucky to have 10. We actually had 50 women in our first year. Then Pathfinder was pleased to have us return the following summer and we ended up with 81 women. This year we are hoping to get over 100 women,” Daniels told Oswego County Today.
The Ladies Rule the Range committee is composed of Daniels, Linda Parry and Kitty Richards.
Daniels has been an active shooter for several years in many places throughout the country.
In the 1990s, Daniels held four events in New York that drew in women “from border to border.”
She has studied how to teach women shooting techniques in Houston through the Women’s Shooting Sports Foundation.
“I love it, I just love doing it. I enjoy teaching women, seeing their faces light up. We’ve had women from 12 years old to 80 years old. We’ve had women walk down with walkers, we can handle any handicap including hearing impaired, wheelchairs, prosthetics, anything,” Daniels explained. “It’s not much of an event for an experienced shooter. It’s targeted more for the inexperienced or women that have never shot at all before, that way there is no competition or intimidation. It’s not a contest. We just aim to make the ladies feel special from the moment they step on the field to the moment they step off. We really just want to empower women. We want them to know they can do it. You don’t have to be a big, strong woman to shoot guns. You just might be standing next to a petite 80-year-old woman who selects the biggest pistol she’s offered.”
The event is scheduled to take place on July 25 with a meet and greet at 8 a.m. and shooting promptly starting at 8:30 a.m.
All participating women pay $25, to covers targets, ammunition, eye and ear protection.
Water will be available on the field throughout the day and a “generous luncheon,” also.
At the conclusion of the event, the women are offered a free membership to Pathfinder Club through the end of December.
“Pathfinder is truly great,” said Daniels. “They close the whole club down and we have everything available for us. We couldn’t ask for a better club to do this with.”
The event is strictly for women.
While husbands, boyfriends or other men are allowed to come in support of their women; the men are to stay in the clubhouse while the women are in the field shooting, Daniels noted.
This way, women can learn how to do these shooting event by instructors other than the men in their life.
“A lot of times women have poor experiences when they try shooting for the first time with their husband or boyfriend. Men just don’t always understand that a woman stands different than a man, and even understand why they stand that way. Often times they set the shotgun on the woman’s shoulder and with the recoil it’s painful and then they are no longer interested in shooting. If you do it right, it won’t hurt and it will be tons of fun,” said Daniels.
There are instructors provided at each of the six shooting stations.
Women have the opportunity to shoot skeet field, five stand, rifle, shotgun, pistol, bow and Cowboy/Cowgirl Action where the women are able to unload the guns from their holster and shoot in a cowboy themed area.
“This way, women are able to learn about the shooting sports that they may watch their male counterparts enjoy but have never had the opportunity or have been fearful to try for themselves, in a friendly, laid-back manner. A lot of times I have women telling me that after this event they got their hunting license, or purchased their first bow or they join the club so they can shoot more,” Daniels said. “It’s a great way to learn and a great bonding experience. My son and I shoot together all the time and he enjoys it because it’s not too girly and I enjoy it as well.”
“My instructors keep the ladies laughing all the way through. They are truly a great bunch. They don’t force the women to participate if they don’t want. They are encouraging, friendly and so funny. Last year we had a young woman out of Syracuse come to our event, basically dragged by her father, but boy was she hooked as soon as she started. Now they enjoy shooting as father-daughter time all the time,” Daniels added.
Ladies Rule the Range has even landed support from Senator Patty Ritchie.
While Daniels received an Acknowledgment of Accomplishment with her involvement in shooting at the Women of Distinction ceremony, Senator Ritchie showed immense interest in the event and very much so enjoys the idea.
Her staff, also very interested in the event, is trying to work her schedule so Senator Ritchie is able to attend.
The event offers a luncheon serving wild meat, stuffed manicotti, tossed salad, fruit salad and more.
Last year, Daniels provided ostrich, elk, boar, buffalo, venison and turkey.
All meat is purchased through Scriba Meats, stuffed manicotti or shells through Canale’s and this year, there is the possibility of Tim Horton’s ice cream for dessert.
“Lunch is enough in itself to be worth the $25 participants pay,” said Daniels.
While Daniels pays for the event on her own, this is her first year utilizing sponsors.
“I want to make sure we blossom properly,” she said.
Beach Construction will be funding the meat supply this year. Sponsorship is also under way with Runnings.
The only way the event would be canceled is due to lightning.
All other weather conditions are acceptable to shoot in.
Tents will be provided for the shooters in case of rain.
“I just can’t wait,” said Daniels. “It’s so much fun for me to watch; to just walk around and see these women achieving together. There’s such a sense of comradery. You really don’t know until you experience it. These women can expect, if nothing else, a lot of fun and food. But I’ve never had a woman walk away saying they wish they hadn’t come.”
Any interested women can contact Daniels at 315-409-6566 to make a payment to secure their spot.