100 energetic women packed into Pathfinder Fish and Game Club recently to test their aim with multiple different firearms. The third annual Ladies Rule the Range event saw great success and reached the desired goal, 100 participants.
Starting out with 50 women in its first year, the event grew into its second year with 81 women participating.
The ladies’ event has continued to skyrocket with success, pulling in the intended goal of 100 women for its third year of existence.
With more than 40 instructors, the ladies were very actively and accurately briefed on the handling of seven separate stations of firearms including skeet, pistol, five stand, rifle, trap, archery and cowboy action.
They even let OswegoCountyToday’s own Mikayla Kemp try her hand at a few different firearms.
“I’ve never even held a gun before. I was nervous going into it, but the instructor was very calm and friendly and made me feel comfortable. Wouldn’t you know I shot the first skeet they pulled! I couldn’t have asked for a better experience for my first time shooting. I will most definitely be returning to shoot with the ladies again soon,” said Kemp.
Many of the participants from the event will be returning as well, as they were offered a free membership to the club until the end of the year as part of participating in the event.
“Last year we had 40 or 50 women join the club, they enjoyed it so much,” said event committee member, Cheryl Henderson.
“We see a lot of familiar faces here today,” she added. “These women are coming back and they’re bringing friends and we are just getting bigger and having more and more fun with it.”
One participant, Gretchen Blasczienski was a new face in the crowd this year.
Having only shot a BB gun once when she was young, Blasczienski came to the event a rookie in shooting.
“It was all so much fun! I really enjoyed learning about all of the guns and how to handle them safely and enjoy shooting them for fun and how you can really compete with them in a fun safe way. I can’t tell you how much fun it was and empowering to learn the proper way to use them and have fun safely with them,” said Blasczienski.
Safety was stressed throughout the duration of the event and all women were taught and understood how to safely handle a gun, including loaded and unloaded firearms.
Henderson also emphasized the issues of firearms being viewed in a negative light due to recent shootings and legislation aimed at controlling gun rights and ownership.
“It’s important to remember, we don’t call these weapons. They are firearms,” said Henderson.
“A weapon could be anything,” explained her husband and president of Pathfinder Fish and Game Club, Kerry Henderson. “A weapon could be a hammer or your hands, anything. It’s not the gun that’s the problem in those situations; it’s the person shooting it.”
“It’s fun. It’s just a fun thing for women to get together and be able to do right along with the men,” his wife added. “This event is just extraordinary. It does my heart good to see all these women out here. And of course as a woman shooter, I like to see more women shooters come along. I like to shoot with the ladies instead of always being with the guys.”
The event brought forth the shooter in everyone, with ages ranging from teenagers to women in their 80s.
“I totally plan on doing this next year with my youngest daughter who will be 14. I think everyone has the right to defend and protect themselves,” said Blasczienski.
The event featured seven shooting stations in which the ladies were provided with eye and ear protection, a generous luncheon serving wild meat, and a free membership for the duration of the year.
Anyone interested in seeing all that Pathfinder Fish and Game Club has to offer can look them up on Facebook or visit www.pathfinderfishandgame.com