Marble Falls, TX
Julianna Crowder, founder of A Girl and A Gun Club (AGAG) ran her 3rd annual national training conference this year at a new location in Marble Falls, TX. Last year Julianna asked me if I would run a long range clinic at this conference. Almost 300 women from around the country had a 3 day weekend to take as many classes as they could sign up for in many different shooting disciplines. From basic intro to handguns, self-defense, conceal carry, competition, shotgun, AR rifle, archery, long range and motivational seminars, there was something for everyone. The participant’s skill levels ranged from never having held a gun before to experienced competitors and instructors. Most were new to all of it. An amazing staff pulled this off and there were many companies sponsoring the weekend. The seminars and lodging were held at The Retreat at Balcones Springs and the shooting events were at the Copper Head Creek Shooting Club. Both are in a beautiful location an hour from Austin. Fighting off a few lightning storms and downpours the weekend managed to proceed with only a couple of cancellations. Unfortunately the Saturday night low light shoot was one of the cancelled events but to be honest most of us instructors and work crews were quite relieved. We could barely keep our eyes open at that point and we still had a full day left of classes.
Events actually started a few days before the conference with instructors teaching other instructors. I was bummed to hear that I missed a helicopter shoot! Jeremy Stillman the Range Director owns Heli Gunner, providing customers with aerial hog hunting and shooting experiences for day and night. Starting at $250 you had 20 minutes in the air with several passes down the gunnery range shooting with provided suppressed rifles. How awesome is that. I really hope to make it back again and play on that. I arrived Thursday night with my first classes on Friday morning. AGAG provided the rifles and gear for my classes and the students were to bring their own ammo. I could not really bring my 6SLR rifle since they can’t supply ammo for it and I am certainly not loading several hundred rounds of that stuff. I would have loved for them to experience it though next to the 308 rifles provided. I was given my own range that had steel targets set out every hundred yards to 600. I was providing a basic introduction to shooting long rifle and introducing them to the sport of precision rifle.
I had 5 classes to teach in two days each about 2 hours long. That is not much time to talk and then get each person down behind the gun. Especially with only two rifles available and eventually only one. I was worried about my 3rd class which had about 10 to 12 students. My good friend and Atlanta 3 Gun Director Chris Palmer helped out with my clinics. I could not have done the class without him and we worked well together improving with each class. I then helped Chris teach his 3gun competition classes on the last day. For my long range class I wanted to make sure each person hit the steel targets out to 600 yards and had the experience of hearing the clang of the steel on impact. Like I said most of the gals were new to shooting at all and new to shooting rifles. Many have certainly never shot at anything past 100 yards or more. I loved seeing their faces light up when they heard the steel clang and the spotter yell “Impact!”
I only had two 308 rifles to work with. I am thankful to John Crowder, Julianna’s hubby to get me what they could. We had a bolt action short barreled Mossberg and a DPMS semi-auto which actually was the one we ended up using. We did not have bi-pods so we used front sand bags. The theme of the weekend ended up being “just roll with it” so we made do with what we had. Once I had the elevation zeros and holds figured out for them we got them all to hit their targets out to 600. There was a little wind and the atmosphere changed drastically from cloudy and humid to dry and sunny throughout the day affecting holds. But overall it was an easy day to walk them in to the far target. Once everyone got familiar with positions and firing a few rounds we had a contest at the end of each session. I would tell them where to hold and they had to start with round in hand on their knees behind the gun. When the buzzer went off we gave them a comfortable 45 seconds to position, load and take shot. If there was more than one that hit we had a shoot off and made the time shorter or targets smaller. Lantac USA sent me there with some Dragon Brakes and Accu-Grip with some grips and I gave one of each to the winners. These were some pretty awesome prizes. Unfortunately the 3rd class we had was with 10 to 12 students which made for a lot of down time for people waiting to get behind the gun. So we started to give them a job of spotting too. We know now for next year to have no more than 6-8 students and have at least 2 if not 3 good rifle set ups. My goal will be to find a sponsor to loan us some rifle set ups.
Kudos to the entire crew that organized and ran the conference. On the instructor and staff side we saw some issues but the students I think did not notice any if much of it at all. And of those issues nothing was serious and we worked with it. The conference offered a great place to stay and meals for the entire weekend and the price included all of the classes you could possible sign up for. I was really impressed with the instructors that were part of this. I knew many of them from competition or training and through the industry and I enjoyed meeting new ones. It was a bit like summer camp. I will be back next year if they will have me.
The awesome list of instructors included; Austin Davis – Crime training and physical fitness, Anette Wachter – Intro to Precision Rifle, Brandon Grimes and Mike Pendley – Foundations, single hand manipulations, positional shooting and extreme malfunction drills, Deb McKown – Trap and skeet, Brian Quick – Weapon stoppage and adaptive sight alignment, Mark Passamaneck – Competitive shotgun loading, MJ Adamcik – Defensive movement taping, Karl Rehn and Penny Riggs – Foundations and Skill builder – pistols, Dorcia Meador – Foundations, Grip, sight, trigger, Cross-eye dominance, advanced female tactical training, Janna Reeves – Rifle and shotgun stage strategy, Tamara Shelley – Simulator training range, improvised weapons, shooting and moving, Chris Palmer – 3-Gun stage, BJ Norris – Foundations, push the envelope and dynamic CHL, Becky Yackley – Competitive rifle and USPSA intermediate skills, Coni Brooks and Ty Herring – Intro to ammunition and reloading, Gabby Franco – Foundations and precision pistol, J.J. Schroeder – AR build and function fire, Jennie VanTuyl – Foundations, IDPA classifier and revolver, Kathy Jackson – Foundations, overcoming physical limitations, downed defender, purse carry class and secrets of conceal carry draw, Kelley Moore – See your possibilities, Rhonda Esakov – Hunters ed and youth shooting activities, Sharon Cundiff – Intro to archery, Tatiana Whitlock – Foundations, real world meets range and building your covert carry kit.