By Steve Salmon
The Seventh Annual Daughters At The Range annual (daughtersattherange.com) is scheduled for June 9, 2108 One hundred and fifty five young ladies, age 6-18 will be offered a chance to shoot free and experience the fun of shooting . Sorry guys, this event is for the girls. Each girl will be put through a safety orientation, taught by Texas Hunter Safety educators. With eye and ear protection in hand, they will then move to the rifle or pistol range, meet their mentor and get a second safety orientation by the range safety officer. Safety is the first Priority of the Day…Fun is Second.
Each girl is offered her choice of shooting a scoped .22 rifle from a bench, with sandbag rests or a .22 pistol. About 70% of the girls have never shot anything before, while many of the rest will be returning from prior DATRS events. A mentor is provided to each shooter to assist her with any and all aspects of shooting, guidance, encouragement or offer suggestions or help as well as safety. All of the mentors are experienced in firearms, with many being instructors. The range is supervised by a range safety officer.
A variety of targets will be used. Large Shoot N C or TruGlo to show they can hit the target, followed by smaller targets and balloons that wave in the breeze. (Difficult for even a seasoned shooter, but most get popped!) Rifle targets are at 25 yards. The rifle shooters even get to shoot metal plates off a stand at 50 yards! There has been lots of clanging in the past, and lots of smiles as plates flew off the stands. Pistol targets were shot at 10 yards.
It is always hard to tell who has the biggest smiles…the girls or their mentors!
This event got its birth from an idea called National Take Your Daughter to the Range Day. A really great idea, as most dads never hesitate to take their sons, but may not think their daughters might enjoy it as well. Moms too! This event is a family event with dads, moms, grandmas and granddads, and brothers and sisters attending. It is always surprising, the number of parents who do not shoot or own a gun, but wanted their daughter to know gun safety and about guns. What a wonderful concept!
National Take your Daughter to the Range Day was to be a local event, based on local capabilities and planning.
DATRS took off and has been a great success. Janette Story took the idea and ran with it, recruited volunteers who recruited others and each year as more people hear of it, they say “I want to be a part of that.”
Either they contribute time, talent or money. Remember, this event is totally free to the participants and their families.
Everyone is exhausted when the day is over, but all said “I’ll be back next year!”
Assistance has been provided by the youth programs from Marlin, Remington, and Browning.
Targets come from Birchwood Casey, TruGlo. Additional support is provided by Texas Hunter Safety Education, OutDoor Cap, San Angelo Police Department (NSSF Operation Child Safe) and the local firearms dealers, The Marine Bulldog Assn. served breakfast and lunch; personnel from the military base provided security and mentors. A local eye specialist provided safety glasses for all participants, helpers and families. Each girl receives a T-shirt and a “goody sack” with promotional items, information and other “stuff.”
Any event such as this would vary depending on facilities, and the amount of local help, volunteers and donations.
The event has grown each year, from 60 girls the first, 105 the second, to 155 the third. Adequate facilities may be the limiting factor with only 15 rifles positions currently. The girls shot in 7 rotations.
And guys…make no mistake, the girls can shoot!
Janette sadly passed away this past November . The event will carry forward in her honor and memory, not because she wanted the recognition, but because she loved doing it and the girls.