ARA benchrest, a sport for all!

Rimfire benchrest is a sport that’s open to everyone, regardless of gender, physicality or age. Margie Barron reveals the competitive drive that made her seek out the sport, and encourages interested shooters to do the same.

“I have been a very competitive person all of my life. At a young age, it seems I was always competing with my brothers. Trying to do things better than them, bigger than them, faster than them. It’s always been who I am. My competitive spirit has allowed me to think outside the box. In so doing I have enjoyed lots of activities that many women have not had the luxury of doing.

Women break records and push standards all the time, and yes, there are some sports that are divided by gender because of the physical requirements, but there are many sports that focus on knowledge, dedication, and skill. American Rimfire Association (ARA) benchrest shooting is one of those sports.

Married for over 43 years, my husband and I have always enjoyed doing things together. Normally he would get interested and involved in something and I would start tagging along, and then find myself eager to get involved as well. He was always eager to teach me what he learned on his own, and then we would put our heads together and expand on our knowledge. ‘I taught her everything she knows, but not everything “I” know’ he always tell people.

Probably the first most competitive thing I got involved in with him was fishing bass tournaments. We fished in tournaments as couples, as well as competed against each other. Another sport we got involved in was riding motorcycles. He always had bikes and I always rode on the back, but it wasn’t long before I wanted to ride my own bike, so I did just that. Of course it wasn’t without a few ‘mishaps’ along the way, as I dropped the bike a few times and broke a few balls off of the clutch handles. But I always said ‘who needs balls anyway?’ I would just pull the lever back without the broken off ball and keep on going.

I remember talking to Ellie Carroll at the ARA nationals in St. Louis a few years back, and her telling me that she got tired of her husband, the late Jeff Carroll, and her son being at the range all the time. She decided that if she was going to get to spend any time with them she was just going to have to join them. She did just that, then became one of the top ARA benchrest shooters in the nation, even beating her husband from time to time.

I know that I am atypical, but it always puzzles me that more women aren’t involved in ARA benchrest shooting and other sports that are not gender specific, but measured by individual performance. My message to other women looking for a new hobby is try ARA benchrest shooting! It is exciting, challenging, and satisfying. But I caution you… you might find it addictive!”

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