By Barbara Baird, Women’s Outdoor News
You’ll see them on the line at prestigious shooting matches all over the world. Six women wear the company’s trademarked bright blue shirt with additional sponsors logos carefully placed. But make no mistake; the blue shirt says it all. As designated competition shooters for Smith & Wesson, these women not only exemplify the finest skills in the world of competitive shooting, they also serve as role models to bastions of women who believe in the Second Amendment and enjoy competitive and traditional shooting.
Smith & Wesson labels their pro shooters the Champions; Doug Koenig, Jerry Miculek and Julie Golob. Everyone else who wears the blue shirt is a member Team Smith & Wesson.
Team Captain Julie Golob manages the team and is instrumental in choosing the next blue shirt wearer. Currently, she resides in rural Montana with her husband, four-year-old daughter, a cat named Webley and a new baby due this spring.
Julie explained her role with Smith & Wesson as a competitive shooter. “I compete in a number of shooting sports with a variety of Smith & Wesson (and Benelli – for 3-Gun purposes) firearms. Most of the time I shoot the Smith & Wesson M&P line, both the pistol and the rifle, but I also compete with revolvers, 1911s and Benelli shotguns. I shoot International Defense Pistol Association (IDPA), USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association), International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC), International Confederation of Revolver Enthusiasts (ICORE), NRA Bianchi Cup, Steel Challenge, 3-Gun and a few specialty matches.” Golob, who brings an impressive 20-plus year shooting background, including the Army Marksmanship Team, has been on the team since 2006.
She explained how she chooses which competitions she attends. “There are so many quality matches these days that it’s practically impossible to shoot them all. Each season I have to pick and choose events based on the schedule. World Championship years I focus on Bianchi Cup and IPSC for their respective World Shoots. I try to make it to all the USPSA Nationals and both the Smith & Wesson IDPA Indoor Nationals and the IDPA National Championship. There’s also so the International Revolver Championships, Steel Challenge and a number of top rated 3-Gun matches.” Golob is fairly new to the world of 3-Gun.
An avid hunter, she also loves cooking and doles out delicious recipes that she’s concocted in her own kitchen to her readers of her personal blog. “I’ve been know to be a bit adventurous in the kitchen and I take a lot of pride in serving up great meals for my family with wild game, of course! I’m definitely trigger happy – both in shooting but also with my camera. I almost never leave home with it.”
A Man’s World?
In a sport dominated by males, Golob said, “I jump at the opportunity to offer insight and advice to women. Right now, women are the minority in the shooting sports, but it’s wonderful to see more and more ladies enjoying shooting. I love being able to answer questions on the range, in emails or online.” Golob’s website provides shooting tips, a very active blog, giveaways, team news, along with educating and entertaining posts. Visit JulieGolob.com.
Kay Miculek grew up shooting and competing. Married to legendary Jerry Miculek, the couple runs the Shootout Range in Princeton, La.
She said, “The primary S&W firearms that I use are the M&P 9 Pro Series, the M&P-15 in both .223 and .22 LR calibers, S&W 1911 models in 9mm and .45 ACP, and the S&W Model 41.” Sponsored by Smith & Wesson for six years, Kay – who has competed in every discipline of Action Shooting – now is focused on Multi-Gun competitions that require handguns, rifles and shotguns.
When not competing or teaching at her own range, Kay acts as Senior Instructor for the popular Smith & Wesson-sponsored Babes with Bullets Ladies Action Shooting Camps. Now in its eighth year, the camps have introduced thousands of women across the country to competitive shooting. She also hosts USPSA Junior Shooting Camps.
Kay admits it is difficult not to be doing something involving shooting. “Since my home in northwest Louisiana is located on the premises of the Shootout Range, technically, I’m never off the range! My narrow list of hobbies reflect this fact. I enjoy traveling, but the vast majority of my travels also involve a shooting competition or a hunting trip. I like to occasionally relax with a good book, but for the most part, even if I’m not physically on the shooting range, I’m doing something involving guns.” Visit the Shootout Range.
Just down the road from Kay, in Thibodaux, La., lives Annette Aysen. She began shooting about 30 years ago, as a way to spend time with her husband, Eliott, who also is a Smith & Wesson-sponsored shooter. She shoots a Smith & Wesson revolver 99 percent of the time, and has been sponsored by the company for six years. She competes in ICORE, USPSA, Steel Challenge and Sportsman Team Challenge Matches.
She spends time with her husband on the job, too, as his accountant for his electrical business. When she’s not on the range or in the office, she might be gardening. “I love to do yard work. I find it relaxing.” She also sews and does crafts with her granddaughter. And then, she goes back to the range and runs ICORE matches and helps with USPSA matches.
“Recently, my good friend and fellow woman shooter Barbara Thibodaux and I started doing intermediate classes with our local lady shooters and are starting basic handgun instruction at our range,” she said.
She added, “It is an honor being part of a growing group that competes in the shooting sports. As a Babes With Bullets and NRA Certified Handgun Instructor, I find myself giving advice to members of my squad during local matches. It is rewarding when shooters request to be in my squad.”
The next generation
Daughter of Kay and Jerry Miculek, Lena has been traveling with her parents to matches for all of her 17 years. It’s only natural that with her genes and training, she wears a blue shirt, too. Lena shoots M&P 9 Pro series, M&P-15 PC and Model 41. She also competes in Multi-Gun competitions.
“I think what women like about the shooting sports is the same as what the guys like – the competition, adrenalin, sportsmanship and just being part of the great shooting family.”
When not on the range or in school, Lena likes to participate in her church’s activities.
Sixteen-year-old Janae Sarabia has been sponsored by Smith & Wesson for two years. She prefers to shoot revolvers, but occasionally competes with an M&P 9mm, or a 1911 or a .22 at ICORE, Steel Challenge and rimfire matches throughout the country.
A sophomore in high school in California, Janae said, “I’m a strong supporter of women’s involvement in shooting, especially because it’s such a male-dominated sport. I think it’s important for women to be educated and more comfortable handling firearms, for their own safety and general gun safety, so I have taught and demonstrated in local women’s shooting classes. When I’m on the range I cheer on my fellow shooters, especially new women/junior shooters, because I want them to keep up with it and not get discouraged.”
Janae elaborated about the reasons women should try the shooting sports: “I think it can be empowering for women to participate in this sport that is often perceived as dangerous and male-dominated, and excel in it. Shooting appeals to women and men alike because you’re constantly striving for accuracy and speed, and it puts you in competition not only with other shooters, but with yourself. And most importantly, it’s fun!”
This honor student’s favorite subject is math, and she also writes for the school newspaper. When she’s home, she’s a typical teenager – listening to music, baking and playing with her dogs. Oh, and she’s also working on becoming trilingual — in English, Spanish, and Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines.
And then, good golly, there’s Miss Molly. A 16-year-old high school junior from California, Molly Smith has been sponsored by Smith & Wesson for four years. She said, “I have shot my same Smith & Wesson 627 revolver this entire time in action shooting competitions, like ICORE/IRC and Bianchi Cup. I have also shot Steel Challenge, and am starting to get more involved with USPSA sports. There’s a possibility of mixing things up soon with a semi-auto.”
A petite woman, Molly said people might think she’s just a “little girl” out there. She soon dispels that notion when she speaks. “Often, I have had people come up to me and ask questions. I love it. A large portion of the time, I get questions from men pertaining to, ‘How can I get my daughter/wife involved in shooting?’ I find that some women are intimidated or nervous about shooting, and you know what I say? ‘Look at Julie G., Jessie Duff, Randi Rogers, and all the Smith & Wesson gals. It’s safe, it’s fun, and just think of the accessories!’”
Off the range, Molly spends time preparing for college with full honors and AP classes. In fact, last semester, she took four college courses in the evenings and performed in a play. She also writes for “Women’s Outdoor News” and her blog, “The Molly Minute.” She also will be writing as a correspondent for Smith & Wesson this year.
Molly’s interest in the outside world combines her love of shooting and Second Amendment advocacy. She is a field correspondent on the Internet for American Trigger Sports Network and attended the prestigious Youth Education Summit, held by the National Rifle Association, in Washington, D.C., last summer. She is a member of the Junior State Assembly of California.
To unwind, she helps out at the local marine sanctuary. She said, “I love being on the beach, whether if it’s for plankton tows to check the microscopic wildlife for the sanctuary, picking up sea glass and shells, or just running into the waves!”
The Women of Smith & Wesson
Julie speaks for the six women who represent Smith & Wesson and why they invest their lives perfecting their skills and communicating their passion to the world: “Shooting is a skill that could very well save your life one day. As a sport, it is both social and personal. For the most part shooting is an individual sport, but because of the fact that you shoot with a group of people, it’s also a lot of fun.”