The last few years have seen a jump in the number of women getting involved in the shooting sports and the shotgun sports are seeing a surge in women participating. So much so that gun manufactures are even marketing guns specifically for women. For me, whatever gets them out there enjoying a morning or afternoon of shooting is fantastic.
Nothing makes me happier than getting women involved in something that I have been passionate about for years. That’s why I started a little ladies shooting group called the G.R.I.T.S. (Girls Really Into Shooting) about 9 years ago. As we grew and traveled, folks always asked us if there was a group in their area like us. Last winter, we decided that should happen and we set forth on taking the G.R.I.T.S. national. Chapters would be established anywhere folks want to lead the charge. The original G.R.I.T.S. was formed as a recreational group with only two rules: 1) You must be a woman and 2): You may not keep score, ever.
With that said, March has been an amazing month for the G.R.I.T.S. We sponsored a table at the Goochland Duck’s Unlimited Dinner in Goochland, Virginia, where 10 G.R.I.T.S. enjoyed the center table and certainly made the most noise. We have traveled to both the east and west coasts of Florida to lay the ground work for getting chapters started there with one already launched. Then we are headed to Drake’s Landing in North Carolina in June to launch a Carolina Chapter and then to Kentucky to Elk Creek where we’re getting ready to start another.
On March 29th, we wrapped up a phenomenal weekend in Nashville, Tennessee. We had about 50 women come for a G.R.I.T.S. kickoff event at the Nashville Gun Club.
The road trip began in a hilarious “Vacation” style with two carloads of women, one towing a trailer (me). Of course, after the tongue jack on the trailer dropped on the Interstate we lost a bunch of time. Then about two hours later we blew a tire on I-40 in Knoxville in rush hour traffic. We were singing the Highway 40 blues. After roadside assistance, 4 new tires and $880 bucks later, we were singing our way in the pouring down rain into Nashville on Thursday night, 14 hours after we started singing Uptown Funk.
The official part of the weekend began with a proclamation from the Tennessee House Speaker Beth Howell declaring March 27th and 28th as G.R.I.T.S. Days in Tennessee and a tour of the Capital. What an honor! We had a fabulous and fun dinner at Jimmy Kelly’s Steak House and got fired up for our big launch day on March 28th.
Traveling with me were some of the fantastic members of the “original” G.R.I.T.S. posse and some of the greatest friends anyone could be blessed with having. Together we unveiled the G.R.I.T.S. “road show”of our new tent, tables and gear to show unification of this group and our passion for bringing women together in this great sport.
What I loved the most I think, besides the smiles on the new shooters faces and the squeals of delight when they hit targets, was the fellowship and encouragement all the original G.R.I.T.S. were giving, running their own stations and getting the attendees excited and shootin’ and hootin’. For me, it was really amazing. I had introduced almost every one of them to the shotgun sports and have watched their passion for them grow exponentially, as well as their own abilities.
Linda Henson, a great shooter in her own right, and a G.R.I.T.S. board member and CSM Instructor, traveled all the way from Seattle, Washington to be a part of the weekend. Judy Morris, former Team USA Manager and G.R.I.T.S. Advisory Council Member, came from Alabama to be a part of the festivities as well.
We want to thank the Nashville Gun Club and their outstanding staff and Board for hosting us and helping us pull off the event. Also, the Nashville Knife and Gun Company and owner Chris Turnbull for bringing guns for the women to see and handle and for a great BBQ dinner.
I want to personally give a shout out to Beth Sowell Fischer, Margaret Balch, Debbie Clay, Kate Ross, Mimi Wingfield, Karen Hurd, Sue Ross, and Linda Henson for working their hind parts off to help out with this event.
Joan Maitland (left) and Debbie Clay show their G.R.I.T.S. spirit at the Goochland Ducks Unlimited dinner.
On the road to Nashville! We finally crossed the State line into Tennessee. From left are Sue Ross, Maggie Balch, Karen Hurd, yours truly, Linda Henson, Debbie Clay and Mimi Wingfield.
Proclamation from Beth Howell, Speaker of the House of Representatives in Tennessee, declaring March 27th and 28th G.R.I.T.S. days in Tennessee.
Whoop Whoop! The G.R.I.T.S. made it to the Nashville Gun Club.
Setting up the new G.R.I.T.S. tent at the Nashville Gun Club.
The G.R.I.T.S. are ready.
The women were lining up to shoot and Linda Henson was there to help.
Ladies having fun all over the place!
Karen Hurd manning the G.R.I.T.S. booth.
Chris Turnbull, owner of Nashville Gun and Knife, not only hosted a great BBQ dinner but extended a 10% discount to the G.R.I.T.S. members for anything in his store, including guns and ammo. Fantastic deal ladies...go shopping!
Sue Ross (left) with a group of excited new GRITS, and Mimi Wingfield running the ammo shuttle.
Many happy ladies at the end of a great day.
Elizabeth Lanier is a highly regarded shooting instructor based in Virginia. She loves teaching men, women and children and introducing them to all the joys that recreational shooting brings forth! Founder of the G.R.I.T.S. (Girls Really Into Shooting), she is a leading advocate of women in the shotgun sports and this fall will be planning shooting events centered around the G.R.I.T.S. mission of shooting for the pure fun of it as well as planning trips for not only women, but everyone. Visit the Lanier Shooting Sports web site at http://laniershootingsports.com.