2010 Long Range High Power Rifle winner Sherri Gallagher traded range time for jump time
Port Clinton, Ohio -
A few years ago, Staff Sergeant Sherri Jo Gallagher was on top of the world. NRA National Long Range High Power Champion, Solider of the Year, and subject of a Sports Illustrated article that caller her “one bad ass girl”. It’s difficult to imagine a shooter achieving much higher acclaim. And then she was gone.
After years as of competitive shooting, holding a spot on the much heralded United States Army Marksmanship Unit, and representing her country in competitions abroad, Gallagher walked away from a signature passion into one few - beyond family and friends - in the firearm community would ever imagine.
“Sherri has always loved skydiving,” said sister Michelle Gallagher. “If she wasn’t shooting she was jumping out of something.”
With Solider of Year credentials still crisp in their wrapper, Gallagher reached out to the U.S. Army Skydiving Team known as the Golden Knights. Soon enough, this sharpshooting sprite traded in her shooting jacket and spotting scope for a parachute and a crash helmet.
Soon she was jumping out of just about anything. Crisscrossing the country with her new team, Gallagher tallied more than 800 jumps as of February of 2014 by diving into venues as diverse as the Dubuque, Iowa 4th of July Festivals and baseball games at Yankee Stadium.
“That jump was beyond amazing. I heard the crowd before I saw the target!”
Still the spotting scope called.
Before you knew it, a post fulfilling that call appeared on her Facebook page.
“The shooting gear has been uncovered and dusted off!! Soooo EXCITED to get back at it!!!!”
A sentiment echoed by many here for the Long Range High Power Championships.
It's important to note that she is not take part in every match. Though there is an opening in her Golden Knight schedule for a portion of the championships, there are just too many perfectly good planes around for Gallagher to jump out of. So you're not going to find her name atop the leaderboard with the likes of Whidden, Thompkins, and Green.
But this year isn’t about winning. This year is about family. Her shooting family. The family she has forged through years of tedious road trips to isolated ranges under horrible conditions all throughout the world. A family molded in time, comradery, and respect.
Gallagher returns to the Golden Knights a few days after the Long Range Championships. Back to the open skies where crosswinds and mirages take on a whole new meaning. But just like her time behind the trigger, it all comes down to that one moment … when you make the decision and leap.
Not a difficult decision for Gallagher. It's just another view from the top of the world.
For more on NRA's Competitive Shooting Programs, visit their website at compete.nra.org