Do you remember the first time you fired a gun? Went on a hunt? Yelled “pull” and watched that orange clay fly?
I bet you do.
Maybe your love for the shooting sports began because someone you love, whether that be a family member, spouse, or friend, simply took the time to teach you one afternoon.
Or perhaps you took it upon yourself to learn proper firearm safety and training because you know that you are responsible for your own life.
Regardless, the lifestyle surrounding firearms and the outdoors is an American tradition. From the home to the field to the classroom, knowledge of firearms and the shooting sports have been passed down from generation to generation. And there is no better example than NRA Instructor Ron Tussel and his daughter Cheyenne.
“My father did a lot for me, but my grandfather spent just as much time with me when my father was at work,” Ron recalls. “I was allowed to go along on hunting trips with a firearm, but no ammunition, prior to the then legal hunting age of 12. I was critiqued on how I carried the gun and how I handled it, pointing, safety and everything else on hunts.”
When Ron became a father, he knew that his children would learn the same way he did. “When Cheyenne was 6 months old my wife went back to work. I worked from home so she was always with me. I mounted a car seat on the fender of my Kubota tractor so she could safely and comfortably ride while I worked. We spent a whole lot of time together doing chores going to meetings, shooting and hunting.”
And Cheyenne quickly fell in love with learning those same values. “Growing up hunting was a way of life that was passed down. The food we ate was the result of successful hunts, which my brother and I were most likely a part of, whether we were the shooter or not. The safe handling of firearms and bows in our house was an everyday lesson. Every time we went to practice we had a lesson in safety.”
Later on down the road, Ron introduced Cheyenne to the NRA firearms training courses he taught. “I noticed the need for proper firearms training and all that goes along with it, especially for female shooters. I began basic pistol for co-ed and quickly saw that with husbands and boyfriends in the classroom, the women were not asking questions. So I cut out the men and made the classes women only. I found they would ask questions, interact, and do much better on the range, free to ask anything and it created a much more relaxed and conducive learning environment. It also helps, and I prefer, to have a female assistant on hand.”
Enter his daughter Cheyenne.
With her own knowledge and hours in the classroom working beside her father, Cheyenne can also see Firearms Instructing in her future. “Aside from anything I will ever have going on in my life, I am deeply rooted to firearms and educating people. It is something I will always put effort into doing.”
But, Cheyenne knows you don’t have to be an instructor to share your knowledge and passion with others. “I share my background and passion for firearms strongly wherever I go, as they are a part of who I am. By sharing my passion and knowledge I hope to better educate people around me in day to day life, not just during class with my dad.”
This father - daughter team are making major impacts in their community. Not only did Ron teach his daughter about firearms, but he taught her how to help others learn safety and training as well. This is exactly how our lifestyles and traditions continue: by sharing our knowledge and passions with those we love while becoming resources for our community.