“Women are oppressed” is a common phrase uttered across today’s mainstream media, essentially claiming that women in America are marginalized by society. At fault, supposedly, are the people who work individually to make America the astounding country it is today. The media blames the system that fights for the rights of those yet to be born. It blames those who speak up for the America they believe in. Today’s media highlights all that is deemed sexist in our society, and it’s time for someone to speak up for the incredible women overcoming the media’s injustices.
Texas, a hot spot for shooting sports, boasts some of the biggest shooting communities in the country. In a male-dominated field, many women have worked their way to the top of the industry as leaders in shooting activities. In fact, the fastest growing demographic in the shooting sports is female shooters. Across Texas the strength of the female community is inspiring hope for the future, and three incredible women are leading the charge in their local areas.
The first of these powerhouse ladies, Jerah Hutchins, has created a name for herself as the Event Director for Defender Outdoors, the second biggest range in the United States. Based in Fort Worth, Texas, the 43,000-square foot venue offers dozens of programs to get the community involved in shooting. Lead by Jerah, an avid shooter and hunter, the range works to broaden the scope of shooting sports in the community. With the goal of eliminating the stigma of guns being dangerous, the team works to provide a safe environment for all shooters. And as the event director, Jerah continues to pave the way for more female shooters to get involved and get active.
Slightly south of Jerah Hutchins, Renee Bustilloz is making waves in her community as a certified NRA Instructor and member of the Lady Hawks women’s shooting group at the Hawkeye Shooting Academy Range in Bell County, Texas. As an instructor, Renee gets the chance to work with women and broaden their horizons with respect to shooting activities. What motivates her? “I didn’t understand why girls were so nervous about guns,” said Renee, “so I started sharing my knowledge with other women.”
In regard to the growing number of females in the shooting sports, Renee sees the trend in her classes. “Twenty to thirty women showing up is not unheard of,” she noted. Renee is active not only at the range, but off it too. Working on her local Friends of NRA committee, along with a full time job as a paralegal, Renee continues to positively affect the Belton area. As a dedicated community member and female NRA Instructor, Renee hasn’t let anything hold her back from being a leader in sharing the passion for guns and shooting.
For our final woman taking charge in shooting, we head to Nacogdoches, Texas. Here Lori Pruitt works as a Managing Partner at the Meadow Ridge Archery and Gun Center. Lori originally got involved in the shooting business after gaining experience in the industry through her daughter’s 4-H club. With her family’s support and involvement, Lori was able to launch Meadow Ridge Archery and Gun Center in July of 2016. Lori’s credentials also include certified NRA Instructor, basic shooting educator and Certified Texas License to Carry Instructor.
As a teacher for women’s shooting courses, Lori’s work comes from the heart. "I am very passionate about supporting women in shooting sports,” she shared. Emphasizing the importance of teaching women confidence in this field, programs like Lori’s continue to boost the participation of women in shooting. As we closed out our discussion, the topic of America’s future came up—a brighter future. “I really do have hope for the future of this country,” Lori said. The future of our shooting traditions and Second Amendment freedoms may sometimes seem uncertain. But one thing is for certain; with women and men across the country working to diversify shooting, we have reason to see a brighter tomorrow for the United States of America.
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