Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Karen Monez, TCU Rifle Team Coach, Cowboy Action Shooter and Competitive Shooter

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Imagine going from precision rifle shooting, which Karen describes as, "a perfect shot at 50 feet requires hitting a target the size of the period at the end of this sentence," to Cowboy Action Shooting, which moves a lot faster at much shorter distances, and winning at both!

Karen Monez has held titles in both precision rifle shooting and Cowboy Action Shooting. She's won three World Championship titles in Single Action Shooting and has set 97 world and national records in rifle shooting. She certainly deserves her spot in the Who is Who of the 20th Century of Women Shooters.

Karen is from California, and at 14 years old, was first introduced to shooting by her brother who was a member of the junior rifle club at an Optimist Club in California. Karen says, "I just tagged along one day." She says it took awhile for the sport to catch on, but when it did, "it began a passion." Karen first started shooting with an Anschutz .22 standard rifle. In fact, she says that an Anschutz is still her favorite rifle to shoot for smallbore. She soon became the top female shooter in her area. Karen joined the U.S. Army Reserves and competed on the U.S. Army Reserves Shooting team for 22 years. Karen was also a member of the United States Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning for three years. In 1979, she won gold in women's air rifle at the World Championship in Seoul, Korea. In 1998, Karen slowed down competing in Olympic-style shooting and started Cowboy Action Shooting, where she shoots a Ruger Vaquero in .38 caliber, Uberti 1873 lever-action rifle in .357 and a Stoeger double barrel shotgun.

Karen and her husband raise quarter horses and beef cattle. She says, "I have been fortunate to have a practice range setup on ranch property that has allowed me to train countless hours with the "cowboy" guns (as well as countless hours in my reloading room)." But now, Karen devotes most of her time to coaching the TCU women's rifle team.

Karen has really brought the TCU women's rifle team up to speed. Three years into her career as coach, Karen brought the team to place a tie for fifth in the nation. Karen says she focuses her practice sessions on "building skills that translate into improved performance and focusing on performance rather than scores. Improved performance will make for better scores." The team practices each week, with 3 to 5 practice sessions and a competition or a practice on Saturdays. Karen's practice philosophy works. During the 2008-2009 season, the TCU rifle team beat Nebraska, Mississippi, Nevada and the Air Force Falcons. In February, the team took home first place at the Aloha Invitational. In March, the team hosted the NCAA rifle championships and took fifth place. At the 2008 NCAA Championships, the TCU rifle team finished as high as third in the nation. Way to go TCU! TCU is scheduled to host the championships again in 2010.

I asked Karen what we can do as a shooting community to encourage more girls and women to take up the sport, to which she responded:

"Provide opportunities for women and girls to learn about and shoot firearms. There are many organizations and clubs that are providing such opportunities with 'women only' shooting clinics. I believe that many women and girls with a negative impression or attitude toward firearms have never had an opportunity to handle and shoot guns. Providing them with the opportunity to 'pull the trigger' in a safe and fun environment will go a long ways toward changing their attitude toward guns and the shooting sports."

Karen continues with saying, "It takes a great work ethic and a great attitude to achieve success in any shooting discipline. With success in shooting, women can gain confidence that will spread into other areas of their lives." I have to agree with her, and the winning TCU rifle team is a true testament. Good luck, Karen, on the 2009-2010 season, and we hope this year you can bring home that National Championship title.

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