By Sherry Caldwell, Tac-Rescue Girl and TRS Assistant Instructor
On Saturday March 23rd, I competed in my first International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) match at the Benton Shooting Range, put together by the Benton Gun Club. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous having never shot in any type of competition before, on top of the possibility of being the only female shooting that day. However, with one other woman, we made a ratio of 1 in 18. Being that outnumbered, I still half expected the stereotypical treatment of being brushed off as a female in a “man’s sport” or getting some sort of cold shoulder. I am very excited to learn this sport however, and hoped I would not have to deal with either of those issues.
The oncoming of spring in Arkansas always brings less predictable weather and after a warm week, this particular Saturday brought a light drizzle, cloud cover day with temperatures in the low 40’s that morning. Not the best ingredients for a steady hand.
As I walked up, signed in, got my scorecard, and waited for the kick off directions, still half expecting the “why are you here” or “what do you think you are doing” looks, my first impression was actually…a welcome one.
From the time I walked up to sign in to the time I walked away, I actually felt welcome. When I registered, the director promptly introduced himself, shook my hand, welcomed me, and respectfully answered any questions I had at that time.
During the kick off meeting, the “first timers” were specifically welcomed and thanked for coming as well as openly invited and encouraged to return. This atmosphere surprisingly continued throughout the entire match.
I enjoyed being able to choose which stage I started at and moving through each of them as desired. The safety officers at each station gave a thorough directional walk-through to each of us before we shot the stage. As a first timer, each made sure I understood the course and politely and patiently answered the many questions I had at each. As this was my first attempt at competition in the IDPA, being the perfectionist I am, I had many questions and annoyed or not, the safety officers graciously did not show it while answering.
Shivering from the chili morning, being new to the IDPA matches, and accompanied with typical first match jitters, my scoring sure didn’t show a seasoned veteran, but I didn’t end up last either…which left me rather encouraged.
Overall, it was a great day. I have some great baseline scores to compare my next match to, which enables me to really track my improvement. Having a starting point gives me a much better idea of what to focus on and what areas to practice. I not only would love to go again, I actually plan to do so. As for being a woman in this type of sport…it is surprisingly a welcome place for everyone.
[embedplusvideo height=”478″ width=”800″ standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/ZAVCnxnLCp8?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=ZAVCnxnLCp8&width=800&height=478&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=¬es=” id=”ep8149″ /]