“I had never touched a gun before,” Annette Mueller recalls fondly. “That is until I set foot on Brays Island about 20 years ago.”
Mueller, a Michigan native, and an owner has since become a leader amongst a passionate group of women shooters. According to staff, they’ve become the fastest-growing segment of shooters over the past six years, mirroring a recent study by National Shooting Sports Foundation which found that participation among women has increased by as much 189 percent in some disciplines.
To learn more, we sat down with Mueller and Justin Rhoten, the Director of Shooting Sports at Brays Island. Here’s what they shared.
Q: How do you entice women to shoot, especially if they’ve never tried it?
AM: “Since I personally had no experience prior to joining Brays, I understand that it can be an intimidating sport. With that in mind, we arranged luncheons and events that were primarily social that included shooting. From there, friendships formed and the rest came naturally.”
JR: “Encouragement is key. We’re here to make the sport appealing whether you’re a seasoned shooter or picking it up for the first time. Our women owners have truly helped the cause.”
Q: Justin: What do you find interesting about this group of women?
JR: “Although people tend to come in and out of the sport, we’ve retained a solid nucleus of between 12-16 women. They make up about 90 percent of new shooting clinics and I think it’s a trend you’ll find across the sport.”
Q: Would you say there’s healthy competition amongst women shooters?
AM: “I don’t think I’d use ‘competition’ to describe what we have. It’s a common bond and a shared passion.”
JR: “Agreed. I see more camaraderie than competition throughout the group. It’s refreshing to see that come so easily.”