Marksman to Master

By Elizabeth Q. Smith, CRPA Board Member

Quite recently, my youngest son was given a public speaking assignment for his high school English class. Ever the actor and not one to shy away from controversial topics, he chose to educate the other juniors and seniors on the Second Amendment. I was both surprised and proud that he was going to tackle the subject and explain all the positive things that go with gun ownership. Since his trip to Washington, D.C., I think experiencing the various historical sites first hand, including the Holocaust Memorial Museum, Ground Zero, and the Gettysburg battlefield, has given him an understanding that the American people not only have the right to bear arms but without exercising those rights, the American Revolution may have had a different ending altogether. We owe those patriots who have gone before us our freedom and for being our role models in the ongoing fight to defend ourselves. 

Speaking of role models, I owe my shooting knowledge – which began in early 1986 – to some of the most talented female shooters in the Bay Area. The first is my late aunt, Bobbie Chow. Bobbie was married to the iconic gunsmith and Bullseye champion, the late F. Bob Chow – affectionately known to many of us as “Uncle Bob.” Unlike many sports, pistol shooting is one of the few where size and strength are not the only components needed to make a good shooter. Bobbie was probably 4’10” and an inspiration to watch when she was shooting her Chow .45 offhand at the Presidio Club. As I was struggling to understand everything that was going on and gather my focus, Bobbie would generously share her sense of humor with me and remind me that men could be tough, yet women would eventually sneak past them when the men weren’t paying attention on the firing line. Like any good teacher, she was not heavy on criticism and stressed the fun part of shooting. She reminded me to never quit and promised that there would be lemon chicken waiting for me if I could stick it out.

The best piece of advice I was given was to shoot my personal best and not worry about the scores because without marksmen, there would be no masters.

My other role models are Sharon Crespi and Claire Roudebush. Like Bobbie, they’ve seen me travel through the highs and lows of my personal journey and as my friend, Kendis Lowe put it, my numerous “reincarnations.” My situation is not unique, as there are many CRPA women who face the challenge of raising a family or maintaining a career. I like to shoot, but there are times that one priority must come before the other. In my case, my family is first (i.e. class projects, correcting homework); bass fishing second; and then shooting if I can squeeze the matches in. (Sleep is always a good thing too!) Many thanks to Sharon and Claire for constantly donating their time to run the stats behind the scenes at matches, and making everything possible for the rest of us to have such good matches.

Another essential individual is Liz David, a CRPA State Pistol Champion in Bullseye many times over. We may share the same first name, but there is no mistake that Liz David is versatile in both International and Conventional Bullseye. Please pay close attention to Liz David’s phenomenal scores and outstanding performance. Thank you Liz for motivating all of us to do as well as you on the firing line and for holding the matches at Palo Alto to help us get more firing time in.

It’s talented women like the above who have the ability to capture the interest of young people out there who might not otherwise give shooting a second thought. If you have girl friends and/or children who express an interest in wanting to learn how to shoot or just want to see what goes on at the range, please consider being a role model/mentor to a new shooter and making an investment in that young person’s life, to teach him or her the proper and safe methods surrounding our sport. It’s exciting to see that marksman grow into a master!