Sara Ahrens wins Otis ‘Group Goddess’ award
Otis Technology became a Platinum Sponsor for our Babes with Bullets ™ program in early 2010. Their financial support is invaluable and their product support allows us to have a “shoot off” at each camp. Wondering what I mean by product support? Imagine dozens of women who come from across the U.S. to participate in a women’s firearms training camp. Once campers arrive, our head instructor, Kay Miculek, along with our senior instructor, Lisa Munson, quickly figure out who is moving on to an advance group with Lisa and what women will be in Kay’s more novice group. (There are more female instructors who assist as Kay and Lisa as we adhere to a “one instructor to 6 campers” ratio.) By the end of day two of camp, these two groups are already doing all the same action pistol drills with the advance group doing them at a faster pace.
It’s at the end of day two that we gather all the campers back into one large range bay and explain to them the rules of the Otis “Group Goddess” mini-competition. First we have the novice group come up to the shooting line which is set approximately 7 yards away. Then Kay explains that on each target is a one-inch-black square in the center of the upper panel of the target. The goal is to place six shots (and only six shots) in as tight a group or shot pattern as possible on that black square.
Kay reminds the campers several times that this is not a timed event; rather breathe, relax and concentrate on keeping your gun sights steady and then a smooth trigger pull. Kay gives the instructions for campers to load their handguns and hold them at low ready. At her command campers shoot their six bullets at their own pace. Once all campers have completed this little exercise in accuracy, all the instructors assist in checking that every gun is clear of ammunition and then re-holstered. Then each camper stands by her target until Kay and Lisa verify the tightest six-shot pattern. That’s when I take the target off the sticks and write the camper’s name on it.
Then we pull up the more advanced shooters and do the same routine all over again — six controlled shots, Kay and Lisa verify the target with the tightest shot pattern. Well, at least that’s the way it was supposed to go when it turned out that two of the advance campers (Wendy and Sara) had an absolute dead tie on the size of their pattern. In six years of doing this competition, that was a first, so back up to the line go Wendy and Sara for a shoot-off. Sweaty palms, along with small facial twitches, signal that this is a bit of a stressful situation and of course there is just a little bit of pressure on these two ladies as behind them are enthusiastic campers. Kay gives the range commands again for a low ready start with a loaded handgun. Twelve total shots ring out at different intervals over about 2 minutes. Once again Kay and Lisa verify the shot patterns and indicate that I should pull Sara’s target as the winner.
And that’s when I had the honor of crowning Bonnie, on the left, as the “OTIS Novice Group Goddess” complete with a small OTIS cleaning kit for her range bag and of course the Babes’ tiara! Hopefully you can see the joy in Bonnie’s smile as enjoyed her moment in the glory ring. The big OTIS Elite kit is seen on the right in Sara’s proud hands. Here is the funny thing; Sara is a police officer, and former SWAT officer, in Illinois and she LOVES OTIS products. In fact she has already previously written a rave review in The WOMA (she is a member) about their product.
As she and I talked about her being nervous about the shoot-off and ecstatic about winning the OTIS Elite kit she remarked on how hard a woman has to work to prove herself “over and over again” in a police department and especially on a SWAT unit. For her to win a top line OTIS kit, plus take home her signed target from camp, is a big deal as she can already outshoot most of the men in her department.
You go, Sara! You rock, Bonnie! And thanks Otis for “walking the talk” of encouraging more women to step onto the gun range and give something new a try!