Women in Shooting: Part 2 - Casey and Jan Jacka

Part 2 of our week long series focusing on women in shooting and hunting looks at the mother and daughter duo of Jan and Casey Jacka. If you missed Part 1 you can check it out here.

Like mother, like daughter.

Jan Jacka grew up around firearms, shooting rabbits and foxes and the occasional pig on her property in Hay, NSW. But it was only after she met her husband that she began to get involved in competition shooting.

Jan started off with pistols but about seven years ago moved to shotgun competitions and was immediately hooked.

“I found it a great challenge, and totally different to pistol and rifle shooting.”

Today, Jan spends most weekends travelling to competitions throughout NSW, Victoria and the ACT and has consistently proved her skills in the demanding discipline. 

But Jan doesn’t have to look far to find her closest competitor – in fact her competition is in the same car. You see, Jan’s daughter Casey has also been bitten by the shotgun bug.

“Mum and Dad have always been interested in the various shooting sports, and Dad was always trying to convince me to try sporting clays. Initially I resisted because I was scared the recoil would hurt but I eventually gave in.”

That was 14 months ago and Casey hasn’t looked back, shooting almost every weekend despite the fact many of her friends prefer other sports. 

“Taking up shooting was a bit of a shock to some of them,” Casey admits.

Both Jan and Casey, not surprisingly given their success, list 5 Stand Sporting Clays as their favourite Discipline, however both also enjoy hunting with rifles.

Both ladies have had their fair share of success with the shotgun in hand.

Jan has twice made the Australian Graded Shotgun Team, while Casey has only just returned from New Zealand where she was a member of the NSW Shotgun Team competing in the 2013 Sporting Clay Championships.

Asked about her experiences in New Zealand, Casey said:

“It was an eye opener! It took me some time to get used to some of the rules they used but I soon got the hang of shooting gun down. The country side in New Zealand was a lot different to venues I’ve shot at which are usually flat. All in all it was a great experience!”

Jan and Casey relish the opportunity to compete against each other, with both saying there is more than a little “stirring” which goes on.

“I think Dad has nearly considered bailing on a few trips away with us,” jokes Casey.

So who is the reigning ladies champ in the Jacka household?

“At last year’s NSW 5-Stand State Titles, we were even at the end of the weekends shooting after much sparing and we had to shoot off for the title. After doing this twice, Casey finally came out on top by 2 targets.”

But has the friendly rivalry made them better shooters?

According to Jan, the answer is yes.

“I think it has become a competition between us, as to who can perform the best on the day. I know from personal experience if I’m shooting well and Casey comes in with a score close to or in front of mine, the next round I will try a lot harder to beat her and she does the same.”

Both ladies point to the great friendships they have made as well as the challenge of improving as their favourite aspects of the sport.

“I have travelled throughout NSW, VIC, ACT and New Zealand and I have found the shooters a welcoming bunch, especially if you are female. They have made me feel one of the team,” says Jan.

And both would like to see more women take up the shooting sports.

Jan says she would like to see women consider the shooting sports as an alternative to the ‘traditional’ sports such as netball, soccer and tennis.

“I think promoting shooting for the family is also important as I have met some amazing young girls shooting with their dads and let me tell you, they have youth on their side. Starting later, speaking for myself, was a disadvantage.”

Jan plays an active role in trying to promote the sport in her local area, having taken on the role of Publicity Office at SSAA Hay Branch as well as the position of SSAA NSW and SSAA National Vice Chairperson for the Shotgun discipline.

Casey echoes her mum’s words, suggesting more promotional material about the shooting sports not just aimed at women, but involving women.

“Articles like this can also really help,” Casey adds.

It’s clear that the friendly rivalry in the Jacka household will continue for some time to come and we wish both of them the very best.

 

Check back tomorrow for Part 3 in the week long series focusing on women in shooting.

 

Women in Shooting: Part 1 - Suzy Balogh

This week we will be looking at five women with varying levels of involvement in shooting and hunting in a special 5 part series. Today we start by catching up with Australian Gold medalist Suzy Balogh. In 2004, Suzy became the first Australian women to win Gold in a shooting event. Suzy is also a life member of the SSAA.

"Thrilled, humbled and proud."

Those are the words that Suzy Balogh uses to describe the historic moment at the Athens Olympic Games which saw her wearing an Olympic Gold medal around her neck and the Australian national anthem playing in the background.

“Thrilled that our Anthem was playing because of my efforts. Humbled that I was among such amazing Olympians who had stood there prior. Proud of myself for holding my nerve and for making my dream come true but also doing the best job I could for my country, my team, my family and my friends.”

It was in 2004 that Suzy wrote her name in our Nation’s sport history books as the first Australian woman to ever win Olympic gold in the shooting sports.

But Suzy’s historic achievement wasn’t an overnight success.

“You could pretty much say clay target shooting and also hunting was in my blood. I started clay shooting when I was 14, but was shooting ducks and rabbits well before then.”

Suzy grew up around firearms. Her grandfather owned a gunshop in Echuca while her father owned a gun shop in Queanbeyan.

So it was no surprise when she first began to get interested in the shooting sports.

“My Dad loved it when I finally took up shooting having previously been too busy with representative softball and netball.”

In fact, Suzy’s brother and younger sister are also shooters while her mum and other sister have always been supportive.

“I remember a fax sent to the Athens Olympic village from my sisters that read Balogh girls kick butt!”

Suzy says she has been fortunate that her friends and employers have also been supportive of her while she has pursued her lofty goals, saying she had taken many to the Range so they could see for themselves what the sport is all about.

“I think that through taking them to the range on open days, it has really helped them understand why I do it.”

Asked what she enjoys most about the shooting sports, Suzy says it’s all about the personal challenge that the shooting sports provide.

“It’s just me, my equipment and the target. It’s all about positive action thoughts – see the target shoot the target. You can never let self doubt sneak in. Putting myself at times under some extreme pressure, a variety of situations and conditions and seeing how I actually come out the other end is why I compete. I also simply love the adrenalin rush and exhilaration you get from high stakes competition.”

On the question of how organisations like SSAA NSW can encourage more women to consider taking up the sport, Suzy was unequivocal.

“Women love shooting just as much as the boys do!”

“I believe the more women that get involved with shooting the more protected, politically, the sport will be and the richer the shooting environment will be. So to get more women involved the first thing is using equipment that suits women. Clubs can start by getting ‘try’ guns that are suitable for women – shorter stocks, lighter firearms, lower recoil, smaller gauges – you don’t want to scare them away at the start because they can’t even see down the barrel or hold the thing up (there are women at world championships that shoot 20 gauges instead of 12 gauges).”

“Clubs could also provide ‘go to people’ for beginners. If every shooter is friendly, helpful, encouraging and particularly welcoming to the new shooters at their club; those new shooters may just love it so much they want to introduce our sport to their friends. So just by every one of us being welcoming to a new shooter male or female, each of us just may be able to secure the future of our sport.”

Suzy is passionate about introducing more people to the safe, fun and unique sport of shooting, and has established HITTING TARGETS to introduce people to the exhilarating sport of clay target shooting.

“I simply love watching people hit their first clay target. They truly get empowered and exhilarated when they hit that first target they also get quite excited about firing a real 12 gauge shotgun.”

For more information on HITTING TARGETS you can visit their website at www.hittingtargets.com.au

 

SSAA NSW would like to thank Suzy for taking time out of her busy schedule to speak with us. Tomorrow we will be continuing our look at women involved in shooting and hunting.

Federal Government announces violent crime forum in Western Sydney

With the Federal Election now just a matter of months away and the (unofficial) campaign in full swing, voters in key marginal seats - particularly those in Western Sydney - can expect to hear a lot more from the two major parties about "getting tough on crime."

Inevitably, that will lead to a discussion of firearms.

Federal Immigration Minister and Member for McMahon Chris Bowen is the first cab off the rank. Minister Bowen has announced a community forum addressing violent crime  will be held in his electorate.

Mr Bowen, in a letter to his constituents, says:

"There have been almost 200 shootings in NSW in the last two years, most in Western Sydney. Although law and order is mainly a State Government issue, the safety of the public should be the most important goal ..."

Once again it is disappointing to see that no distinction has been made between the thousands of licensed, law abiding firearm owners who use their guns responsibly and the criminals with illegal guns.

If you live in the McMahon electorate and would like to attend the forum the details are:

Wednesday 27 March
7:00 - 9:00pm
Smithfield RSL (cnr Cumberland Highway and Neville Street Smithfield)

Please note it is necessary to RSVP to Minister Bowen's office on 02 9604 0710 by Friday 22 March.

Licensed firearm owners want all levels of Government to get serious about the issue of illegal gun crime. But placing further restrictions on law abiding firearm owners is not the answer.

Are you going to attend the forum? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

SSAA Illawarra Branch help Clean up Australia

Seventeen members of SSAA Illawarra Branch braved the bad weather over the weekend to participate in the 25th Clean up Australia Day on Sunday March 3rd.

SSAA Illawarra Branch President Alois said that the Branch regularly participate in various community events including the Wollongong Rise and Shine Cleanup where they have been involved for more than ten years. The Branch has even received an Environmental Award for their continued participation.

Congratulations to the members of SSAA Illawarra Branch. Keep up the great work !!

If your Branch is active in the local community, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we can spread the word across the State.

Download SSAA NSW Standard Branch Constitution here