There comes a time in every elite athlete’s life where they eventually succumb to the pain they place upon their body to perform the sport they love. Today is that day for reigning Olympic gold medalist Jamie (Beyerle) Gray (Lebanon, Pa.) as she reluctantly retires from her competitive rifle career.
No doubt that the gold medal she earned in London helped make the decision a little bit easier as did the new life she’s building in Kalispell, Mont. But more than that, Gray wasn’t willing to forego her long-term health for the opportunity to continue shooting.
Since 2010, Gray has tolerated a lower back that was unbearable at times and something that worsened each time she put in the training time necessary to compete at the very best. Simply put, her back could no longer bear the brunt and it told her so every time she tried.
“It has taken a toll on my body, mind and life since,” Gray acknowledged. “At the Olympics, I had three injections in my back after the air rifle match, which allowed me to be successful in smallbore.”
USA Shooting Team Physiologist Cathy Arnot described the condition like this: “She essentially has the wear-and-tear on her spine that could be expected of a 70-year-old woman.”
The severe pain and discomfort in her back began at the 2010 World Championships and has been with her every time she trains and competes. Arnot describes the injury as a degeneration of the facet joints located on both sides of the vertebrae. An MRI taken during the Olympic Games showed tearing and degeneration of the cartilage along several facet joints and a bulging disc. Just prior to her gold-medal performance in London, she received a cortisone injection without any anesthesia, at Jamie’s request, to relieve the pain.
She took a year off after London in hopes the rest would rectify the problem. But when she started picking up the gun again last October, the pain returned. For the first time, she was left to contemplate whether all the pain experienced over the past three years was worth it. Not only was the pain taxing on her body, but on her mind as well.
The orthopedists and neurologists that evaluated her came to the consensus that if she continued to compete, that the degeneration would continue to worsen, leading to daily pain and early arthritis of the spine. According to Arnot, her only alternative was a surgical fusion of her spine, but with no guarantee she’d be able to realistically compete afterwards.
“With this injury came everyday pain and the scare of never living life without pain again, which I am not willing to do,” she said. “I am a very active person and want to be able to do active things with my family for many years to come.”
“Jamie is one of the toughest competitors I have known in 23 years as a sport psychologist at the USOC,” said U.S. Olympic Committee Sport Psychologist Sean McCann. “Her toughness will be useful now as well. Ending an Olympic career early due to injury is one of the most difficult challenges an elite athlete faces, and it is especially hard if you know you are one of the best in the world. Although Jamie accomplished so much in her career, she had much more left in the tank, and it is very tough to leave a competitive life when you love competition as much as Jamie. All retiring Olympic athletes miss the focus, intensity and single minded-purpose of the athlete’s life. The challenge for Olympians in transition is harnessing their drive and talents to succeed in a post-athlete career.”
Competing as an Olympic athlete and earning an Olympic gold medal in London has provided Gray with unmatched perspective in terms of what the shooting sports has provided her. What began as a way to connect with her older brother, turned into a life-long love affair with a game that demands perfection, mental fortitude and the incessant need to educate the masses about a sport limited by its exposure, but yet driven by a passionate following.
“This sport has been part of my life since a very young age and has taught me so much,” Gray said. “USA Shooting has showed me immense support since I was 17, and I learned there is more to the Olympic movement than just the athletes. I have made shooting into a career and couldn’t have done that without the support of USA Shooting.”
Collegiate teammate and best friend Matt Emmons, a three-time Olympic medalist, says for all that the sport has given her, she too has played a part in giving back to the sport and he’s filled not with sadness today, but with joy and happiness.
“Jamie would tell you that she wasn’t the most talented shooter, but she was super motivated, focused, and worked harder than just about anyone,” he admits. “Over the years, she sacrificed a lot to make her dream come true. If I say ‘I’m happy for her,’ it’s because of these two reasons: first, her dream did come true. Even with injury, she lived the experience almost all athletes dream about – to go the Olympics, have the best competition of your life, and win a gold medal. She did that and I am so happy I was there to watch it happen. Next, I’m happy because now that she’s retired, she will be able to enjoy some of the things she sacrificed for that dream. Jamie’s absolutely not a one-dimensional person and she has plenty of other goals and interests. I’m excited to see her turn the page and start writing that next chapter in life.”
There’s much more about Jamie and what she’s meant to the sport. Please continue reading about her career by clicking here.
CCI Quiet-22 ammunition allows for ultra-quiet shooting with 75 percent less perceived noise than standard-velocity 22 Long Rifle.
The National Rifle Association’s (NRA)American Hunter magazine has awarded CCI Quiet-22 with the Golden Bullseye Award for 2014 Ammunition of the Year. The honor highlights the exceptional advantages CCI ammunition offers.
For the past 12 years, the NRA Golden Bullseye Awards have recognized the finest products in the shooting sports. After months of testing and evaluation, a seven-person committee, consisting of editors, graphic designers and veteran NRA Publications staff, presents awards to innovative products and companies that exceed the evaluators’ expectations.
CCI will accept this award during a special breakfast at the 2014 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits on Friday, April 25 in Indianapolis, Ind.
“We are extremely pleased to receive American Hunter’s Golden Bullseye Award,” said CCI Brand Director Rick Stoeckel. “Between this award and the overwhelming market response to CCI Quiet-22, we know we are providing a valuable tool for shooters everywhere. Quiet-22 is a great way to introduce new shooters to the sport.”
Ideal for shooting where noise may be an issue, CCI Quiet-22 produces 75 percent less perceived noise than a standard velocity 22 Long Rifle load. The ultra-quiet round is perfect for plinking or hunting, and for use by young or inexperienced shooters.
CCI Quiet-22 uses a standard 22 LR case, and the 710 fps muzzle velocity delivers excellent accuracy and better performance than air rifles with similar noise levels. Because the round produces only 68 decibels at the shooter’s ear, hearing protection is suggested but not required.
With media giving attention to yet another Michael Bloomberg-funded gun-control organization calling itself a gun “safety” group, the National Shooting Sports Foundation feels compelled to point out that credible, effective firearm safety efforts don’t involve divisive tactics, sanctimonious rhetoric and videos designed to frighten parents away from responsible firearm ownership.
Everytown for Gun Safety, the new umbrella group for Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Shannon Watts’ Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, will use an estimated $50 million in Bloomberg’s funds to pursue legislation that will do little to actually enhance firearm safety but instead would create a host of additional barriers to gun ownership by law-abiding Americans.
The new group’s unstated mission might well be “Everytown Without Guns.” It has no credibility with gun owners.
NSSF and the firearms industry have for decades been conducting effective safety initiatives that do not restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Our safety programs and those of other organizations have helped drive down firearms accidents to historic low levels, decreasing by 22 percent in the last 10 years. Less than 1 percent of all fatal accidents in the U.S. involve a firearm.
Real gun safety looks like this:
70 million gun locks included with new firearms in the last 15 years
36 million free firearm safety kits that include a gun lock distributed in communities through NSSF’s Project ChildSafe program, in partnership with 15,000 law enforcement departments
3.6 million requests for firearm safety materials fulfilled by NSSF in 2013 alone. Communities regularly turn to NSSF for its expertise and materials successfully promoting safe firearms handling and secure storage.
Only 1.5 percent of accidental fatalities among children 14 and under involve a firearm, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Motor vehicles, suffocation, drowning, fires, poisoning and falls rank ahead of firearms.
Any needless death is a tragedy. But we are the ones actually doing something about firearms safety and preventing accidents. Even at $50 million, talk is cheap.
The First Dakota Classic was held this past weekend in Yankton, South Dakota, and Team Hoyt shooters were once again on top of the podium in the Men’s and Women’s Pro Divisions. The tournament, contested indoors at distances of 40, 50 and 60 yards is the 3rd stop in the NFAA 3-Star Tour, and also features a shoot-off for a brand new car for archers that compete in all three events.
Erika Jones, the #1 ranked shooter in the world and winner of the 2nd leg of the tour (NFAA Indoor Nationals), continued her hot streak with an impressive performance in Women’s Pro that would have placed her right in the mix with the top 10 men. Jones was 18 points ahead of her nearest competitor. Team Hoyt’s Jamie Van Natta took home 3rdplace in Women’s Pro. Both Jones and Van Natta choose the proven Hoyt Pro Comp Elite to take into competition.
On the Men’s side, two of the world’s best finished the competition tied, and the winner was determined after a very close shoot-off. Reo Wilde took on his Team Hoyt teammate, Jesse Broadwater, in a very closely contested shoot-off that took 15 arrows to decide. Both archers put on a show for the crowd, and Wilde walked away victorious. Wilde and Broadwater also shoot the Pro Comp Elite as their bow of choice.
In the car shoot-off, archers begin at a distance of 20 yards and move on only if they hit a perfect bulls-eye. For every perfect shot, the group moves back 5 yards until there is only one archer left standing, and they get to drive away in a brand new Ford Mustang! Team Hoyt pro, and 3D Superstar Sam Wolthuis made it back to 50 yards and walked with the keys!
Congrats to Team Hoyt shooters for all of their continued success in this year’s NFAA 3-Star Tour. For more information on how you can get your hands on the best shooting bows in the world, visit Hoyt.com and your local Authorized Hoyt Dealer!
In his first major political investment since leaving office, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans to build a nationwide network aimed at curbing gun violence and battling the National Rifle Association, according to published reports.
Bloomberg told the New York Times that he is planning to spend $50 million this year to establish the grassroots gun control lobbying group, called Everytown for Gun Safety.
The new organization will encompass two other Bloomberg-funded gun control groups – Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America – and will first take aim at expanding background checks for gun buyers both at the state and national levels, according to the Times.
Everytown for Gun Safety will borrow from some of the NRA’s field operation tactics to grow influence, targeting mothers and other women that might be swayed on gun issues. The group has already targeted 15 states across the country with varying views on gun control, with the goal of recruiting 1 million new supporters.
“Right now, women, when they go to the polls, they vote on abortion, they vote on jobs, they vote on health care,” Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts told the Times. “We want one of those things to be gun violence prevention.”
Bloomberg said he wanted work with both parties on gun control efforts and assembled an advisory board of Republican and Democratic officials, philanthropists and investors.
The former mayor’s $50 million contribution would more than double the NRA’s $20 million in annual spending on political activities, the Times reports. Bloomberg hinted that his contributions to the cause could grow.
“I put $50 million this year, last year into coal, $53 million into oceans,” he told the Times. “Certainly a number like that, $50 million. Let’s see what happens.”
Bloomberg and Watts will appear on NBC’s TODAY show Wednesday morning to talk about the group, according to NBC News.
Stoeger Industries is pleased to announce the formation of their 3-Gun Team with the signing of Ryan Muller and Jesse Tischauser.
An engineer by profession, Muller is a lifetime member of the NRA, certified firearms instructor and competes on the 3-Gun Nation Pro Series circuit. In addition to the Pro Series, in 2014 he will compete in over 20 local, state and national 3-Gun competitions. Growing up in the Midwest, Muller is not only a competitive shooter, but is also an avid hunter who enjoys whitetail, pheasant, duck, and turkey hunting.
“When I discovered 3-Gun, I really liked it because it requires you to master more than one platform to be successful,” Muller said. “It also requires 100% reliability in your guns for success and my Stoeger Model 3000 gives me all the confidence I need, even under the most stressful and rugged conditions.”
A lifelong shooting enthusiast, Tischauser entered competitive shooting in 2009. A former Army staff sergeant, he made a quick run to the top of the leaderboards at major matches across the country. Refining the shooting skills he learned from his father and the military, he found that meeting the challenges of competitive shooting was relatively easy. In 2013, Tischauser won several major matches and his first national title.
My father was a Vietnam veteran and held an FFL, so I grew up around guns, shooting and hunting,” Tischauser described. “I have yet to find a shooting sport I don’t love.”
“Getting into 3-Gun competition relatively recently, both Ryan Muller and Jesse Tischauser have accomplished much in their quick rise to the top,” said Tom Kaleta, Benelli’s VP of Marketing. “Their goal is to not only improve their performance in competition with Stoeger products, but also to be advocates for all shooting sports and the 2nd Amendment.”
Field & Stream debuted its May “What’s Next” issue today, featuring hunting celebrity and TV host Eva Shockey on the cover. Shockey, who stands with her trademark bow, is only the second woman ever to appear solo in a photograph on the cover of the 119-year-old magazine. The “What’s Next” issue offers expert opinions on what the future holds for hunting and fishing. Field & Stream’s May issue is available on newsstands and on the iPad this week.
Shockey, the costar of Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures on Outdoor Channel, offers her predictions on what the future holds for hunting and the 3.35 million women currently participating in the sport for an interview featured in the issue. Female hunters’ ranks grew by 10 percent from 2008 to 2012, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and Shockey predicts the numbers will continue to rise. She cites growth in sales to women at major retailers like Bass Pro Shops and the number of media outlets highlighting hunting and women in the outdoors as positive indicators. Shockey thinks the increase will lead to another first in the near future: the first-ever hunting show hosted exclusively by a woman.
“The steady and growing number of women who are becoming hunters is really transformative for the outdoor sports,” said Anthony Licata, editorial director of Field & Stream. “As a spokeswoman for that change, Eva was a clear choice for the cover of our ‘What’s Next’ issue.”
Shockey is only the second woman whose photograph has appeared solo on the magazine’s cover. The first was Queen Elizabeth, who was featured with her hunting dogs in a January 1976 image, and there have been a handful of women who appeared in groups with men on the cover. From the magazine’s launch in 1895 until 1972, the publication featured illustrated covers, which frequently portrayed women, especially prior to the World Wars. Once the magazine made the shift to photography, its cover focused primarily on outdoor settings, wildlife, and hunting and fishing gear as opposed to people, which is a theme that largely continues today. Editorially the magazine has supported outdoorswomen with a series of regular columns and blogs, starting in the 1890s and continuing today.
The May issue of Field & Stream also features a number of other forward-looking predictions for the world of hunting and fishing, including expected growth in another segment: urban hipsters, suburban locavores, homesteaders, and others who have come to care where their food comes from—as outdoorsmen always have. These groups are flocking to hunting, and the magazine predicts this trend will continue. On the conservation front, Field & Stream editor-at-large Kirk Deeter predicts that the potentially catastrophic Pebble Mine, proposed for Alaska’s Bristol Bay region, will die under pressure from citizens and the government, marking a major win for outdoorsmen looking to protect the world’s most prolific wild salmon and trout fishery. An increase in the use of drones, crossbows, and modern sporting rifles is also expected. The issue also details 100 new and most-improved hotspots for hunting and fishing in every state.
Remington has announced a voluntary safety recall of Model 700 and Model Seven rifles with X-Mark Pro, or XMP triggers manufactured between May 1, 2006 and April 9, 2014.
Any rifles made after April 9, 2014 are not subject to recall.
Remington discovered that rifles equipped with the XMP trigger can fire unintentionally. This is very dangerous and potentially fatal if not addressed. This problem is specific to the XMP trigger only. All other Model 700 and Model Seven rifles are unaffected by this recall.
The cause of the problem is “excess bonding agent being applied in the assembly process,” not the trigger itself.
“While Remington has the utmost confidence in the design of the XMP trigger, it is undertaking this recall in the interest of consumer safety to remove any potential excess bonding agent applied in the assembly process,” states the recall notice.
The XMP triggers can be identified by their smooth faces. Rifles with serrated trigger faces are not affected.
For a right-handed rifle, the serial number is located on a user’s left. For a left-handed rifle, the serial number is located on a user’s right.
If you think your rifle may be affected by this recall, call Remington at 1 (800) 243-9700 with your gun’s serial number. The serial number is marked on the barrel at the receiver.
If your rifle falls into this recall contact Remington immediately and do not use or fire it. These guns shouldn’t even be loaded.
Even if you’re unsure if your rifle fits the criteria please confirm your serial number is not on the list of affected rifles.
“If you own a rifle subject to this recall, Remington will provide shipping, inspection, specialty cleaning, and return at no cost to you,” states the recall. “DO NOT attempt to diagnose or repair your rifle yourself.”
It is not necessary to ship firearms through an FFL for service. They can be shipped via Fed-Ex directly to Remington and then back to the owner’s home address.
NEWTOWN, Conn. — Smith & Wesson has stepped up to become a Gold Sponsor of the NSSF Industry Summit, the National Shooting Sports Foundation announced.
The 2014 edition of the Industry Summit will take place June 9-11 in Springfield, Mass., the city where Smith & Wesson maintains its headquarters and manufacturing facilities.
“We are very pleased to have the generous support of this iconic firearms company for the Industry Summit,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “As a Gold Level sponsor, Smith & Wesson recognizes the importance of the Industry Summit and its long-term value to every segment of the shooting sports community.”
At the Summit, leaders representing the firearms industry, state wildlife agencies, conservation organizations and shooting sports and hunting groups will share ideas to help shape a positive future for the shooting sports.
Many programs that have helped increase participation in target shooting and hunting in the past 18 years can trace their roots to NSSF Industry Summits.
More information about the NSSF Industry Summit, registration, schedules, accommodations and sponsorship opportunities can be found at the Summit website at http://www.nssf.org/IndustrySummit/.
Executors for Elvis Presley’s estate have launched legal action against Beretta firearms manufacturers over the unauthorized use of his image.
The rock legend was well-known for his love of guns, and bosses at Beretta appear to be using that knowledge to advertise their brand of weapons with the depiction of Elvis in commercials for their new model 692 shotgun.