Courtesy of our friends at the Women of USPSA blog.
Maggie: I was really impressed with the stages at this year’s Nationals. Visually they were the best I have seen at a major match. You could really tell that the RO’s and staff put a lot of time into building walls, painting props, putting up sponsor logos, and creating a really great environment for us. The stages also had a great mix of challenges from hosing to technical shots with swingers and weak-hand shooting. All in all, I think we had a lot of diversity which is exactly what you want to say about a Nationals.
Women of USPSA: Couldn’t agree more! What do you think of the range/match location? Having shot both events, do you prefer the back-to-back format?
Maggie: I like being in Vegas. It’s close to home and there is always something fun to do after the match, if you have the time. I also like the back-to-back format. It puts me in the the right mindset and gives me a goal to work toward all year. For me, if the matches were split up, I don’t think I would have the same sense of urgency and motivation.
Women of USPSA: Back-to-Back seems to work very well for you! Now, you are relatively new to competing with Iron Sights. Was it difficult to transition after shooting and winning this year’s Ladies Open Multi-Gun National Title?
Maggie: You’re right, throughout the year I usually shoot Open, so the transition to Iron Sights was difficult. But that is part of the reason why I did it. I want to become a more well-rounded shooter. And I figured there’s no place like Nationals (where you can shoot 18 stages in three days) to challenge myself!
Women of USPSA: … and challenging they were! When did you start training for the Nationals, and how much was range time compared to dry firing?
Maggie: My time was limited this year, so I never had a dedicated Nationals practice session. Before USPSA Nationals I was at the IPSC Nationals, before that MultiGun Nationals, before that Steel Challenge, and the list goes on. My range time was spent getting gear ready and sighting in guns. My practice comes from the matches I shoot, with each one getting me ready for the next. And dry firing? I may preach it, but sadly I don’t practice it.
Women of USPSA: How would you describe your performances? Were you happy with your matches?
Maggie: I was happy with my performance. I try not to beat myself up (too much) over the things I could have done better and instead take each match as a learning experience.
Women of USPSA: Great approach! Do you lift weights or do grip strengthening exercises to specifically build your muscles used in shooting? What other kinds of physical training do you do?
Maggie: I just recently started a new workout program with a personal trainer. But I took a break before Nationals, I didn’t want to chance injuring myself before such a major match! It is a goal of mine to get in better shape and work on my noodle arms. It’s definitely something I think could help me with my shooting.
Maggie: I still feel new to all of this. I get ridiculously nervous before stages (I guess everybody does right?). I am constantly trying to learn how to control my nerves, remain focused, and do what I already know how to do. I’ll let you know when I figure it out!!
Women of USPSA: Please do! : ) Why do you think the participation is low for women in the iron sight divisions and what might we do to change that?
Maggie: I think there is a misconception that Open is easier (not true) and more fun (okay, I am biased, but that might be true). For newcomers though, production guns and traditional 1911’s are much more cost-friendly. We’ve all got to start bringing our friends and family out to the range and show them different options!
Women of USPSA: In other sports, top contenders compete together. Do you feel that USPSA should require that established shooters and national champions shoot together or do you feel that competitors should always have the option to choose? What are the pros and cons of shooting with the ladies?
Maggie: “Requiring” certain shooters to squad together might be taking it one step too far, but it is definitely ideal for top competitors to shoot together. There are a lot of pros, such as having established shooters and national champions shoot together makes it much easier on the press to cover the match and send out daily bulletins. It also allows top shooters to check their performance against their closet competitors. And it puts the same amount of pressure on the top competitors if they are all there together “under the spotlight”. For me personally, it’s an honor to shoot with the Ladies. These are the women I admire, and watching them perform gives me something to strive for and helps me focus my goals. I also consider each one a friend and shooting with friends is what makes each match fun. So….while I think ideally top competitors should compete together, I also think you should have a choice. Shooting should be about pushing yourself with your own personal goals and enjoying the experience with whomever you choose.
Women of USPSA: Thanks for your insight, Maggie! Now, based on your previously-mentioned extremely busy schedule, we’re guessing you’re not done shooting for the year. : ) Was this your last major match of 2010?
Maggie: This week I’m off to Area 2!
Women of USPSA: With the match season rather lengthy, how do you typically unwind after all the matches have settled down?
Maggie: Unwind? What’s that? There is always more shooting!!
Women of USPSA: We love your ambition! What are your long-term competitive shooting goals?
Maggie: World domination or, short of that, just finding a way to continue doing this thing I love so much and improving along the way. : )
Women of USPSA: If you weren’t a competitive shooter, what do you think you would be doing?
Women of USPSA: Then your dream has come true … nice! Do you have any special talents or skills that you would like to share with us?
Maggie: Sadly, no. I am a woman of limited abilities.
Women of USPSA: We don’t believe that for a second! When you aren’t on the road or at the range, what’s one of your favorite activities to do at home?
Maggie: When I’m not traveling, I love having movie nights at home with my boyfriend Mike, my dog Murphy, and lots of popcorn.
Women of USPSA: Do you have any advice for new shooters just starting out?
Maggie: The hardest part is showing up! But come out to the range, give it a try, and I guarantee you will meet a great group of people who will give you advice, loan you equipment, show you the ropes, and help you out in any way they can. This sport has some of the greatest people and all you have to do is show up.
Women of USPSA: Not that we couldn’t see by the tell tale trail of goodies you left behind – but to stay energized, what is your snack and beverage of choice on the range?
Maggie: Okay, okay, I’m a bit of a caffeine and sugar junkie. I make it through competitions by chugging Monster energy drinks and eating chocolate and sour candies. I am absolutely sure it’s been the key to my success.
Women of USPSA: Whatever works, right? : ) Finally, how did you and Mike celebrate your awesome finishes at the USPSA Handgun Nationals?
Maggie: We’ve been going, going, going since Nationals ! But we’re hoping to take a non-shooting related vacation in December and we will celebrate then.
Women of USPSA: Congratulations once again and thanks for taking the time from your super-busy schedule to chat with us! Let’s close by watching Maggie rock a few stages from the Nationals …