Jim O’Young was my mentor when I entered the competitive pistol shooting sports more than 25 years ago, and I trust his wisdom.
This time, though, I was skeptical.
“Vera, you’re going to compete again,” he told me.
My competition days are finished, I told Jim. I retired from action pistol shooting after the 2018 Bianchi Cup. At my age, I’m not about to return to the grind of unrelenting practice and travel that it takes to excel in that competition.
But Jim wasn’t calling to suggest my return to the Bianchi Cup. He proposed that I consider competing in shotgun shooting at the Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah.
I did some research and embraced his suggestion.
I plan to compete in the sporting clays shotgun shooting competition in October 2022, giving me less than a year-and-a-half to develop my shotgun skills so that I don’t embarrass myself.
I will be 75 years old and more than four years removed from my last action pistol competition by the time I compete. I do not expect to reach the same height of success that I did during my Bianchi Cup career. That is not the goal. Rather, I want to compete so that I have something to work toward. I function best when I have a plan. I need goals to stay motivated.
About the Huntsman World Senior Games
The Huntsman World Senior Games is the world’s largest annual multisport event for athletes 50 and older. The event features competitions in numerous sports, including archery, badminton, basketball, bocce, bowling, cycling, golf, horseshoes, pickleball, shooting sports, soccer, shuffleboard, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball and much more.
There’s even an opening ceremony that almost looks like a small-scale version of the Olympics opening ceremony. The competition is set among St. George’s beautiful red sandstone, providing idyllic scenery.
Knowing that I will compete next year at a high-stakes event featuring skilled athletes will push me to improve in a discipline I had no experience in until 2019.