In this article, posted at the NRA’s “Shooting Sports USA,” Vera Koo explains why it became time to retire from shooting sports. In fact, she pinpoints the exact moment she decided that her days of running race guns needed to end.
I was precise in everything I did throughout my sport shooting career. I was precise in the way I practiced. I was precise in the way I ate in the weeks leading up to a match. I was precise in the way I prepared my guns and equipment for competition. So I suppose it is no coincidence that I can pinpoint the precise moment I decided to retire from sport shooting.
It was 8:23 p.m., May 23, following the first day of competition at the Bianchi Cup. I was in my hotel room in Columbia, MO. I had been watching a movie called Tale of Tales while eating dinner. When the movie ended, I put my left hand on my right forearm, and I felt it.
I felt the lack of strength and muscle mass in my arm. I knew my body was not serving me anymore. In that moment, I decided it was time to retire.
I did not tell anyone just yet. I finished the Bianchi Cup after two more days. It became my final match—a fitting place to end my career, considering how much the Bianchi Cup taught me.
Even in my 21st year competing in the Bianchi Cup, the competition can still surprise me. After all, I did not travel to Columbia thinking I was on the brink of retiring.
Leading up to this year’s Bianchi Cup, I knew I was in for an enormous challenge. The World Action Pistol Championship and Bianchi Cup were being held in succession in Columbia, allowing me two days of rest between the major competitions. While it marked my ninth appearance in the WAPC, this year was unique in that the events were held in back-to-back fashion.
At 71 years old, I knew competing in two high-pressure matches in such a short time would test my physical and mental endurance and push me to my limit. I prayed for decent scores.
That did not happen.
I shot poorly in the world match. Nonetheless, my partner, Jessie Harrison, and I placed third in the Women’s division, thanks to Jessie’s fine shooting. I followed that with a mediocre showing at the Bianchi Cup.
Rather than becoming frustrated by my scores, I am grateful God led me down this path. Had I performed better, I probably would have felt compelled to push on for another year or two.
Instead, I walk away knowing that the time is right. I am at peace with my decision.
After I finished the competition, I found my friend Cathy Ergovich, who owns a custom-molded ear plug business called “What-Ya-Say,” and told her that this was my final match.
Word traveled fast.
I am normally not one for a lot of socializing around matches. I never take pictures. But this was different. This was my final Bianchi Cup.