By Vera Koo, Women’s Outdoor News, Published February 7, 2017

Some people only find enjoyment in hobbies they can share with others, but I have never found this to be the case with shooting. Since I began sport shooting in my 40s, I have found it to be a rewarding individual sport.

I feel at peace when I am alone on the gun range.

Sure, you compete against other shooters, and you often see other shooters while practicing on the gun range.

You are not alone in a vacuum. At some events, you even compete on a team. At its core, however, sport shooting is just you, your gun and the targets.

I like that. Shooting, for me, is not some frivolous hobby where I gather with friends and gossip on the range. It is an endeavor I pour myself into and challenge my body and mind.

Throughout my life, though, I have found that everyone needs help sometimes, even in the most individualistic endeavors. Shooting is no different, and I have been blessed with many great friends and mentors who helped me advance my career to where it is today.

You see farther standing on the shoulders of a giant, and I needed to find giants within the sport to be my mentors.

When I started competitive shooting, I knew almost nothing about the sport.

Jim O’Young became my first mentor, and he remains a good friend and teacher to this day. It was like fate brought us together.

Jim is a shooting giant within Steel Challenge, a discipline that combines speed, athleticism and accuracy.

I had completed some gun training courses but was a no-name in the shooting sport when I met Jim in 1991. I had recently decided to start competing in sport shooting, but I needed direction. I had bought a competition gun but was not happy with how I was performing with it.

I spoke with my local gun range owner about my problem, and he recommended that I talk to Jim, who came to the range every Thursday. Jim would know what to do, the range owner said.

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