By Jason Brown for NRABlog.com.
The numbers speak for themselves: more females are participating in the shooting sports than ever before. From 2006 to 2015, there has been a 57% increase in the number of American women of all ages engaging in sport shooting, with ladies representing 26% of all target shooters in 2015.
As more women join the ranks of shooting athletes, more young women follow suit, carving out their place in the competition and making an impact. Take a spin around social media, and you’ll likely find any number of young women earning sponsorships, winning matches and spreading the message of the shooting sports.
We’ve identified a group of young female competitive shooters leading the way in their sport, smashing stereotypes and putting the guys on notice.
1. Cheyenne Dalton
Cheyenne began shooting competitively in 2013, and has quickly become of competitive shooting’s brightest young stars. Having started by shooting rimfire challenge and USPSA in 2014, she moved into the 3-Gun arena in 2015. Cheyenne has won numerous state rimfire titles, and is a two-time Rimfire World Champion in the Limited Lady category, winning in 2014 and 2016. Outside of shooting, the 16-year-old Missourian loves the outdoors, where she likes to hunt and fish. Her skills don’t stop at shooting – she’s a bluegrass musician in her band, That Dalton Gang, where she plays violin, mandolin, guitar and upright bass.
2. Madalyn Stewart
Known for her trademark lime green guns, gear and shooting jersey, Madalyn, known as “3-Gun Maddie,” is a 14-year-old 3-Gun shooter from Wisconsin. Maddie started shooting competitively at age 10, accompanying her dad to Steel Challenge and USPSA matches before discovering 3-Gun. Aside from running through competitions, Maddie is active 4-H Shooting Sports and her local gun club’s NRA-sponsored Junior Rifle Club Marksmanship Program, plays volleyball and soccer, rides horses, and mentors younger students as they transition from elementary to middle school. Talk about well rounded!
3. Katelyn Francis
Katelyn, known as “3 Gun Katie”, describes herself as “just a girl with a gun”. Now 19, Katie is a veteran of 3-Gun shooting, having even been profiled by NRA’s America’s 1st Freedom. She first shot a gun — a Ruger .22LR single-action revolver — at age 5, and entered her first 3-Gun match in Kentucky before she was even a teenager. Katie said that in addition to travelling, meeting new friends and keeping her active in the outdoors, competitive shooting has taught her to respect firearms and handle them safely, and made her a more responsible teenager at both home and school.