Tracey – Right on target
Tracey has achieved an extraordinary level of success in her chosen sport, 10 metre air rifle target shooting. In 2014, she talked to us about how the sport helps her to travel around Australia and meet different people and helps others to see past her disability.
How did you first get involved in shooting?
I have always had a secret love for guns, big ones or small, anything with fire power. I had only ever shot one rifle in my life before this and loved it. So when Muscular Dystrophy Queensland sent me a notice for a “come and try” weekend at Belmont Shooting Range last year I accepted with much excitement and anticipation. I had set my mind on shooting pistols however when I got to try one I found it way too heavy for me. I was devastated because I so badly wanted to shoot. The assistant Olympic Coach was there on the day and asked me if I would like to try shooting a rifle. I was given a stand to rest the rifle on and fired off half a dozen shots. To my amazement my grouping (shooters talk) was very good, enough to impress the Olympic Coach. He asked me if I would be interested in coming back and getting involved in shooting as a competitive sport and well the rest is history. I haven’t stopped since that day and I love it so much.
Winning a bronze medal in my first interstate competition in Sydney last year competing against Olympic champions; Becoming Queensland State Champion in late 2013 and achieving 3 personal bests and 2 bronze medals at the International Grand Prix Sydney in February this year. I also love it when strangers approach you at the airport to ask about your medals (which I always wear home…if you’ve got them, why not show them to the world) and ask if they can have a photo with you to show their family. Now I would have to say that’s pretty cool!
Whether it’s for fun or in competitions, club shoots or interstate this is the best thing I have ever done. I thought my calling was in drag racing (another story in another life) now I would have to say shooting is my calling, fancy finding this out so late in life – not that I’m old! I just mean with my inability to do things as well anymore, I find shooting and I’m rather good at it. Not to mention I LOVE IT. Shooting has opened a door for me to enjoy myself with people that have a love for the same thing as me. Other people see me as just another person and not the disabled person in a chair. I find shooting a way to de-stress and even though competitions are stressful, when I shoot I’m in my own little world and I find it relaxing and yet very exciting at the same time. I can’t wait to get to training every week and wish I could do it full-time.
Observations and obstacles:
Since getting the chance to travel around Australia, something I haven’t done much of in my life, I have found flying really easy. The airlines are very good when it comes to people like us (special), you just have to ask and so far I haven’t had a problem. Now, finding accommodation, well that’s not so easy. When you’re looking for a room always call and ask for photos – especially of the bathroom because some places haven’t got a clue.
You’re probably wondering how I manage funding my travel on a pension. I am always looking for grants to help in any way. Last year I received a grant for my shooting jacket from Sporting Dreams Foundation. I am also a member of the Sporting Wheelies Association who help with travel and uniform expenses. There are other grants out there and I’m always on the look out for them. At the beginning of the year I sat down and worked out my schedule and estimated costs then I went looking for grants etc. and put together a budget for the year. It’s always good to be prepared.