Steamboat Springs With both hands on the grip of a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, Boulder's Diane Nicholl took careful aim at a small orange target about 50 feet down range on Saturday.
She squeezed the trigger and less than a second later, the expression on her face, and a small cloud of dust just behind the target made it clear how close she had come to hitting the mark.
"It's just like the sport of golf," Nicholl said of shooting. "You just send a projectile toward a target and hope you hit it. It's just a lot of fun."
In fact, the idea behind the annual Colorado Women's Charity Shoot is to introduce women to the fun they can have in the sport of shooting. The event also raises money for the Northwest Colorado Aid and Support Group. That group, which is run through the Visiting Nurse Association, offers aid to folks for medical expenses that are often not covered by insurance. It also helps to cover expenses that the whole family might endure during an illness.
A total of 25 shooters came from around the state to compete in the event which has been running for seven years. The last three years, it has been held in Steamboat Springs at the local range west of town.
"We were pretty happy with the numbers we had," organizer Lorna Farrow said. "We had hoped for a bigger local turnout, but the numbers were pretty good."
Farrow added that local numbers may have been off since haying season started so early this summer. Some of the local ranching women, who normally support the event, were noticeably absent.
Nine of the women shooting last weekend came from Routt and Moffat counties. The other 16 came from other parts of Colorado.
Farrow said the shooters were a mix of women with experience and a few newcomers. While the idea is to introduce new shooters to the sport, the event also offers a great outing for those women who have shot before.
"It's just a lot of fun," Nicholl said.
To help make the newer shooters more at ease, the organizers offered an introductory session on Friday night. The women's charity event was Saturday and there was a couples shoot on Sunday to wrap things up.
The women's event used the Lewis scoring system. The format tunes down the competitiveness by dividing the scores into fifths. It's unique because someone may hit 28 targets and finish last in his or her division. Another shooter my hit 27 and finish at the top of the other division.
"It doesn't take into account how you have shot in the past or even how you shoot today," Farrow said. "It's totally random."
The shooters within a group are then rated 1-2-3. So the only way to guarantee a win is to hit the most targets outright. Winners were awarded silver bowls. Organizers also handed out a .28 gauge shotgun and a Glock pistol in random giveaways.
Boulder's Bardara Philips was the top shooter for the weekend, placing first in the AA class. She was followed by Maryann Huber of Littleton and Nicholl in third.
In the A class, it was Lyons' Christa Isenhart winning. Laura Tyler of Craig was second and Shannon Gore of Hayden was third.
In the B class, Sharyn Hendee of Estes Park was first, Bethany Lockhart of Steamboat was second and Penny Jolie of Highland's ranch was third.
Angelique Harran of Boulder won the C class. Larkspur's Edna Devai-Alth was second and Littleton's Pam Stevenson was third.
Steamboat shooters dominated class D. Harriet Freiberger won; Maureen Hogue was second and Missy Wilhelm was third.
On Sunday, many of the same women paired up with their male counterparts for a couples event. In all 25 couples took part in the shoot.
To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org