MEMBER PROFILE – Taylah May

When you meet someone for the first time, it is almost impossible to avoid questions like ‘where are you from’ and ‘what do you do in your spare time.’ Whenever I tell them that I shoot competitively I get the following comment of ‘Wow, that is so cool! How did you get into that?’

Since I can remember, I wanted to try archery because that is what my Dad did as a kid and as he got older, he moved from archery to rifle shooting. Naturally, I adopted these sports as my own since I already had someone who was very knowledgeable at my disposal 24/7.

I was thirteen years old the first time I tried shooting. I started out like most other juniors; with a hire gun on the bench and a single box of ammunition which disappeared quite quickly. When I started out, I never thought that it would’ve ended the way that it has. Just a short while after I started shooting, I experienced my first state championship. The feeling I had while competing was the final thing that I needed to get me hooked. Even though I didn’t do fantastic at that competition, I have never looked back and am thankful for my Dad insisting on me going to give it a try.

I can still remember that competition like it was yesterday, the whole family drove to Townsville in a very cramped car. The state title consisted of a Silhouette match, a Field rifle match and a round of bench rest. When people watch me shoot now, I constantly get told that I am “just a natural and have an eye for it.” But in my first proper match of Silhouettes at the State championship, I scored a whopping five out of a possible forty targets. I won’t lie, it was very disheartening for me as a new shooter and for a little while I believed that I wouldn’t ever stick with the sport because I was so bad at it. It was that feeling though that made me so determine to come back stronger at the next competition to prove to myself that I could do better. At current, by personal best for Rimfire Silhouettes is thirty-one in a standard hunter match, it was a painstakingly slow process to get from five to thirty-one but that is all part of our sport.

Over the years I have made friends with other juniors across Australia, and I have been able to grow as a shooter alongside them. For the last three years, whenever I would go to a junior state championship, we would always have our own micro competitions to see who would win each event out of the two of us. The junior program has not only allowed me to make new friends with similar interests but has taught me discipline and patience which has been essential to me starting university.

Now that I no longer fall under the junior category, I still train hard and compete, but I also help out new junior shooters that are committed to the sport and are wanting to compete. When I do this, they are always comparing their own score to the other juniors or even the adults that have been doing this for twenty plus years. Other than showing them the basics of competing I always stress to them that the only shot that counts at any given time is the one that is loaded into the chamber, it doesn’t matter what the person beside you is doing or if the last shot you took was a solid hit, a 10.1 or a complete miss. You just have to focus on making the one you have being the best shot you can possibly take. When they start to understand this and take their own pressure away they are able to see and feel a change in their shooting. It is that progression no matter how small that always get a new shooter passionate about the sport.