Have you ever watched the shooting competition in the Summer Olympic Games and wondered how those shooters got started, what training was involved and who supported their training? While everyone is in the Olympic spirit, we’d like to share an insider’s view of USA Shooting through a Q&A with Kinsey Robinson, President of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers, who serves on the USA Shooting Board as Secretary.
USA: What originally drew you to become involved with USA Shooting?
Robinson: Being an avid hunter and sporting clays shooter, I had the opportunity over the years to come in contact with other likeminded sportsmen that are supporters of USA Shooting. The shooting sports have given my family and me so much, and now I had been introduced to an avenue to give back to the sport we all love.
USA: How do you feel the organization complements your own personal goals and beliefs?
Robinson: My wife Mona and I have a strong commitment to promote shooting as a safe and responsible family sport. We have worked with children and young adults so that they may experience the safe handling of firearms, the joy of recreational shooting and the spirit of competition. USA Shooting’s mission is to promote shooting sports in America, govern the conduct of international shooting in the United States and, most importantly, prepare athletes to win Olympic and Paralympic medals. I feel the mission of USA Shooting is taylor-made for my personal goals and beliefs.
USA: What is one of your proudest accomplishments of the organization?
Robinson: I’m not certain that I have accomplished anything singularly, but having the privilege to serve on the Board of Directors leading up to, and during, the last two Olympic Games was most satisfying. In Beijing, China, our talented and dedicated athletes won six medals. At the London Olympics, they won four medals, of which three were gold, maintaining the United States as a powerhouse in the world of competitive shooting.
USA: Why do you feel USA Shooting is vital to competitive shooting?
Robinson: USA Shooting is the face of competitive shooting in America today. They have the ability to assist aspiring athletes to develop their shooting skills to become high-level competitors and Olympians. The professionals at USA Shooting promote shooting instructor programs throughout the country, help bring new local gun ranges on line and mentor our junior shooters to assure their development into athletes capable of winning Olympic medals.
USA: What opportunities do you see available to those interested in competitive shooting that USA Shooting is able to offer?
Robinson: USA Shooting proactively attracts an audience of younger shooters and develops a pool of athletes that have energy and a competitive spirit. A sterling example is the success of the Junior Olympic Shotgun program. This program develops aspiring champions through excellent coaching and intense competition at the early stages of a young shooter’s career. The program has produced many top shooters that have gone on to win medals at the Olympic Games, World Championships and World Cups. At 17 years of age, Kim Rim Rhode became the youngest female gold medalist in Olympic shooting history and has now won five medals at five consecutive Olympic Games. With this successful model in place, our objective is to duplicate the Junior Olympic Shotgun program by creating Junior Olympic Teams for the rifle and pistol disciplines.
USA: Moving into your new term, what are your main objectives and goals for the organization?
Robinson: My wish list includes having more shooting clubs offer international style shooting, meaning Olympic trap (known as bunker) and double trap, Olympic skeet and the various rifle and pistol disciplines. I would also like to see a greater effort to reach out to young people to familiarize them with pistol shooting, as America’s pool of pistol athletes is rather small compared to other competitive countries. And I hope to be of a value in helping the organization prepare for this year’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
USA: This is the last term you are eligible to serve on the board; do you have plans to remain involved with organization after your term?
Robinson: Directors are limited to four two-year terms, and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve, including two terms as the organization’s secretary. I fully intend to remain available to assist the Board and athletes in any way that I may be requested. I will continue to be member the Bunker Club Committee, which serves, and reports directly to the Board.
USA: Can you explain your involvement with USA Shooting’s Bunker Club and the purpose of that program?
Robinson: The Bunker Club was formed in 1998 by Col. Dennis Behrens to raise funds to pay for 60 new international trap machines at the International Shooting Park in Colorado Springs. When the mission of restoring the Park with new equipment was completed, the Bunker Club turned their sights on funding an endowment to provide a reliable source of support for our athletes, with grants to help cover training and competition expenses. The Athlete Endowment has now reached 50% of its goal and will soon be able to provide a perpetual source of funding to foster junior and elite athlete talent. The Athlete Endowment is essential to the future success of our shooting program and Olympic efforts.
USA: How is Mona involved in USA Shooting?
Robinson: Mona is a supporting member of the Bunker Club and has been actively involved since its founding. She stays active with fundraising and the Club’s annual social gathering. She also works with management, coaches and athletes at USA Shooting in our continuing efforts to have the strongest shooting team in the world.
USA: Can you talk a little about you personal experience as a competitive shooter – how you got started, some of your greatest achievements, etc?
Robinson: I’m a hunter at heart and have spent my entire life around guns and in the field in pursuit of game, feathered or furred. Along with Mona, I took up competitive shooting in the 1980s to supplement our hunting activities. Although I’m a steadfast supporter of international style shooting, my discipline is sporting clays. I do shoot an occasional round of bunker or international skeet and, in recent years, have limited my sporting clays shooting to the casual weekend shoot or charity events such as those hosted by Ducks Unlimited and the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance. Mona and I have been fortunate to win our share of individual and team tournaments. But my achievement is that I have been able to spend a lifetime outdoors with my father, my wife and my brothers and sisters in the labor movement enjoying our shooting traditions.