Oct 2013—Lauren Mueller
Illinois’ Lauren Mueller is the first woman to win the Grand American All-Around title. She matched 397 with All-American Richard Marshall Jr. and went to shootoff to earn it. She said, “There’s a lot of comments, like, ‘It’s good shooting whether you’re a female or not,’ but it’s inspiration to other ladies,” she said. “I’m just surprised I am the first lady because there are so many unbeliveable great lady shooters.”
During the shootoff the two were nailing their shots and matching hits one for one. Lauren said she was prepared to go another 40 shots. As the shootoff went 20 singles, 10 doubles, then going into the handicap, no one had missed. “It wasn’t over yet in my mind. I was ready to keep going. I was prepared to go hit another 40.”
When asked if she was nervous before the shootoff, she said, “I was about to start shaking. I was really nervous, but after the first two targets, which I barely broke, I shut it off and was just shooting. It was like shooting league at night.”
At the end of the shootoff, Ricky missed the last target. “It took a few seconds to process,” Lauren said. “My jaw dropped. I was in shock for a second, it took a little bit to sink in.” Then when it did, everyone erupted into cheers. “That’s when it started sinking in, all the cameras in my face, I was getting my hand shook and getting all the hugs.”
Lauren fired her first ATA targets in November 2003 at age 11. She blasted her first 200 when she was 14 years old at the Ohio State Shoot. She posted her first 100 in doubles when she was 13 at the 2006 Indiana State Shoot. She’s still going for the 100 in handicap, having posted a few 99s. She made it to the 27-yard line at age 15.
Lauren is a senior at Lindenwood University (St. Charles, Mo.). Their shooting team has earned 10 consecutive ACUI championships, and she has been on the last three teams and going into her fourth. Lauren and ATA’er Zach Nannini are co-captains of the team, and Lauren is the ladies’ team captain.
The team practices on Mondays and Wednesdays, shooting 100 targets in the fall, and in the spring they can get in 150. They get a case of shells for weekend practice—all AAs.
Lauren changed her major from biology to business and will extend her studies an extra semester, graduating in December 2014. She loves the business courses and hopes to work in the shooting industry for Federal or Remington.
The Lindenwood shooting team will be going to ATA tournaments, including the Missouri Fall Handicap and Spring Grand in Tucson. And they are set to go to the ACUI Championships in SanAntonio, Texas.
T&F: When you started shooting in 2004, what were your goals?
LM: I grew up around it with my grandpa—Larry Mohr. He built Brittany Shooting Park in Bunker Hill, Ill. I just thought it was fun to go and shoot a gun. After I started shooting, the Illinois ATA Delegate Jim Matteson told me about the All-American team. I started getting interested in that, and I was determined to make the team. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I managed to stay on there for six of the last seven years. That was my goal, to stay on the All-American team.
T&F: What gun do you shoot, and what shells?
LM: I shoot a Kolar. I got it for my 17th birthday, so I’ve had it for four years now. I met Bill Martin for the first time at the Central Zone Shoot at Brittany a week before the Grand, and he let me shoot his Kolar. I broke a 19, nothing impressive, but I really liked the gun. I told him I liked it, and if it was fitted, that would really be a great gun to shoot. A week later on my birthday, Aug. 11, I was unloading my empties out of my bag outside the motorhome. I looked over at the table, and I saw a Kolar case sitting on it. I asked my dad, what is this? My birthday present? He said, “I have no idea how that got there.” As it turned out Bill said he knocked on my camper a couple of times, and I must have been out shooting. When nobody answered the door, he just left it outside the camper. And his brother Pete got me the Wenig stock. I really appreciate it. I want them to know I am so super excited about it, and I am really appreciative.
I went to Kolar, and Jeff Mainland fitted the gun, and they took great care of me. I had it all done in one day.
All the guys on my squad shoot Federal, so I started shooting them. There is less kick, and they are just an all-around better shell. I had just decided to try them one day last summer and loved them.
Members of my squad are Paul Vonburg, Mike Jordan, Frank Payne and John Kravanek. During the Grand Marvin Beumer shoots with us, and Mike shoots with Remington. All are from Illinois, except Marvin is from Missouri.
T&F: Did you take any clinics? How did you learn to shoot?
LM: I learned from watching and talking with other shooters, but I mainly learned from my grandfather. He got me started. Got me where I am today. Everybody on my squad has helped me along the way too.
I’ve been shooting with the squad for four plus years. When they asked me to be on the squad, I felt like I was shooting with the big dogs. Oh my gosh, I thought, I can’t mess up. Now if we shoot with other people, it’s just not the same. We all watch each other’s targets, we all watch each other’s back. If we’re doing something wrong, we tell each other. It’s great.
T&F: What do you like about shooting?
LM: It’s great because it’s a stress reliever for one thing. If you’re having a bad day, you just go out and blow some targets, and it makes you feel better. I’m a really competitive person, so I like being at school because there are so many good shots. I like going to all the big ATA shoots, hearing stories, hanging out and meeting a lot of people. The whole scene, really. I really am competitive.
T&F: What is your most memorable win?
LM: Definitely this Grand. I probably will never forget this Grand. I had a great two weeks. It just kind of clicked. It was one of those things where everything just came together at the right time.
T&F: Who are shooters you admire?
LM: Definitely Leo. He was No. 1. He was super and a great guy, and he would help anyone. I definitely looked up to him. He will be missed.
And Rick Marshall. He’s a great guy. He would help anybody out. Everybody likes him. Mike Jordan is one of the best. Also John Kravenek, but I don’t know if I’d want to admit that to him cause we give each other a bunch of crap. He’s one of those people who gets you toughened up so when other people give you crap, it doesn’t hurt as much. So we have little competitions all the time, like he’ll break a 100 in doubles and he’ll rub it all in on me. We like to give each other a lot a crap. I look up to him a lot, too.
T&F: What are your future goals?
LM: To make All-American ladies’ captain. I hope to get that. Maybe win another few rings if I can. Hopefully I’ll get a collection, not just have one. Those are my goals. To continue to have shoots like I did at the Grand. Keep my head in it, stick with it, and hopefully win some more.
T&F: What would you say to aspiring young shooters, maybe even to older shooters?
LM: I would say we all have bad days, but you definitely can’t let that get in your head. You just have to keep looking toward breaking the next target and keep practicing and striving for your goals. Set your goals high, but attainable. Keep looking at your goals and keep building on from there.
T&F: Your family has been a big support to you, haven’t they?
LM: My grandpa Larry Mohr has been a big influence. I can give most of my credit to him because he gives me shells and practice. He’s the one that got me into shooting. He’s the one that coached me when I first got started, and he has been a really good shot. He has told me a lot of stories and introduced me to a lot of people.
My dad Donny has been great, and my mom (Michelle) is my biggest supporter. She has taken me everywhere I’ve ever gone. She has always supported me for everything. I’ve seen parents get down hard on their kids if they have a bad shooting day, like if they break an 80 one day or something. My mom just told me to wipe it off; there’s always another event. She’s super supportive.
T&F: Where’s your favorite place to shoot?
LM: Let me think: Brittany Shooting Park, most definitely!
By Terry Heeg, editor, Trap & Field
Mike Jordan, 2012 Trapshooting Hall of Fame honoree, had this to say about Lauren:
Winning the All-Around is a lifetime achievement. Few of us will do that. Lauren started shooting as a youngster and worked her way up. She worked hard and loves to shoot. The sport is giving her a good education and probably a great advocation and vocation. She is a nice young lady, and I enjoy being around her. She is grounded and can stay calm. She is from a good Midwestern family. Her grandpa Larry Mohr started the Brittany Shooting Park. Her fantastic perfomance as this year’s Grand shows her progression.
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