“When Tiffany told me she matched me with her 200 in the Singles Championship, it was like déjà vu – like old times,” her dad Alan Helfer said. “We both did the same thing back in Phoenix at the 1999 Spring Grand.”

 “I never expected to shoot as well as I did!” Tiffany exclaimed to T&F from her home in Fort Collins, Colorado, her spirit still buoyed by her achievements at the Autumn Grand. 

Her dad and #1 coach wasn’t surprised. “She picked it up again after 14 years, right off the bat,” Alan Helfer explained. “I could see by the way she shot on the practice trap that she was going to be as good, if not better, than when she quit.”

Alan made it to the fourth shoot-off round in the quest for the champion’s crown, leaving the field with his 99 and his daughter up against the two remaining, formidible challengers.  

When she saw her dad miss his target, Tiffany remembered thinking to herself, “Don’t you dare miss your next one! You can miss the one after that, but not your next one!” She didn’t want Alan to think that his loss had affected her, and for him to feel badly.

Did she get the next target?  Wait ‘til you read the whole story in February’s issue!


Shooter Profile: Tina Shigemura

Tina Shigemura made history during the Hawaii State Shoot when she became the first woman in ATA history to win all four main titles at a state tournament. She said she never thinks about winning the women’s trophies when she goes to a shoot but aims for the high-gun prize over the field. “I shoot against everybody,” she said.

After winning the main singles and handicap events, Shigemura wasn’t thinking about a sweep during the doubles. She doesn’t consider herself a strong doubles shooter, and she was putting together a strategy to overcome the difficult shooting conditions, which included strong winds and rain. Shigemura thinks many shooters just gave up because of the challenging weather, and many just shot the same way they always do, which didn’t work that day. Knowing that she would have to change something to compensate for the wind, Tina decided to try just shooting as fast as she could. “It worked; I was happy.” She also made a point not to look at the scoreboard because she thinks that can get people down and discouraged. She likes to just go out, do her best, and let things end up where they will.

Tina was introduced to the sport in 1994 by husband Carl while they were still dating. He worked every day but Sunday and spent his days off at the trap club, so if she wanted to see him, she had to go, too. At first she just watched but then decided to give it a try. Having participated in sports most her life, including volleyball, basketball and softball, she saw shooting as another opportunity to compete.

Although it’s sometimes difficult for spouses to teach each other to shoot, they made it work. “Carl was a really fantastic shooter,” Tina said, having earned 12 state titles of his own, including three singles, five doubles and four all-around.

In 2009 Tina won the state handicap and all-around titles over the field, and she said it was the best she had ever shot. However, two months later Carl passed away, and she struggled for a while. At first she had a hard time even going back to the gun club, and when she did, she dealt with concentration issues. In 2011 she captured the state singles championship and felt like she had finally “climbed the hill” and got her shooting back on track.

Tina shoots a Perazzi TMX and a Perazzi DB81. She had Soft Touch recoil pads installed on both guns last year and believes it has made the difference, allowing her to concentrate on shooting instead of the kick from the gun.

Tina likes shooting because she enjoys the challenge, and it allows her to compete. While she can no longer play other competitive sports, she can still shoot. “I don’t have to hang up my gloves.”

Tina has worked for Ball Corp., a canning plant, for nearly 30 years. She also enjoys fishing, kayaking and paddleboarding, although an injury to her wrist two years ago makes the latter two difficult these days.

Originally from Henderson, Nev., Tina went to Hawaii on a vacation with friends when she was 21 and never left. “Now I’m a local girl,” she said. However, she has plans to move back to Nevada after daughter Sierra graduates from high school next year. She looks forward to having more places to shoot and hopefully reaching her goal of attending the Grand American.

Tina’s advice to other shooters is just to keep it simple. “Put the gun in front of the orange thing and pull the trigger.” She thinks many people put too much pressure on themselves to do well, and it usually results in the opposite. That’s the experience she’s had when she’s let her nerves get to her. She said to remember to breathe between each shot and not to let people intimidate you.

She added to just have fun because a day at a shoot is a good day, no matter how well you do. “If I break 0x25, it’s still better than staying home and doing housework.”

Tina said most of all the best part about the success she’s had in shooting is showing Sierra that she can do anything she sets her mind to. It’s possible to not only go out there and beat all the other women, but the men as well.

—Elissa Cronk

Copyright 2014 Amateur Trapshooting Association





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