Raised in a family of hunters, Caitlin Connor was inseparable from her Red Ryder BB Gun from as far back as she can remember. At the ripe old age of 6, she hunted with her dad, carrying a Remington 220 Swift over her shoulder. Then, at 15, she picked up her first shotgun and was hooked.
Caitlin began competing in 2005 through her State 4-H program in Winnfield, LA. From there she focused on Sporting Clays and quickly got involved with the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP). In 2006, Caitlin competed at the SCTP Nationals in Detroit, MI, where she met Kimberly Rhode (at the time, Rhode was a 3-time Olympic medalist). Kim informed her that shooting was an Olympic sport and explained the different disciplines available.
On the plane ride back to Louisiana, Caitlin decided she wanted to pursue her dreams of becoming an Olympic gold medalist in Women’s Skeet. Kim Rhode is now her teammate, friend and toughest competitor on the field. They’ve gone head-to-head in competitions over the past 11 years and traveled the world together. According to Caitlin, it doesn’t matter if you’re from the U.S. or another country, Kim Rhode pushes everyone to be the best competitor they can be.
It looks like Caitlin made the right choice choosing the shotgun sports. She already has some major awards under her belt:
- 2018 World Shooting Championships—gold medalist
- 2015 World Shotgun Championships—silver medalist
- 6-time World Cup silver medalist
- 2015 National Champion
When it comes to range bags, Caitlin uses an SKB gun case to carry her Krieghoff K-80 and extra Briley chokes, which fit perfectly. She also has an Under Armour USA Shooting backpack that has plenty of compartments to hold everything she needs. In it she has a Bible, prayer cloth from her grandma, lens cleaning wipes, extra hair ties, phone chargers, computer charger, Pilla Performance Eyewear 580 Frames with Prescription shooting glasses, Castellani shooting vest, Harris & Sons DEFR Hearing Protection, extra socks, wet wipes, extra pens, headphones, battery pack in case her phone dies, hand sanitizer, band aids, sunscreen and snacks.
For those interested in learning more about her sport, Caitlin suggests coming out and watching a competition. She said, “International shooting has a lot of rules and can get really confusing trying to explain the rules to someone without them actually seeing it.” The USA Shooting website and International Shooting Sports Foundation website (ISSF), where they have final videos from each World Cup or World Championships, are also great resources.
Currently, Caitlin is working on a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Government Management through DeVry University. She also has a part-time job at Sportsman’s Warehouse. Between studying, shooting, traveling and work she doesn’t have a lot of time for much else. Well, except for her 5-year-old Chocolate Labrador, Jax. He enjoys going to the shooting range, the dog park and road trips. Wherever she goes, Jax goes—unless it involves flying.
Photos courtesy of USA Shooting