Junior clay shooter Amy Cawley has an impressive resume, including 2020 SCTP New York Skeet Top Gun and back-to-back USA Clay Target League High Conference Lady titles (2018-19). Find out what she keeps in her range bag.
Amy Cawley is a top junior shotgunner.
What are your first memories of handling a firearm? When I was 12 years old, I shot my first firearm with my brother Michael and my dad. It was my brother’s Remington 870 pump-action. I remember vividly how much that thing kicked. I quickly decided that shooting wasn’t for me, and I was going to stick with soccer instead. I shot a handful of times after that, but I never considered pursuing it further—until things changed.
What changed? Tell us how you began in competitive shooting. I started competing when I was 15 years old. This past fall was the start of my fourth season. As a freshman in high school, I was injured playing soccer. They told me I either needed to stop playing or I would have to get surgery. It was around that same time that my dad was helping bring the USA Clay Target League into our school district. I decided to hang up my cleats and pick up a gun again.
What firearms and other gear do you use for competition? Recently, I received my dream gun, a 30-inch Kolar Max Skeet with a blue receiver. My friends, Sean Mainland and Kevin McNamara, from Kolar Arms, surprised me with a blue Cerakote finish. When I first opened the case, I instantly fell in love with it. It’s also cool knowing that my gun is truly one-of-a-kind. I also have the full tube set, along with the carrier barrel, so I can really take my skeet game to the next level. I am incredibly thankful to Kolar Arms and Elite Shotguns for their generosity and for adding me to their team last summer.
Amy Cawley with her Kolar competition shotgun.
I would also like to recognize my glasses sponsor, Gustin Sports Optics. Mr. Gustin saw something in me when I first began shooting that not many others saw (besides my dad). He was my first sponsor. When he handed me that pair of Pillas, I was determined to achieve great things in the shooting world.
While I don’t have an official ammunition sponsor yet, I do have two wonderful parents who have taken on that role. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their constant support. I can’t thank them enough for all they have done for me.
Tell us about your range bag and what you carry in it besides your firearms. My range bag is not actually meant to be a range bag, but it works really well. I use an old Adidas soccer backpack from before I started shooting. It was great to be able to reuse something I already had, since shooting is an expensive sport.
The bottom of the backpack has a compartment that used to hold my soccer ball. It’s a great size for storing my ammunition boxes. The section that was for my cleats is now the perfect spot to hold my Pilla case. Also, since it’s a backpack, it’s very convenient to carry around for both practice and competitions.
In addition to my ammunition and Pillas, my bag carries:
A pair of gloves (You never know when a snowstorm is going to break out in N.Y.)
Organic applesauce pouches. (The most important thing in my bag.)
What do you do in your free time? Outside of shooting, I am involved in my school and community. I enjoy working with individuals with disabilities through the Best Buddies organization, sharing my voice through our school's Speech and Debate team, and volunteering with the National Honor Society, Rotary Interact and my school’s Care Club. I am also a big supporter of staying physically active and try to work out a few times per week. I practice yoga almost every day, go for runs and do weight training whenever I can. For fun, I write for Junior Shooters magazine, run an Instagram account called “Her Shooting Journey” and create content for my YouTube channel.
Any tips for new shooters? Have an open mind and experience the shooting sports for yourself. Shooting and firearms are things that tend to have a really negative stigma surrounding them, especially in the state of New York. When people come out to the range, talk with the shooters and see what’s actually happening, they gain a better understanding of what we are actually doing and why it’s as safe as it is.
Additional advice for new shooters is remember to have fun. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. The trophies, titles and medals are exciting, but you are only going to succeed if you are doing it for the right reasons. If you have the proper mindset, everything else will fall into place, and it will be that much more enjoyable.