At the 2018 National Matches, Charisma Owen wasn't sure if she was shooting in the John C. Garand Match. Her coach, Dan Ramsey, gave her a clear answer.
“Not until you are distinguished,” he said.
A year later, she had excelled enough in her shooting career to finally earn her chance.
Seventeen-year-old Charisma Owen currently competes in service rifle and bullseye pistol, starting out in the shooting sports after her move from Las Vegas, NV, to Wichita Falls, TX. She started shooting with 4-H Shooting Sports in 2012, when she was in the fifth grade.
Throughout her 4-H experience, she made new connections and has been introduced to a variety of shooting disciplines. She joined the Texas Junior Service Rifle Team in 2015. Two years late, Owen started shooting pistol with 4-H, along with the Texas Junior Pistol Team shortly after.
Her various commitments do not come without passion.
“Shooting has transformed for me over the years, from something interesting to something I really love,” said Owen. This transformation happened immediately. “Shooting has taught me skills that I use every day in other areas of my life.”
The shooting sports are about much more than people realize, teaching patience, time management, self-control, focus and dedication, along with a host of other things. No one does it alone. Owen is grateful for the opportunities she has had to meet people from other countries and for the lifelong friendships she has made with people from across the U.S.—opportunities that she never would have had without the shooting sports.
Acutely aware of this, Owen’s favorite thing about marksmanship is not the potential for a shiny reward. Instead, it is the camaraderie that comes with competitive shooting.
“I love going to a match, and a big part of the match isn’t about winning. It’s about being there for fellow shooters and having fun,” said Owen, adding, “I love how we become a family on the line, giving hope and encouragement at matches.”
This support does not end on the firing line. She earned Distinguished Rifleman Badge No. 2440 in May 2019, leading to an outpouring of congratulations from the high power rifle community.
Owen knows the badge is a great honor, and to her, “It represents how far I have come since the first day I picked up a rifle [until] now and where I will go in the future … I am so proud to have the decal on my cart and my number on my sling. But most of all, I love the memories that I made while on the journey to be pinned.”
Similar to many other shooters, for Owen it is more about the journey than the reward. She aspires to shoot on a college team or adult team in the future, and advises competitive shooters to be patient and not to compare oneself to others.
“Compare yourself to you, try to beat your own personal bests—not somebody else’s.”
This does not mean that she does not appreciate hard work and success. Owen was on the high junior team for the 2018 Rattle Battle, marking the first time Texas juniors had won the Junior Infantry Team Trophy.
With four points towards her Distinguished Pistol badge, Owen is not stopping anytime soon. She is always trying to improve her skills.
This year, that growth included the John C. Garand Match, where she finally got to compete and earned a score of 267-5X out of 300. Owen received a bronze medal in the match, which spurred her excitement for next summer.
Always humble, Owen did not mention earning an achievement medal in her first match, noting that, “I might not have shot very well, but it was so fun!”
Charisma Owen sets a great example for youth in the shooting sports, both in her attitude and her ability.
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