The New Jersey Garden State Gunners junior team competed in the Rattle Battle at Camp Perry this summer.
The New Jersey Garden State Gunners junior team competed in the Rattle Battle at Camp Perry this summer. Shooting Sports USA

The first all-girl team competed in the 2018 National Trophy Infantry Team match, better known as the Rattle Battle, in Camp Perry this past summer, according to this story from Shooting Sports USA by Serena Juchnowski.

The ladies are members of the New Jersey Garden State Gunners junior team, coached by Walter Bachmann. “I thought it would be a good promotion for the shooting sports to put together an all-girls team,” said Bachmann, who started coaching the club’s Junior Division with smallbore, but moved the Junior competitors up to high-power in 2008. That would be the first year the team went to the Camp Perry contest, fielding a team of two girls and four boys.

Ten years later, there would be enough competitors for two teams: six girls and six boys. After discussing it with the shooters, who were determined by skill level, it was decided that the contenders for the National Trophy Team Rattle Battle would be split by gender, giving Coach Bachmann the all-ladies team he had been dreaming about for years.

Shelby Falk, Amy Flood, Sierra Loutraris, Jessica Peoples, Dorothy Speers and Victoria Wheatley compose the 2018 Garden State Gunners Girls Rattle Battle Team. All shot iron sights in the match, with Jessica and Sierra acting as swing shooters, firing upon two of the eight Rattle Battle targets.

The team with their rifles at the competition.
The team with their rifles at the competition.

“We want to win. We don’t care if it’s all guys, all girls or mixed in. We did it the way we did it. And I am glad we did,” said Amy Flood about the team’s composition.

Dorothy Speers enjoyed being on the all-girls team but did not think that it warranted any extra publicity, saying, “If we start making a giant big deal out of it, it is almost like going backwards because we aren’t looking to be put on a pedestal for being girls with guns.”

Jessica Peoples, who had been shooting high power with the team since March 2016, was surprised that it took so long for an all-girls team to compete in the Nationals. Peoples prefers a co-ed team, with “all personalities merging,” she acknowledged that the “dynamic [was] different … we were significantly more organized, and the guys were a little more ‘tactical’ in their methods.”

“He deserves credit for a lot of things. He works really, really hard for us. I think it’s been a dream of his to have an all-girls team,” said Dorothy Speers, expressing gratitude for Coach Bachmann. “[Bachmann is a] really big supporter of juniors shooting and a really big supporter of females shooting. Having an all-girls junior team has been a milestone for him, to put that together.”

Bachmann hopes to make the all-girls team a tradition, returning to the Rattle Battle each year.

The team, shooting prone.
The team, shooting prone. Shooting Sports USA