Golden pistols

Published 2:56 pm Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It’s not often that one thinks of a law enforcement officer firing his gun as part of a sport, but that’s what helped decorate Shelby County sheriff’s deputy Tracey Lawley with a handful of medals Saturday.

Lawley and his children Heather, 16, and David, 9, each competed in the Alabama Sports Festival’s pistol competitions at the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Training Facility on Saturday.

The three combined for five gold medals and Lawley also took silver overall.

“My stress level was up, but I really enjoyed it,” said Lawley, who had not competed in a shooting sport other than skeet since 1990.

“It’s real great to have both of my kids out there shooting with me. Getting them involved in the shooting sports is wonderful.”

The four-event competition awarded gold, silver and bronze medals for the overall winner and medals per event in each age division.

The competition began with Heather and David manning the gate to the firing range, making sure that all participants signed a waiver, while their dad won bronze in the international centerfire event. The event divides competitors by age and allows 60 rounds to be fired at a silhouette target in varying sequences.

The steel plate match followed, dividing competitors not only by age but by division based on gun type.

Lawley, who was one of 35 from the sheriff’s office to be presented with the Medal of Distinction during Friday’s Opening Ceremonies, took home his first gold medal Saturday in the stock revolver steel plate division. Heather also took home gold in the plate competition for her age division.

The United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) shoot followed and then the bowling pin centerfire competition.

All three Lawleys took gold in the bowling pin competition, where the object is to shoot the bowling pins off a platform.

“That one is quite easy,” David said. “You have to shoot the pins in a certain spot to get them off the table. I hit all of them, but (most) only fell down but didn’t go off the table.”

David, who competed in the competition last year also, said he thinks his hobby of hunting helped him in the competition. But what he liked most was being able to shoot with his dad.

“He’s basically my guide,” said David, who turns 10 in a few weeks. “It was just a great experience. I hope to keep shooting with my dad for a long time.”

David also collected silver in the revolver steel plate competition.

Two other Shelby County sheriff deputies, Sgt. Joseph McGee and Terry Gowers, also collected gold medals during the competition.

Lawley said he hopes to compete in the event again next year.