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Clay pigeon shooter Katie Cox targets England team

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: November 15, 2012

  • SURE SHOT: Katie Cox narrowly missed out on an England spot. Pictures: Rob Tibbles. To order this photograph call 0844 4060 269 and quote Ref: BNRT20121108D-003_C

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THE DEAD EYE and discipline needed for clay pigeon shooting have already taken Katie Cox to titles with Devon.

Now, after her best season yet, the farmer from Rackenford has her sights set on England honours.

Katie, 27, is a winner of five South West Ladies Championships and was just three points away from international selection in 2012.

From a young age, handling a gun has been a way of life.

"I'm a farmer's daughter," she said. "My grandad and my father had guns and I was brought up on the farm. It was hands on.

"I just went around with Dad everywhere and I kept pestering him until he let me have a gun.

"When I was just about walking I had an air rifle.

"Outside our house we had a brick wall and me and my sister used to line up Coke cans and little bottles. Once I shot something, I was hooked."

Hitting the target came naturally to Katie but it is the misses that stay in her memory after a trip to Nottingham this season.

"I was only three targets out from getting in the England team this year so I was a bit gutted," she said.

"I can see those three targets in the distance now. It will make me stronger for next year."

At Nottingham, the third of three England qualifiers, Katie's preparation was far from ideal.

"I went up on the Friday to practise and there was a crash on the M5 and I was stuck in traffic," she said.

"We never got there until the shooting ground was shut.

"I was a bit tired and stressed when the competition started on the Saturday."

Keeping calm under pressure is the key in a sport where the mind is just as important as the hand-eye co-ordination.

"I don't mind saying I have got a fair temper on me but to stand there on the peg and hit the target takes a lot of control," said Katie.

"When you tense up, you jerk the gun and you miss the target and if you're too relaxed you're sharpness isn't there.

"If you're bad tempered, you're never going to shoot very well.

"I believe it helps me in everyday life to be calmer."

For three years, Katie has been a qualified tutor, showing others the benefits of shooting clays, as well as teaching air rifle and archery.

After choosing to leave school as soon as possible, now she would like to go back and pass on her skills to children.

"I didn't like school very much," said Katie. "The teachers called me thick and stupid.

"I was 15 when I left and I went straight to work. I was more practical than academic.

"I'd love to go into schools now and promote shooting responsibly.

"I think it should be publicised as a sport you can get into for the discipline side."

Katie's first victory came in a Young Farmers clay pigeon competition when she was 23.

Regularly scoring 90 or more in the automatic bull trap discipline, she has represented Devon for the past four years.

This year, at Broadmoor, she won the Devon automatic bull trap and down the line competitions.

And representing Devon in the South West Inter Counties, she finished eighth overall at Dorchester, in Dorset, with a score of 98 out of 100 and 289 out of 300 in the down the line.

"There are some really good lady shots around, many of them at South West standard, but in my mind I'm always competing with the men," said Katie.

"I want to beat everybody. There's nothing like taking a tiny piece off a clay, the size of a fingernail, and then the next one you send to dust."

Katie would like to hear from potential sponsors and anyone who wants shooting and target tuition. She is offering special Christmas packages for tuition in clays, archery and air rifle.

Call her on 07762 817462 or e-mail katie@clayandtargetsdevon.co.uk

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