I first came across Tia Imel last year when one of my Facebook friends, Top Shot Season 4 and 5 competitor Gabby Franco, posted about Tia. Tia was raising money to buy a new rifle for practice and competition, and to help cover her travel and training expenses. Tia’s energy, big smile, and enthusiasm were inspiring hundreds of people to chip in and help out. Tia makes jewelry by shooting quarters at 10 meters with a .22LR rifle, smoothes and polishes the quarters, and then adds a lanyard. (You can buy one at the link provided at the end of the article).
She sold enough necklaces to fund the purchase of her Walther LG300-XT Junior air rifle.
One of Tia’s life goals is to compete in the Olympics in 2020 when she will be 18 years old. She is smart and has started her training at an early age. TFB got a chance to chat with Tia and get some more background about her aspirations.
Hi Tia, tell TFB readers a bit about yourself so we can get to know you.
I am 11 years old and I am a 5th grader at Mancos Elementary School. I also ski, play volleyball, soccer and dance.
How did you get into shooting?
My dad started me shooting when I was five. I was really good.
My Dad also taught me how to shoot, and I was just a bit older than you at age six. What is your dream with regards to shooting?
I want to shoot in college and the Olympics.
Those are fantastic goals! I really enjoyed helping you fundraise for your new gun, how many quarters did you end up shooting and what was the fundraising experience like?
I sold like 125 necklaces which was enough to buy my Air Rifle. They are lots of work to make. It is easy to shoot them but hard to get the sharp edges off. They take a long time.
Not only are you a great shot, but you’re a great entrepreneur. We love seeing that! What is your practice schedule like? Do you have a coach?
I practice .22 on Fridays at the Gun Club. I also shoot my air rifle at home. I also have a SCATT for practice. My Dad is my coach. But other shooters have helped me a lot – Gabby Franco and Roger Withrow.
I hear you returned from the National Junior Olympics. What was that experience like? How did you do?
It was great and lots of fun. I met a lot of shooters from around the USA and they were all real nice. I shot my personal best 361. But I have shot higher now.
What do you enjoy most about shooting?
I like to shoot a lot. I like to go to the competitions the best. We get to travel and stay in hotels. I also like to shoot prairie dogs that make holes in the pasture.
Tell us about your rifles and what you love most about them.
My favorite rifle is my Walther Air Rifle that I got with the money from the necklaces I sold. It fits me really good and has an awesome trigger and it’s blue. I like my .22, but not as much as the air rifle. I also have a rifle with a scope for hunting prairie dogs.
Thank you Tia, for taking time to speak with us here at TFB. We wish you all the best, and we will see you at the 2020 Olympic games shooting for the United States!
Follow Tia at https://www.facebook.com/TiaImel
Buy a necklace and give donations at http://www.offhandgear.com/Tia-Imel-Store-s/1851.htm