Interview with Buckshot Bella.
By: Christeena M. Creager
Buckshot Bella, Victoria Creager, is an American Female shotgun shooter. She shoots sporting clays in trap and skeet and is working her way to the Olympics in 2020. Ms. Creager grew up shooting rifles and handguns but taught herself to shoot shotguns at age 18. As a freshman in college, she picked up a shotgun for the first time with the intention of competing in college shotgun sports. She competed for 6 years and found herself ranking 25th in the Nation in her Fifth year at the University of Wyoming. She now competes across the west. In 2016 she became the first woman in western and Montana State History to win a state championship title other than a ladies title at the Montana State Trap Shoot, where she won the Montana State Handicap Championship. The Handicap category is named that because each round the shooter must move a yard back from where the clay target is launched from. This increases the difficulty even more.
The most inspirational thing about Ms. Creager is her tenacity and drive to make a name for herself in a field dominated by men. She partially inspired a character in my book The July Rustler. The character in the book, Bethy, sets out to find herself and become who she dreams she could be in a world telling her that a woman can’t. Nowadays there is not such an obvious barrier keeping women from fulfilling their dreams, but a barrier still exists. This barrier is much like the one you will find in The July Rustler, the barrier of sexism and derogatory remarks regarding a woman in a typically masculine field. I find Ms. Creager’s approach to following your dreams despite what you’re being told and what others say about you. She overcomes the obstacles put in her way with graceful defiance shutting out the negativity to strive for her personal best.
Q: What made you want to start shooting in shotgun sports?
A: I wanted to shoot in college, and the only option that the university had for rifle shooting was .22 caliber rifle competitions. I decided that I wanted something larger; Even though it meant learning to shoot a new type of gun. I had a few people mentor me some, but it was mostly trial and error teaching myself to shoot.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of shooting?
A: Being the person other women can come up and ask for advice and look up to so they feel like they can do it too. Being a role model that women, in a male dominated sport, can come talk to and feel inspired by. I enjoy that other woman can feel a part of my shooting career by having a role model more like them.
Q: What is the most challenging part of shooting?
A: The mental challenge of it. The hardest part is the mental game that is an integral part of shooting in competition. It takes a lot of mental focus, shooting in and of itself is not hard. The difficult part is staying focused but not letting your mind get the better of you. Sure there is a physical aspect of shooting, but trap shooting is more a mental game than a physical game.
Q: What advice do you have for other women, or men, looking to get into shooting shotgun sports?
A: Go out and ask someone you know who is shooting, and ask to tag along with them. You will be uncomfortable so just try it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, we all start somewhere. If you’re nervous, it’s perfectly normal. All you have to do is ask, guys may be a little off putting at first, as soon as the men realize you’re there to shoot and learn they will help a lot of time, or contact a woman you know who shoots. You can also contact me I’d be happy to help in any way I can.
Q: What goals do you have for yourself in 10 years?
A: The Olympics, other than that go out to as many shoots as possible, and win as much as possible. Besides just shooting I would like to see my business take off and be able to teach people how to shoot and get more people involved.
Q: Where do you find your strength to push for your dreams?
A: I feel I am more fulfilled as an entrepreneur and less enchanted with the corporate life. I have a deep desire to set off on my own creating a business and name for myself. I have big hopes for myself, and I am my selfs biggest critic.
Q: Is there any advice you could give to others who may be too scared to pursue their dreams?
A: You can either sit back and let your dreams go by, or you can go for it, but at least you can say you tried. The worst that can happen is you fail. But at least you can say you tried, and at the end, you wouldn’t be wondering what if. The worst thing is regret.
Q: Can you comment on the glass ceiling?
A: This is a man’s sport, it’s a good ol’ boy sport, like another golf game. As a lady I feel good about going out and performing well, breaking that ceiling pane by pane.
Q: Can you comment on what it is like to be a female shooter in a field dominated by men?
A: I love it I thrive off it, lots of people don’t, but I just thrive off doing well.
Q: What is the atmosphere like when at a shooting event?
A: It is fun, its good time. Everyone is friends with everyone, but everyone had that little edge of competition with themselves and others. We are all there to have fun do well; it’s like hanging with your friends.
Q: How do you mentally prepare to shoot?
A: Like any other sport, I find my own space in my head and mentally prepare myself. I spend a lot of time practicing. I shoot at least 700 clay birds a week.
Q: What is it like to shoot in a large competition?
A: It’s fun and exciting, it’s a whole new atmosphere. It’s a little nerve racking, but it’s nice to push yourself and see what you can do. It’s nice to go to bigger shoots and compete against more people to.
Q: What did it feel like to take the Montana State Handicap Championship as the first woman in History to do so?
A: It felt really amazing, it kind of surreal. I didn’t even really know what was happening until afterward. I don’t really know how else to say it- it was amazing.
Q: What is next for Buckshot Bella?
A: Olympic dreams are coming, and getting my business off the ground. I’d like to be teaching and putting on clinics. Continue touring doing competitions nationwide.
I think we all would wish her luck at the Montana State shoot 2017, and hope she does well.
I am blessed to know such an inspirational and strong woman. I think it is important for others to know that strong women are making their dreams come true. I also think that women, like Ms. Creager, are underrepresented in literature. That being said I strive to write characters in a way that shows women can be strong and men can be sensitive. Ms. Creager is one of the women in my life that inspire me to write characters the way I do; female characters who are as strong as men or stronger.
I think characters who flip the script some and show how a man can be vulnerable and need someone to lean on, just like a woman can be strong and be the one the man leans on is very important. Characters like this are dynamic and more realistic. They also bring a truth and life to a story that would otherwise not properly convey the truth of humanity.
This article can also be found at https://christeenacreager.com/2017/07/14/interview-with-an-inspirational-figure-buckshot-barbi/ it has been published on both sites.