by Andy Morales
Tammy Billingsley is a World and National Champion in the “ultimate equestrian sport” called Cowboy Mounted Shooting. The American Woman Shooter recently caught up with Tammy to see where she came from, abouther love for her horses and sport and her future goals:
Q: What was your first love, shooting or horse riding?
TAMMY: “Definitely riding my horse was first true love… I grew up in a “hunting and outdoors” family but never really caught the bug myself. I really wasn’t even comfortable handling firearms.”
Q: What do you look for in a horse in shooting competition?
TAMMY: “I look for a combination of traits in a shooting
horse, which depends on what level of shooting horse I’m looking for. If I’m looking for a horse suited for a lower level shooter disposition is my first priority. If I’m looking for a horse for myself personally I want the total package… something with correct confirmation, which aff ects the athletic ability ( speed and agility) and physical longevity. I also look for a horse who is very confident, this sport is extremely taxing horses mentally so I want horse that can handle pressure (the pressure of the gunfire and the pressure of a speed event).”
Q: At what age did you realize you were good enough to compete and how did you get into the sport?
TAMMY: “When I was first introduced to the sport in 1999 it was extremely new to the Northwest, but top riders of the time like Tony Jardine made it look fast paced and fun. When I was about 19, I went to Arizona for state Championships and then on to CMSA World with good shooting friend, Scooter Singbeil. I was a Level 2 who had never traveled outside a small local circuit, needless to say I was not overly confident. Aft er making my second Eliminator run I qualified for the top 10 finals! That i
s when I realized “Hey I can a top level shooter too.”
Q: Do you have a favorite weapon as wells as a favorite horse?
TAMMY: “I am currently shooting Taylors & Company’s “Running Iron” model. It is well balanced and was designed with my sport in mind. They are a family owned company and are proud of the products they have to off er the shooting community. It would be almost impossible for me to
pick my favorite horse… I have 4 phenomenal horses on my “A” team I credit my success to them. I have won countless major titles and/or set World Records on each of them. “IB” was the horse that really propelled my career as well as set my first World Record & my first National title, “Jessie” really gave me the competitive edge. I won all 3 of my World Eliminator Championships on “Jessie”, not mention sired my next champion shooting horse. “Duke” is my golden boy is every bit the champion that his sire( “Jessie”) is. “Duke” carried me to back to back World Championship titles in 2012 and 2013. “Grey” is a NSPRA World Champion heel horse as well as my “go to” shooting horse… he’s always there when in need him to step up. He is my most recent World Record setting horse.”
Q: Who are your heroes in the sport?
TAMMY: “I think that’s a matter of opinion… My mounted shooting hero is the one and only, recently retired, Lynne Merrick. Lynne was one of the first upper level cowgirls I met in the sport, she always had a smile on her face and the best horses in her trailer. She exemplified the cowgirl way of life, traveling the country alone with her horses! A successful horsewoman and true competitor in every sense, she was excellent ambassador for the sport.”
Q: What do you hope to accomplish in the sport that you haven’t already?
TAMMY: “I am always setting new goals for myself and my horses… long term and short term. Winning another World title, training another World Champion horse, and coaching the next generation to become champions in the sport.”
Q: Anything else you’d like to add or anything readers should know about you?
TAMMY: “As a full time horse trainer and clinician, I split my time between my homes in Darby, Montana and Wickenburg. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon but through hard work and dedication I have reached my goals… I am blessed to live the life of an American Woman Shooter!”