by Dakota Overland
My name is Dakota Overland, I am 12 years old and I am from Wyoming, Minnesota. I started competitive shooting at the end of July 2015 with the MN 3-gun group at the Forest Lake Sportsman’s Club. Some of the things I enjoy most about competing are all the wonderful and kind people, and all the variety of challenges in the stages! The first time I shot, I was three and a half years old, and it was a .22 rifle. I have always been around shooting and hunting. Starting at a very young age, I would go hunting with my dad, and I was taught at a very young age how to properly handle guns.
I am in 7th grade; my favorite subject is Global Studies. I go to a Spanish Immersion School called Lakes International Language Academy in Forest Lake, MN. At this Spanish immersion school in grades K-6 you speak Spanish most of the day. I enjoy learning to do things in Spanish because when you go to Spanish speaking countries you know and understand things they are saying and can get more involved with them. We learned how to do math, read, write, etc. in Spanish, and most of our homework was in Spanish. You eventually learn everything in English. I like school for the most part, but definitely not as much as shooting!
I shoot Trap at the Forest Lake Sportsman’s club on a youth summer league, last fall I shot trap on the MN high school trap league with North Lakes Academy, and this winter I am shooting on a five-stand team. I enjoy Trap and clay target shooting sports because I like competing, but it also helps with hunting, and three gun for the flying clays and just the shotgun movement itself. The first match I did was a tactical shotgun match, with my 20 gauge. I have shot a couple of USPSA matches and was the top junior at the MN Sectional in 2015. I think 3 gun is my favorite. I shot several local matches, but also traveled to Missouri for the Generation III Gun match, Clinton, SC for the Brownell’s Lady 3 Gun, and to Ft. Benning, GA for the Army Marksmanship Unit’s 3 Gun.
One of the things that I really enjoy about shooting is that I believe girls can do just as good as boys or even better! I think it depends on the person, their skills, and what they enjoy doing, not their gender.
Some of the hobbies I have are shooting, hunting, trap, scuba diving, gymnastics, horseback riding, making Maple syrup, arts and crafts, and much more. I like to hunt for ducks, geese, deer, turkey, pheasant, grouse and bear. When I was 8, I took an intro into scuba diving class on a family vacation to Cozumel, Mexico. (the Spanish immersion school was very handy!) I loved it. For my 10th birthday I wanted SCUBA lessons, and I got certified for scuba diving at age 10 and our family went back to Cozumel , Mexico the next January, and I got to do some real diving! I compete in gymnastics; I think that gymnastics has been helpful in the shooting sports for strength and balance. I jump horses, and my family owns a small maple syrup company called Muddy Foot Prints Pure Maple Syrup. I also enjoy arts and crafts.
Some of the goals I have with shooting are to get to know more people, to continue to improve, and inspire others to learn about shooting sports and the Second Amendment. I really like to see other juniors out shooting. I think it is a good sport that shows that guns are safe when used properly.
Some of the shooters that inspire me are Jerry, Kay, and Lena Miculek, Ryan, and Diana Muller, Janna Reeves, James Casanova, the Yackley 5, Sydney Rockwell, the MN 3-Gun group, and so many more. Some of the junior shooters that I have competed with so far are Sydney Rockwell, Madalyn Stewart, Tom Lackley, Ashley Rheuark, Caleb Villamor, and Isaac Oliver.
The local community that I shoot with is great; they are very friendly, humorous and welcoming. The MN 3-gun group has been very helpful when I got started and still is very supportive. I do not have any official sponsors, however, some of the local people who own small/big businesses have also helped out a lot; JP Enterprises, Vortex Optics, Arnzen Arms, and Lakes Trading Company. All the people that I shoot with are very kind and very helpful. I also am very thankful for Generation III Gun; an organization that supports junior shooters with scholarships to major matches and puts on their own match where juniors shoot for free! I really love this sport, it’s a sport that anyone can do no matter what shape or size! It is a sport that the whole family can do together and forever. Thank you for reading, check me out on Facebook, and give me a like at: https://www.facebook.com/3gundakota/