Janessa Beaman: Reaching for the Stars


The tattoos, body piercings and claw-like nails make you think Janessa Beaman found her way into the wrong sport. See her shoot and all doubt is erased. She was born to do this and in 2014 she showed why.


“I’ve heard recently that I set a bad example with my gangster tattoos,” Beaman acknowledges. “My tattoos consist of a windmill and a dirt road special to me and my dad, flowers and Doc Holliday. Tell me where I’m gangster? I would just like to get past being the girl with the tattoos. I know you obviously put yourself out there with stuff like that, but I just want mbeaman1y personality to be known. I don’t know many gangsters who hunt, listen to country music and post pictures for Whitetail Wednesday.”


Image is one thing, character another.  And she has plenty of that to spare. Whatever the package, there’s no denying it works. It would take a pickup truck to haul all her awards from 2014 alone; a breakout year unlike any other and one she hopes carry her to an Olympic opportunity when she competes at Olympic Team Trials that concludes May 25. She currently has a two-target lead going in to the match in Tillar, Arkansas, at the Delta Shooting Sports Complex.


She stuffed her resume with shooting statistics too numerous to mention, but the highlights include: first American female Trap shooter to earn a World Cup Finals medal (silver) and earn three international medals in the same year; American Trap Association (ATA) first-team All American while earning nine trophies overall at beaman2the Grand American and winning High All-Around at the Fall Grand ATA.


This hardware was earned over a nine-month period in which Beaman competed in over 18 events across the country and around the world.


The allure of shooting full ATA and USA Shooting seasons is a fascination for most of our shotgun community. No one has made it look as easy as Beaman. She’s doing things no one has done before her, and her coaches believe it has a lot to do with instinct, aggression and attitude.


“Whenever Janessa is in a match, she has that killer instinct,” said Assistant Shotgun Coach Dwayne Weger. “She believes that she will win and is mad when she finishes anywhere below first. She is not satisfied with being anything but the best. It is this level of confidence and determination that has propelled her success.”


“Janessa’s approach and outlook on shooting, as well as life, is definitely what sets her apart from the crowd,” said Assistant Coach Jay Waldron. “Her aggressive, all-in attitude has played a huge role in her recent shooting success.”


Imagine what she could do if she actually cared about practicing. A self-described big-event shooter, she admits a reluctance to practice when there’s nothing at stake and there’s no amount of practice that mimics the intensity that happens when she’s behind the gun competing in big matches.


“Shooting in ATA keeps me in match mode all the time,” Beaman admits. “It’s a game of perfection and I just think shooting with that mindset, in those big matches, really prepares me more than any amount of practice when shooting international style.”


Invested most in her success is proud father Jay. His Facebook wall is a rolling chronicle of Janessa’s latest triumphs and tribulations in the sport, complete with analysis, coaching and plenty of love. The two share an inseparable bond, born from the time she moved in with him at age 14, nurtured through their love of shooting and hunting, and cemented by their competitiveness and motivation.


“He would do absolutely anything for me,” said Janessa of her father. “I could be 40 and still doing this and he’d work whatever job he could to support me. He’s legitimately my best friend.  If not for him, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today because he always keeps me on the right track. He’s always there to push me, but he’s going to be the first to catch me too.”


Tattooed on her trigger finger is the word “reach” and it’s foretelling as much as it is prefacing.  Once she fires her trusty Krieghoff, her other three fingers then reveal the rest of the motivating phrase “for the stars.” It’s not a reach to think, given her recent success, she’ll do just that eventually.