My name is Meredith Rogers. I am 11 years old and in the 6th grade. I live in a small town in Louisiana, Franklinton. My favorite shooting sports are hunting and archery. When I think about hunting, shooting, and archery, the first thing that I think about is all the people that took their own personal time to help me become a better hunter, shooter, archer, and person. There are many life lessons in the shooting sports if you look for them. My lessons have definitely come from unexpected people and places.
My first life lesson came from my first harvest. It was a scimbok. I was with my Uncle Brian on this day. We were scouting for scimbok when Uncle Brian first spotted it. He told me to get the gun and we had to sneak up on him and be as quiet as possible. My heart was pounding like crazy. I was also having trouble breathing. That was until Uncle Brian reminded me to breathe and keep my eyes open. I took the shot and ended up with a harvested scimbok. Lesson one: always breathe and keep your eyes open no matter what piece of equipment you are shooting.
Lesson two was learned from what at first were strangers that have now become my family, the people of Cabela’s. I have a very rare disease where I cannot eat over 50 things or I will have severe stomach pains and my throat will close off. The disease is called eosinophilic esophagitis. When I first got diagnosed I felt very lonely. I didn’t think anyone knew what it was like. It all started when my mom took me to get my first bow. That day I had a terrible doctor’s appointment where I had so many foods taken away from my diet. To make me feel better she took me to Cabela’s where I met Shelby and Landon. They helped me pick out my first bow and worked with me for three hours. Each arrow I shot they helped until I hit the target every time. I was so happy to be an archer I forgot how sick I was and what I couldn’t eat.
Over the summer, I was invited to corporate Cabela’s and was happily welcomed by Mr. Ryan, Ms. Bobby, and Ms. Jessica. I spent the whole day touring corporate and seeing all the work that goes into building the Cabela’s merchandise. It was awesome. I even got to shoot three bows and reviewed them. At the end, Mr. Ryan put a bow in my hand and told me that it was mine to keep. Although I got a bow that day, the biggest lesson I learned was that I wasn’t alone at all. I had a bigger family than I thought I had, my Cabela’s family. I love every single person at Cabela’s dearly. Lesson two was that if you show up and do what you love no matter what help can come from unexpected places and people and pain doesn’t have to run your life.
One of the main things shooting and hunting has taught me is the importance of being kind and giving back. The shooting sports have been handed down from generation to generation. Someone took the time to teach another person. My Uncle Brian, Shelby, Landon, Mr. Ryan, Ms. Bobby, Ms. Jessica didn’t have to do any of the things that they did for me. So I try to give back by helping disabled people and helping children who don’t have anyone to teach them about the shooting sports or hunting. A lot of times disabled people are scared to try new things or they don’t have anyone to take them to any archery shoots. If I teach them to breathe, keep their eyes open, and just keep shooting they will hit their target. I have learned from helping people with disabilities, and I have become a better shooter and person. I have learned to never give up no matter what obstacle or disability life throws at me.
Sponsors are Blood Deep Outdoors, K & S Archery, Destiny Outdoors, Junior Deaux Girls, and Dixieland Outdoors