The Civilian Marksmanship Program is an organization that prides itself on providing a venue for everyday citizens to learn and explore the world of marksmanship. The company has been successful at fulfilling that mission over the years, and sometimes they’re even lucky enough to inspire those who never intended to get involved with the pastime.
“My background in marksmanship was absolutely non-existent,” said Renay Woodruff, the South Competition Center supervisor at the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) South Office in Anniston, Alabama.
She’s been with the CMP for over a decade, working various positions. She initially signed up with the company only looking for a good job to help support her children, and her time at the organization has provided that and more through her new, unexpected passion.
Renay became captivated by the sport of marksmanship, specifically air pistol, simply from exposure. Through motivation and enthusiastic support from her employer, Renay went from practically zero knowledge on the subject to competing in several air pistol events throughout the year – elevating her position within the CMP along the way.
From national-level events like the USA Shooting Winter Airgun match held at the South Competition Center in December to more local competitions like CMP’s Monthly Matches, Renay has sprouted from a humble bystander to a dedicated athlete.
“My enjoyment of marksmanship over the years has grown tremendously as I have come to learn what it is and what it takes to become a marksman,” she said. “I enjoy watching the competitiveness of the athletes – and many of the spectators, parents and coaches that I’ve come in contact with have been wonderful to get to know. I’m a person that loves to meet people.”
Her interest in air pistol first piqued while she was working in CMP’s shipping department and caught a glimpse of competition.
“I thought it interesting how a competitor could hold the pistol with one hand and efficiently score decently,” she said. “I found it to be amazing with the number of competitors and spectators that attended the competitions. Not knowing the magnitude of marksmanship and what I was missing out on was mind-blowing.”
It wasn’t until a 2016 CMP Monthly Match that her fascination truly came alive. At the time, she was learning to become a certified Range Officer but quickly realized that she had an itch to do more than just stand behind the firing line – she wanted on it.
“It was a little scary for me to even ask someone to help me learn how to shoot the air pistol,” she confessed. “But I have learned that no two people do everything the same, especially in competition.”
To build her skills, she began practicing with the pistol shooters who attended the Open Public Nights offered weekly at the CMP South Competition Center in Anniston. Eventually, she became comfortable enough to compete – getting her first taste of real competition at another CMP Monthly Match in 2016.
“Challenging as it was, my scores were horrible, and I felt that I would quit,” she admitted. “However, I didn’t give up.”
She pressed forward and tried to get as much range time as possible, which she continues even today, despite a busy personal schedule. When she does get time on the range, she works on focusing her mind – a skill she says is key in doing her best on the firing line. She also concentrates on trigger control, breathing, sight picture, balance, hold and follow through.
Renay says the most important advice she’s received when practicing and competing is to take her time, be patient and stay focused. When she happens to not shoot as well as she’d like, she remembers to clear bad shots from her mind and move on to the next one.
Currently, she uses two separate pistols on the range: a Pardini K12 borrowed from the CMP and her own personal Walther LP400. She also recently purchased a STEYR evo 10, which she’s hoping to use in competition soon.
Renay recognizes the uniqueness of her situation, with the CMP allowing and even encouraging her to compete. It’s a phenomenon she doesn’t take lightly, and she remains constantly grateful for the foundation she’s been able to create through her experiences.
“It’s such a grand opportunity,” she said. “I often tell people about how I enjoy being able to work for a company that allows you to travel, enjoy and participate in such a passion, as others and I have. Having this opportunity through the CMP should be appreciated, and I do on a very high level.”
Her advice for anyone else trying to grow in the sport is to not push too fast and to never give up on yourself. She says there will be good days of competition and bad, as in life itself, and conveys the most important aspect of marksmanship competition: have fun and enjoy what you’re doing.
“My enjoyment continues to grow as I learn more about the sport, and it’s been very rewarding just to be able to compete with so many different people from different states,” she added.
When not competing, Renay enjoys spending time with family, relishing in activities such as going to the movies, bowling and trying various restaurants. She only competes in air pistol at the moment, but she’s leaving her prospects open to the possibility of more exciting encounters with other disciplines in the future.
“It is important to me to succeed in every aspect of my life – whether competitively, socially, or religiously,” she said. “I pastor a church in the Anniston area that I really enjoy and do it with all my heart.”
She went on, “Thank you to the CMP for employment and everything that I’m allowed to do to promote rifle safety and the enhancement of young athletes.”
Other CMP Employees in Competition:
Chance Cover, CMP Junior Rifle Camp director
In college, Chance shot for the West Virginia University (WVU) rifle team – part of two (out of five consecutive) West Virginia NCAA Championship teams after walking on to the program his junior year. An Oklahoma native, he excelled on the range and in the classroom at WVU, earning multiple All-Academic honors. As a junior, he earned sporter class individual and team champion titles at the CMP’s 2009 Camp Perry Open, fired annually in Ohio, and was a two-time MVP and captain of his team at Western Reserve Academy.
While at the CMP, he has competed regularly at CMP’s Monthly Matches, Camp Perry Open, National Matches Air Gun events, Anniston’s Dixie Double, USA Shooting’s Winter Airgun and within the CMP’s Aces Postal program. He has also participated in two World Cups for Team USA (Bangkok and Munich).
“The reason that I enjoy marksmanship is that it constantly challenges me,” he said. “I am up there, by myself, and in order to shoot my best, I have to have a good understanding and control over my body, my emotions and my mind. It doesn’t require great feats of strength physically, but it challenges me to be better and to do better every day, to reevaluate previously held thoughts and conceptions about the sport.”
He went on, “I also enjoy being around a sport where I can see it growing every day, either with new innovations to the sport technology like rifles, suits and targets, but also where tools, techniques and tactics are being developed consistently for high performance. Competing provides me a way to not only engage with the sport and its participants firsthand, but also to continue developing the skills that will help me become a better athlete and person – as well as providing me an opportunity to work with others to pass on what I have learned.”
Tymaris Odoms, CMP Competitions Assistant
Tymaris has been competing in marksmanship for the last six years, beginning as a member of his high school’s Navy JROTC program as a sophomore. He started in sporter air rifle and has moved on to air pistol. Tymaris is also a regular competitor in Target Sprint events, which combine running and shooting. He placed first in the inaugural Target Sprint event at Camp Perry as well as first in the Anniston Dixie Double Target Sprint competition in 2019. He also set a new record while competing in the event at the Arlington Rifle Club.
“What comes to mind when I think about marksmanship is the diversity of the sport – there are males, females, young and old,” he said. “A lot of sports are physically demanding, requiring countless hours of physical training in the weight room or on a field. While being fit can certainly help, if your days of running are over, you can still put some shots down range. I’m getting old, so it’s nice to participate in a sport where I’m not out of breath chasing someone. Instead, I’m chasing consistency and challenging myself mentally.”
Tymaris has continued to compete in CMP’s Aces Postal, Dixie Double, Monthly Matches and the National Matches Air Gun events at Camp Perry. He has even placed at Anniston’s Monthly Air Gun Matches and competed at USA Shooting’s 2021 Winter Airgun.
“I compete because of my love for the sport. I try to stay involved as much as I can. It’s fun,” he added. “I’m always on my last 10 shots for pistol telling myself my arm hurts, I’ll never do this again, and then I find myself doing it again.”
Alana Kelly, CMP Program Coordinator
In college, Alana shot for four years on the University of Mississippi rifle team. There, she helped her teammates reach the most wins in a season and the highest conference finish in the program’s history. She also reached the Academic Honor Roll each year. As a junior from Georgia, she was a four-time Junior Olympian, the 2015 All-State Team Captain and won multiple gold medals at state- and national-level competitions.
While at the CMP, she has continued to compete at air rifle events, including CMP’s Monthly Matches, the Camp Perry Open and USA Shooting’s 2021 Winter Airgun match.
— By Ashley Brugnone, CMP Staff Writer
The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally chartered 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearm safety and marksmanship training and to the promotion of marksmanship competition for citizens of the United States. For more information about the CMP and its programs, log onto www.TheCMP.org.