Once again a reader has come through with a great tip. Today’s Jewish Markswoman is Katelyn Bleiweiss of the great state of Texas. A 2007 article in the Houston Chronicle had this to say:
KATELYN Bleiweiss is a gifted young artist, actress and musician at the High School for Performing Arts in Houston whom her father, Ira, describes as a “non-stop” artist.Still, the Meyerland resident’s artistry is not limited to the canvas. She can also “paint out” a bull’s eye in a target with an open-sight, .223-caliber AR-15 high-powered rifle. `Open sight’ refers to a rifle without optical aids such as scopes mounted on the rifle. At the Texas State Championships this past year, Katelyn’s shooting skills won her a third place rating among women in Texas.Katelyn, 16, undoubtedly has artistic talent; her work won second place in a city-wide Houston ISD competition, and though she was only 14 at the time, one of her pictures brought $500 in a charity auction.Her father Ira said that Katelyn’s artistic talents lend themselves to her excellence at the range.“She has that artist’s eye that lets her see the straight lines to the target,” he said. “The sport really teaches youth a lot in the form of discipline and focus. You don’t just show up for this sport; it takes a lot of practice and concentration.”That she undoubtedly has.“Before each shot, I take a couple of deep breaths to slow down my heart rate. The only thing I am trying to beat is my last score, my last shot,” she said.…Katelyn, who began her shooting at the ripe old age of 7, competes in a sport called high-powered rifle target shooting. She shoots at targets at 200, 300 and 600 yards, and is rated between expert and master for shooting at 600 yards.Though she only became serious about her sport in February of 2006, 94 percent of her shots fall within a 12-inch circle. While it might seem unusual to expose youths to firearms at such a young age, Ira said it was done with safety in mind.“I wanted to demystify guns for them,” her father said of his philosophy with Katelyn as well as her older brother, Evan, and sister, Ellen. “If they were at a playmate’s house and were asked if they wanted to see their father’s gun, they would answer they were not interested. I did that with all of my kids.”Ira Bleiweiss said family marksmanship extends past himself and his children.“My wife Wendy is probably the best shot in the family,” he said. “She is very good with a shotgun, but she gave that up about 20 years ago.”Starting out, the elder Bleiweiss took Katelyn to the range two or three times a year to shoot a .22-caliber rifle. As she got older, she progressed into shooting larger calibers and started drawing the attention of adult shooters.In February, Ira Bleiweiss received a phone call from a Texas State Rifle Association youth coach who had heard about Katelyn’s shooting skills. He wanted to work with her to train her for competitions.…After that coach moved out of the state, Bob Mullins took over and serves as Katelyn’s present shooting coach. Mullins describes her as a youth with a “beautiful personality.”“There are people I can spot walking up to me that I can see will never make a rifle shooter, just something about the person’s demeanor,” Mullins said. “Katelyn doesn’t fall into this negative category.”Why does Katelyn choose shooting as a sport, especially when sometimes she receives negative peer pressure from some of her classmates? She said the rush of a perfect score keeps her coming back.“If you get a perfect X, a perfect 10, that perfect shot, it’s just so very satisfying,” she said. “In shooting, the only competitor is yourself. It’s a good challenge.”
In 2008 she earned medals at the Nationals in team and individual events. Unfortunately, Katelyn is taking time off according to her father’s recent comment on the blog:
She is currently enrolled at a university and her studies do not leave her time for competition. Katelyn also enjoys trap shooting and her first time out shot over 90% busting clay birds.
Speaking of her father, Ira, as a fellow father of a nice Jewish girl, I found great wisdom in a quote he gave to the Jewish Herald Voice:
“Riflery is not only an Olympic sport, but this is also a skill that every nice Jewish girl should have”