HARTSBURG — Alexandra Griffeth competes on the USA Shooting Team.
On Friday, though, she competed in the modified practical pistol shooting event at the Show-Me State Games. Smoke and the smell of sulfur filled the air as hot casings soared at the Ammo Alley shooting range in Hartsburg. Griffeth and two other women competed in a field of 24 shooters.
"It (shooting) is fun because people see me, and they are like, 'Oh, it's a little 5-foot-3 girl who can't shoot anything, but I can," Griffeth said.
Ammo Alley owner Doug Alley, who hosted the Show-Me State Games tournament for the third year in a row, agreed with Griffeth.
"It doesn't matter how big and brawny you are. This is a kind of sport that regardless of your size, stature, economic background, everybody competes on an even keel," Alley said.
Griffeth, a native of Springfield, Mo., began shooting her freshman year at Missouri State. She was the only girl on the club team during the four years she attended the school.
"I worked at a shooting range for a while, and when I gave instructions, people would give me a hard time, so I would say, 'All right, me and you, let's go,'" Griffeth said. "I would beat them and then they would listen."
As a junior, she won the collegiate women's national tournament in the pistol event, landing Griffeth a spot on the USA Shooting Team.
Her friend Rob Deppi has also competed on the national level. Deppi, who also competed in the Show-Me State Games shooting event Friday, is a recent graduate of Ohio State. A native of Philadelphia who lives in Columbus, Ohio, he competed in the past two pistol events at the collegiate men's national tournament in Fort Benning, Ga.
"I spent four years at Ohio State, and most of the time I was being out-shot by women," Deppi said. "The three leads were females throughout most of my time."
One of the women, Teresa Meyer, is currently training at the Olympic facilities in Colorado Springs.
After spending a year in Colorado Springs, Griffeth has moved back to Springfield for financial reasons.
"I might go back to (the Olympic team) later, but as a recent college grad, I can't afford it," Griffeth said.
When a job opportunity in her area of expertise arose in her hometown, she couldn't turn it down. Griffeth will be managing a shooting range being built by the Springfield Park Board.
"I want to get sponsored by some gun company and compete as long as I'm good at it," Griffeth said.