Haley Robinson of Mill Spring set not one, not two, but three new national records during the 2021 National Rifle Matches.
The annual event was conducted by the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) and held in August on the grounds of the historic Camp Perry National Guard Training Facility in Port Clinton, Ohio, where it has been set for over a century.
Robinson’s record performances began with the President’s Rifle event, where she fired a score of 395-15X to earn new High Junior and High Woman records – finishing seventh overall. She was also the only junior to appear in the 20-person shootoff that accompanies the President’s Match.
“The first day, I did pretty decent, and it just stuck,” the 21-year-old said of her President’s showing.
In 2018 (only her second trip to the National Matches), Robinson gave herself an objective to reach the Top 20 shootoff. She inched close in 2019, reaching the President’s Hundred (as one of the Top 100 competitors) in 46th place overall and earning a coveted President’s Tab. She had hoped to climb her way into the shootoff the following year, but, with the cancellation of the 2020 National Matches, she wasn’t given the chance.
“This year (2021), I made it my goal, and I practiced hard before we left,” Robinson said. “I was nervous – very nervous – but once I got up there, after the first shot, I was calm.”
Along with her marksmanship abilities, Robinson is known for her composure on and off the firing line. She says she doesn’t know exactly how she stays so relaxed, but she has a hunch.
“My dad blames it on my low blood pressure,” she joked. “I’m just always calm.”
Robinson credits her dad, Bobby, for getting her started in marksmanship in 2016 (a year after he began his own journey within the sport). The following year, Robinson and her dad attended countless competitions and practiced whenever they could – talking with one another about nothing but shooting during their long truck rides from match to match. Robinson’s hard work paid off when she earned her Distinguished Rifleman Badge, a lifetime goal for most marksmen, that same year.
Now that she’s reached the President’s Shootoff, she’s got a new target in mind – winning the match.
“It’s all I have left,” she said with a smile.
After her success in the President’s Rifle Match, Robinson went on the next day to set a new Women’s Rifle Trophy national record score of 496-25X in the National Trophy Individual Match – finishing 10th overall out of a field of almost 800 competitors that included several decorated civilian and military athletes.
Seemingly arriving out of nowhere and covering the leaderboards, Robinson claims being a newcomer to the sport with a budding reputation can come with its own challenges.
“It’s very different, especially when people don’t know who you are,” she explained. “And it’s different being out here and being female, because they treat you a little different.”
She welcomes tips and advice, but to those who may underestimate her talents because of her age or her gender – she lets her scores do the talking.
“I don’t say anything to anybody,” she said. “I won’t even tell people my score, until they ask me. I’m very humble, and I don’t want to be THAT person.”
Besides that, she’s not out on the line, day after day, to prove anything to anyone else – she’s doing it all for herself.
“And him,” she said, pointing to her dad. “It’s me and him.”
As for her future plans in marksmanship, Robinson keeps it simple, saying, “Still shoot. Keep going.”
And coming back to the National Matches in 2022 to claim that President’s Rifle win?
“I mean, I’ll try,” she said as she laughed.