By Serena Juchnowski, CMP Feature Writer
Every high power competitor discovers the sport in a different way. Some get their first exposure through the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s Small Arms Firing School. Others hear about it from a friend or family member or find it though social media, internet articles and general exploration. Madison Rovelli, a 17-year old member of the Arizona State Junior High Power Rifle Team, discovered one of her passions by asking.
Madison explained how she started, noting that, “When I was 13, I begged my parents to take me to Ben Avery Shooting Facility since I had never been, and it looked so cool. While we were there, my mother asked the Range Safety Officers ("RSO”) if they had any junior shooter programs.”
After attending an open house hosted by Arizona Scorpions Junior High Power, Rovelli received an invitation to join the team. This surprised Rovelli, who “had no clue that Arizona had a state ‘association,’ let alone a junior high power rifle team.”
Fast forward three years and Rovell is still “very grateful to her coaches for seeing potential in her.”
Though she did not join the Arizona Scorpions until she was 13, she enjoyed casual shooting with family and friends since the age of nine, finding time on the range calming.
Madison outlines the tenants of what marksmanship has taught her: safety, responsibility, patience, and confidence. Firearm safety is always of utmost importance, but Rovelli indicated that shooting has made her more situationally aware than she was previously.
She has taken on increased responsibilities as she has been with the Scorpions team, “loading her own ammo, cleaning and taking care of her rifle and equipment,” all the while accompanied by her plush scorpion, Wilson, who “resides on her shooting cart.”
She admits that she is not, by nature, a patient individual, and comments, “I learned the hard way, but the wind isn't always your friend so you need to slow down and roll with it,” referring to spending the time to read the wind and conditions rather than just shooting through it.
Rovelli cites confidence as the primary thing she has learned from marksmanship. She states that, “believing in yourself is important when you're on the firing… Shooting is a mental game that often challenges self-confidence, and it has only made me a stronger person.”
Madison, a home-school high school student, keeps herself busy playing volleyball for her local public high school and as a Brown Belt and Student Instructor in Krav Maga self-defense, working towards her Black Belt. She also is studying for her private pilot’s license.
Even with so many ambitions, Rovelli notes that “I can’t think of anything else that I want to do more than shoot.”
Rovelli loves meeting and learning from new people – which is one reason she is so passionate about the shooting sports.
“Each person has a fascinating story to tell, and I look forward to hearing those stories from all the different shooters during the matches I compete in,” she said. “Competitive shooters are the friendliest, tightest knit group of people that I have ever met. Shooting is the only sport, that I know of, where your competition will come to your aid when needed and help you to become a stronger, better shooter.”
In return for all of the help she has received, Rovelli hopes to give back in the future by returning to the Arizona Scorpions team to coach, to “carry on this great legacy.” First, though, she plans to become a pilot and attend a military academy.
Madison Rovelli offers great advice to new shooters, saying, “Do not join shooting sports thinking that you do not have what it takes to be like the top shooters that you've seen or heard about. Every top shooter started at the bottom; you are no different. As long as you take good advice from other competitors, try different positions (when you need to), practice quite often, and believe in yourself; you can become a top shooter.”