Here at Texas Archery, we consider ourselves family. So when one of our family members does something extraordinary, we like to celebrate.
So, we wanted to give a huge shout out to our Level III instructor, Kay Gaido, who recently won Shooter of the Year in the Senior Women’s Freestyle category, at the Outdoor Field Competition. Held by Texas Field Archery Association (TFAA) and National Field Archery Association (NFAA), this year the competition took place in Waco, TX.
What made it especially rewarding for her was that it’s a new discipline of her, and a new style of bow.
“I’ve been a bow hunter for 30 years,” says Kay. “I needed a new challenge, so I decided to try the freestyle division.”
To prepare for the NFAA championships, she had shoot qualifying tournaments and state tournaments. And practiced. A lot.
She has competed in the past but laid it down to teach. But she started competing again when one too many people told her: those who can’t do, teach. Her competitive side couldn’t resist the temptation to show them wrong.
“I’ve been doing many things in the past few years to expand my own knowledge and my teaching. It’s ultimately to bring this to my students,” she explains. “We have a lot of people coming in to learn how to shoot competitively, and if you don’t know how to explain how to deal with the equipment, to your students, you’re going nowhere.”
A Level III instructor since 2017, Kay has been with Texas Archery since it opened, doing a variety of jobs. Besides enjoying working with her husband, Richard, (who is also works with us), Kay says she appreciates shooting with her friends.
“Most of my teaching is out of Texas Archery, but I’m an independent, so I can work anywhere. But they are my archery family; it’s definitely the people that keep me there.”
She’s always been involved in some kind of teaching capacity - from vacation bible school as a teenager to her current job. She says there is archery for every type of person; female, young, old. Her students have ranged from 4 years of age to 86.
“I love to see someone get into a sport that I love and accomplish something that makes them happy.” Kay adds “so much in this life makes you unhappy and archery is such a fun sport.”
She has recently taken on a new discipline: adaptive archery. This is a new and extremely challenging kind of archery, for injured and mobility-impaired athletes. In fact, she’s hosting the Veteran’s Day 3D shoot on December 16, which is sponsored by the local Texas chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America.
“It’s extremely challenging because it’s adaptive for you and for them. It’s absolutely particular to the individual person,” explains Kay. “As an instructor, you’re always learning something - not just every day but every person. I love it because they’re so happy to be doing something different.”
However, not everyone wants to be involved in bow hunting. Some people walk into the shop, and they make it very clear they want nothing to do with shooting. And Kay is completely OK with that. She also teaches recreational and competitive archery and it’s important that people know they can learn without having to hunt.
“There’s a whole other world of archery that exists where people can experience archery without hunting. There is lots of choice in this sport.”
“I love archery and I take everything I do with the outdoors; hunting, fishing, and shooting, both recreationally and competitively, it’s all with my archery. Even my food because we eat what we kill. It just makes sense that I want to give that back to other people.”
From the field to the oven, she does it all. No-one will tell Kay again that she can’t do and teach.