BY LEANN DILBECK –
From shooting BB guns to claiming World Championship Trapshooting competitions…not once but eight times…Nancy (Turner) Williams, a Polk County native, credits her roots and her parents that turned a childhood activity into a lifelong hobby that has spanned three decades. The daughter of Minnie Belle Turner and the late Kenneth Turner, Nancy was born and raised in Mena, graduating from Mena High School. “Like many kids in Arkansas, my brother, David, and I were fortunate in that we could spend a lot of time outdoors and in the woods, and we learned how to shoot BB guns and .22 rifles at an early age. Our family also had a small cabin near Big Fork, the Chigger Farm, where we perfected many of our shooting skills, as we periodically tried to rid the place of poisonous snakes! And truth be known, my brother is just as good of a shot as I am!”
After completing high school, Nancy graduated from college, then obtained her Master’s degree in Nursing Science. She married a physician, Doyne Williams, whose hobby was trapshooting, so that quickly became a hobby of hers as well. “When we were working full time (cardiovascular surgery), we shot competitively mainly in Arkansas and bordering states. When we were able to retire, we began to travel cross-country during the summer months, and competed in state, zone, national, and world championships.”
During a span of roughly 30 years, Nancy has won 360 trophies in state shoot competitions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Illinois, Arizona, Nebraska, and Mississippi. “I have been the top lady shooter in Arkansas since 1982, with my most recent state title coming this past summer.”
Nancy has also won 58 titles in Southwestern Zone competitions (tournaments in 8 states – Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Colorado). “We have also attended many national tournaments in Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas, Michigan, and Georgia, and I’ve won a total of 34 national championship trophies.”
The most prestigious trapshooting tournament is the Grand American, which is also host to the World Trapshooting Championships. Nancy has won 8 world championships, and tied for 3 others during this tournament, a pretty grueling tournament spanning 10 days during the middle of August.
The overall governing agent for the sport is the Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA), and Nancy has earned a spot on the ATA All American Team 13 times. The state governing organization for Arkansas is the Arkansas State Trapshooting Federation (ASTF), and Nancy has also earned a spot on the ASTF State Trapshooting Team 21 times.
She was inducted into the Arkansas Trapshooting Hall of Fame in 1991 and into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.
Nancy is grateful, not only for the childhood she and her brother had but for the opportunities the passion has afforded her, “I’m very grateful that I had the two best parents in the world, who worked hard to provide so many wonderful things for my brother and me, including a place to learn how to shoot. This childhood activity turned into a lifelong hobby and has brought me many rewards, honors, and allowed me to meet many incredible people from some of our Olympic medalists all the way to the late actor, Charlton Heston, a tremendous ambassador for our 2nd amendment rights.”
Nancy is one of those rare individuals who believes in giving back and has served in several capacities within her organization. “I have served as a director, as a vice-president, and as president of the ASTF. I also worked with Chuck Woodson, as he helped develop the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program, currently the most successful youth shooting program in the country. I am also a volunteer with two associations, Love, Truth, Care, Ministries and Operation New Life, and help host a Benefit Trapshoot, which provides much-ne.eded funding to these non-profits for their surgical mission trips to Honduras each year.”
She is eager to share the sport with anyone who has an interest but is enjoying a slower pace of life now. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve cut back some on my shooting … the intense pounding of shooting 300 rounds a day … and, these rounds are 12- gauge shotgun rounds, not BB’s or .22’s .. .for several days in a row, plus the summertime heat get to me just a little bit more now than they did 30 years ago! I do still enjoy my sport and the people associated with it, so I hope to be able to continue to shoot for as long as I can, as trapshooting is truly a sport where a 90- year old shooter can shoot right beside a 10-year old … where men can shoot right beside women … where even someone in a wheelchair can shoot right alongside someone standing! What a sport!”