Shooting USA Interviews Julie Golob
By Craig Lamb
15 Questions with Julie G.
Julie Golob’s stellar career in professional shooting sports goes far beyond her resume listing more than 115 championship titles in state, regional, and international competitions. The captain of Team Smith & Wesson is also a wife, mother, gourmet wild game cook, hunter, and veteran of the U.S. Army.
“Julie G” is undeniably the shooting sport’s most active social network celebrity. Some 8,700 followers on Facebook get updated about everything going on with her hectic life. Her social community of fans keeps engaged through a blog, podcast, email list, and Web site. Golob keeps broadening that network with her first book (Shoot: Your Guide to Shooting and Competition).
During a production break in taping Shooting USA’s “Pro Tips” with Golob, her passion for all things shooting was proven by random luck. A wild turkey gobbler flew across the range and Golob the “hunter” wanted to use break time to call the bird in for a shot. Instead, she opted to spend the time with us for the following interview (we appreciate that and hope you do too).
You’ve written your first book. How did the idea come about?
I wanted to write the book to address a void, a need. And that is to make sure we don’t turn away anyone from shooting sports just because they don’t have the basic information to get involved. Introducing firearms basics and shooting practices to novices is one void that is filled with the book. It also has a lot of information about all the different shooting disciplines in one place.
Does the book serve avid shooters as well?
Yes, most definitely. There are many shooting sports with so many nuances you need to know about as you become even more involved. We tend to make things complicated, or technical, as we continue developing skills in a sport like shooting. That’s great because it’s an indication of the sport’s growing popularity. So this book also serves as a primer to help experienced shooters improve their skill.
Interest in shooting and firearms ownership is at an all-time high. When did you first begin noticing that?
It’s been about 10 years now that I’ve really seen people becoming more forthcoming and approaching me about getting involved. I think it’s because of the popularity and acceptance that firearms have now more so than in the 1990s and before then.
Your father, Pete Goloski, was an early influence for your now lifelong passion for shooting sports. How did that come about?
I was surrounded by it while working at matches as a kid and later as a range officer. I got starry eyed to see people like Rob Leatham, Jerry Miculek, and Doug Koenig. Dad and I still joke about when I went shooting with him and I’d see all those superstars. Back in the 1980s and 1990s all the top shooters wore outrageous shooting outfits. They were all color-coordinated and quite over the top by today’s standards. It’s silly but I called them “shooting jammies” and I wanted to wear them like the pros did back then. You’ve got to keep in mind that I was about 14 at the time and they looked like a cool fashion statement.
You joined the U.S. Army right out of high school. Why?
I joined the Army because I wanted to win a national title ever since I was a kid. I mean I was obsessed with winning a title. I knew that joining the Army was the best way to go about doing it. I grew up around shooting and spent a lot of time on the range because of dad’s job. I was also fortunate to have been recruited back then for the U.S. Army Action Shooting Team.
How did the Army help you evolve as a shooter?
I needed something more to challenge me, because I was beginning to consistently win at the junior level. When I joined the Army I shot a lot of rounds. I learned a lot about what worked for me. I did that on my own terms as a woman even though I was in a male-dominated sport and environment at the time. The experience was good for me, because it gave me a chance to develop my skills at a higher level.
At what point did you realize you wanted to make this a career?
I joined the Army wanting to be a shooter even after I got out of the military. I think when you’re young and in high school you don’t always know exactly what you want to do. But I knew I wanted to be a professional shooter. I knew I wanted to win and I did in the Army. I just didn’t know how long I would be able to ride that wave. And then I got out of the Army and opportunities came for me to work in the industry.
How did the Smith & Wesson relationship evolve?
Smith & Wesson was my first gun sponsor when I was 16 years old. They offered me a career opportunity after I came out of the Army. I jumped at that because it was literally a dream come true to work in the industry you’ve literally been following since you were a kid.
That was a savvy move for them to make with a woman. What was your job?
I had the opportunity to be their consumer program manager at the factory. It was a dream job. I designed and developed programs to market Smith & Wesson products. The job also influenced my personal interest in shooting sports instruction and teaching. The programs I developed were “how-to” based, so my job also became my passion for teaching and instructing. It was a great personal passion that Smith & Wesson realized I had, and they allowed me to develop it while being competitive.
You are highly respected as a teacher and expert instructor. What makes you qualified for those roles as a woman?
I think it’s because as a woman that I look at things differently. Because I think like a woman I apply my communication and shooting skills in a way that a lot of men haven’t done thus far. It’s just a different way of looking at things. A different, fresh perspective that reaches a key audience we’re after to recruit participation in the shooting sports.
You make a point to be approachable to new shooters. Who do you hear from the most, men or women?
I hear from both men and women. It’s a good sign about the women because they are looking to get involved beyond the concealed carry aspect. I’m finding that women are looking to get into shooting as a sport, as well. Men who watched a shooting discipline on a show like Shooting USA will also approach me. While they understand the concept, they generally don’t know where and how to get started.