In the heart of Hill Country is an annual girls’ getaway. But this one is a little different—it has more than 250 attendees and involves shooting from a helicopter. A Girl & A Gun Women’s Shooting League was founded by Julianna Crowder in 2011 as a way for women to connect with other women who are passionate about shooting and want to learn in a supportive environment. The first two conferences were held in Waco, then moved to Copperhead Creek Shooting Club in Marble Falls.

Copperhead Creek Shooting Club provides multiple areas for different kinds and distances of shooting such as pistol, skeet and long range. A 5,000-square-foot clubhouse with two breakout rooms is available for indoor sessions. Twenty-nine RV sites with hookups are also offered for conference participants to use.

“In Texas, the biggest challenge is the weather,” says Executive Director Robyn Sandoval, Crowder’s teammate in running the league and conference. “Some years the weather is cold and stormy, while in 2016 it was so warm we were worried about sun exposure and heat stroke. We are limited on indoor training space and activities, so it’s a big concern.” 

Because A Girl & A Gun Women’s Shooting League is headquartered in Texas, it’s close to home, so logically easier for the Crowder and Sandoval to plan. “Fortunately, Texas is very firearms friendly, so it’s easy for ladies to travel here with their guns. And the ammo pallet is so heavy and we require a lot of loaner and teaching gear and equipment, so it really prevents us from taking the conference on the road,” says Sandoval. “And we wouldn’t have Heli Gunner outside of Texas.” 

Classes range from learning about self-defense to how to participate in competitions, but a big draw is Heli Gunner, where participants get to fly up in a helicopter and shoot at targets on the ground. Crowder explains, “Heli Gunner is the brainchild of Jeremy Stillman. He has a background as a first responder, search and rescue, and combined with his experience in the firearms industry, it just came together. They started doing aerial tours, hog hunts and aerial gunner on private property in Temple, Texas. When we moved our national conference to Copperhead Creek Shooting Club in Marble Falls, it was a perfect fit for all of us, plenty of room to do aerial gunnery and a wonderful range to hold our classes.”

“Everyone should do Heli Gunner,” says conference participant Samol Hefley, from Washington State. “It’s so much fun and it’s completely safe. It’s an unbelievable experience that I would never have a chance to do anywhere else.”

“You can take a helicopter tour anywhere you go,” says Crowder. “Shooting from one is pretty unique.” 

Over the years, any corporate event planner can admit to spending countless hours researching the perfect venue or vendors for their gatherings. After attending or hosting hundreds of events, New York-based Daphne Hoppenot was no stranger to this research and was frustrated by its repetitive nature. However, it was planning her wedding in 2018 that pushed her to realize the lack of resources in the corporate events market compared to the wedding industry, and set out to see if other meetings and events professionals were struggling with the same problem.  

 

Freelancing has become a new ball game since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, as many companies cannot afford to keep full-time positions, but still need those tasks completed. Although many more professionals have had to join the freelancing community since March, Tracy Judge had the passion for the freelancing community two years ago–long before the pandemic hit–and founded her company Soundings Connect in order to directly connect meetings and events industry freelancers with customers. 

 

The 18-story, 303-room Hyatt Regency Frisco-Dallas is now open for business. Located within Frisco’s Stonebriar Centre, the hotel includes a 27,500-square-foot conference center with Regency and Junior ballrooms and additional breakout spaces, most with floor-to-ceiling windows for natural light.