With a strong sense of family and friends, Tammy Richards makes it a habit of always shooting straight
Q: You are a modern day Annie Oakley and many know that you are a pretty good shot and have recently started a shooting group with a friend. How did you get involved in an activity that is, for the most part, dominated by men?
“I have always had an interest in shooting. I grew up around hunting and guns but I do not really like the big guns – I stick to the pistols. I just enjoy shooting pistols. Not long ago, I became a certified pistol instructor and I teach shooting at the Academy of Personal Defense and Security in Wendell. A friend and I started a women’s only shooting group. We recently started meeting and on our first day, we had about 20 women show up, which was great.”
Q: Do what do you attribute the interest in shooting?
“I think women have more of an interest in firearms now, and they worry about being able to protect themselves. You have some women who live alone so they are focused on protection.”
Q: Who introduced you to shooting?
“Well, I remember my granddad had guns but my cousins also would hunt. I was raised by my grandma mostly. I lost both my mom and my granddad when I was 7 so at 65, my grandma began raising me alone and we were very close.”
Q: What about your father?
“My mom and dad divorced when I was a baby. He did not have much to do with me. He was a country singer, on the local level, and he just wasn’t in the picture. About 23 years ago, I met my half brother. We have the same dad. He contacted me and said he had been looking for me for quite some time.”
Q: That must have been quite a surprise to find out you had a brother?
“Yes, but it has been a good experience and we are close.”
Q: Your grandmother sounds like a strong woman. Would you say of everyone you have met, she made the greatest impact?
“She (Rada Richardson) did have the biggest influence over my life. She instilled in me the importance of family and faith. She never questioned her Lord, even when things were bad. She outlived all her children and lost a daughter and husband in the same year. We have always lived together. We started out in North Raleigh on Falls of the Neuse Road but moved to Knightdale when I was 8. She raised me and looked after me. Even after I got married, she lived with us. She was 101 when she passed away last July. She had major surgery when she was 98 and the doctors thought she might not make it but she recovered. Her health started to decline about four years ago and we placed her in an assisted living facility. I began volunteering there and would visit her everyday. Though she has been gone, I still volunteer and I call bingo games there once a week.”
Q: So you teach shooting and call bingo on the weekends and evenings. What keeps you busy during the day?
“For the past 28 years, I have worked for the U.S. Government.”
Q: “Anything top secret or can you discuss your job?
“I am a transportation specialist and oversee about 350 locally administered projects.”
Q: So in layman’s terms, what does that mean? What are the projects?”
“It could be anything from sidewalk projects, to bridge replacements, to historic railroad stations.”
Q: Your family recently reached another milestone, correct?
“Yes, my son, Cameron, (graduated) from N.C. State University. And we play on the same co-ed softball team together. I am the catcher and Cameron is the pitcher.”
Q: How does that work out, playing with your son?
“We play together pretty well except when he shakes my pitches off (laughing).”
Q: Sounds like you prefer the outdoors.
“Yes, you can say I am a tomboy. When I was growing up and playing with my cousins, we were always outside, playing ‘Evel Knievel’ or hunting Big Foot.”
Q: Any hobbies you share with your husband?
“We have a place at the beach and we like to spend time down there. He likes to fish but I don’t really care for it. I tell him I’ll watch his pole as I am relaxing on the beach (laughing). And there is also a group of us, eight from my graduating class (East Wake High Class of 1984). The Ya Ya’s. We stay in touch and try to get together once a month. It keeps us close, which is always important.”
Correspondent Dena Coward