When people ask Ashley Carroll what she does, she says, “I’m an international trap shooter, and I get to travel all over the world.” She notes that some people get confused because they don’t know that you can do shooting as a sport.
“I tell them, we have competitions all over the world…and I shoot international trap.” People will then ask, “Is that an Olympic sport?” She then gets an opportunity to answer in the affirmative and to talk about the differences between American and International Trap disciplines—mainly that in International Trap, the clays fly faster and from 15 machines in a trap house, as opposed to one machine in the traditional American setup.
Ashley is a 22-year-old shotgunner who decided at an early age that she wanted to learn to shoot a shotgun and shoot it well. Early means in second grade, when she always looked for ways to be outdoors. Her father loved the clay shooting sports, and took her along to the range. By the age of 8, she was shooting and busting clays—thanks to her dad’s coaching, her Remington 20 gauge and to the Scholastic Clay Target Program at her school in California. Her father, Charlie Carroll, also coached her and continued his education, courtesy of USA Shooting’s Olympic coach program. Because she trained at Olympic facilities in California, the father-daughter team traveled several hours to either Los Angeles or Sacramento...at least 3 hours each way.
After several years of international competitions and ensuing awards, Ashley earned her first World Cup medal (gold) earlier this season at a World Cup in Acapulco, Mexico, during her 11th World Cup appearance. She’s competed in four World Championships, two as a junior. She’ll most likely compete in the International Shooting Sport Federation World Championships coming up later this summer, Aug. 30 to Sept. 10 in Moscow, Russia.
Ashlee lives and trains in the Colorado Springs, Colorado area. During the year, she takes general education courses at a local community college, and she is presently working in the gun department at the local Bass Pro Shops. She appreciates that management there allows for her busy travel schedule, and tells her, “You better tell us how you did when you get home!”
About her travels, she says she loves to take photographs and to collect souvenirs. On a recent trip to Peru, she and the rest of the women’s shooting team went to a flea market and purchased beautiful alpaca blankets. It’s one of her favorite and most useful souvenirs.
Olympian Kim Rhode played a supporting role in Ashley’s development. As Ashley recalls, she met Kim at the American Trap Association Grand American in Vandalia, Ohio, when Ashley was a teenager. “Kim was there doing a speech and you could shoot with her on the trap range—meaning she’d stand behind you and watch you shoot. She said, ‘This is what I do, you can do it as an Olympic sport. … I thought, ‘Oh, man. I didn’t really know you could go to the Olympics with this sport!’”
Now, Ashley feels that if she had an issue and needed to talk to Kim, it would happen. “I’d call her and say, ‘Hey, this is what I’m dealing with'…I’ve talked to her a couple of times about some things, and she and her dad started out pretty much the same way my dad and I started, kind of on our own and learning the game.”
Along with shooting well, Ashley believes competition shooters need to communicate. “Everything is so social-media-based these days. That’s the one thing—a lot of companies are looking for that with sponsorships,” confessed Ashley. She currently posts to Facebook and Instagram.
To children who want to follow in her footsteps, she encourages them to find a youth clays-shooting program. “If you’re any place around a 4-H program or SCTP program, or the AIM program in California … there will be coaches and they will help you go in a certain direction: ATA, sporting clays or the Olympic route.”
Ashley notes that the NRA helps several youth shooting programs in her hometown. “We go through the Friends of the NRA, and you guys have helped multiple times with giving us sponsor money targets, ammo, shows and getting our kids to the Grand American.”