A combination of humility, tenacity, and natural talent have turned 20-year-old Haley Robinson into a force on the firing line. Robinson has been shooting nearly her entire life. “My dad had me on the range when I was about probably 4,” she says. “I killed my first deer at 5.”
Surprisingly, her competitive shooting career did not truly start until she was in high school, shooting .22 rifle as part of a high school program. She discovered that she wanted something different, and found her niche in high power service rifle. Some of the girls on the high school team were also shooting high power. Her father, Bobby Robinson, decided to try it--and soon after he started competing, Haley joined him.
At 16, Haley became a member of her local club’s junior high power team and began shooting regularly at Polk County Gun Club’s 300-yard range. To get more experience and 600-yard practice, Haley and her father traveled to every match they could. They journeyed through their home state, North Carolina, as well as to South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Ohio. At some point, the matches became more than practice. Bobby Robinson recognized his daughter’s potential, and wanted to make it possible for her to achieve as much as she could.
Haley earned Distinguished Rifleman Badge #2378, the highest honor recognized by the U.S. government for marksmanship, in 6 months’ time. “I’m not gonna lie,” Haley said. “I was exhausted. It was junior year of high school. That was the hardest year of high school for me. And I was gone, literally, every weekend somewhere…We traveled every weekend to matches.”
Even so, Haley would not trade her experiences for anything. Soft-spoken and hesitant to talk about her accomplishments, she admitted that nothing she has earned has come without hard work. She likes to focus on one goal at a time and dedicates herself to reaching it. She dry-fires every day for practice and pushes herself to do better each time.
Haley counts her NRA National Record as her greatest accomplishment. On June 22, 2019, despite feeling sick and fatigued, she fired a 200-9x during the 200-yard standing stage. “My spotting scope was on the wrong target; I didn’t even know I did it…I thought I had a 198.” Haley had a moment of panic when she realized at the end of her string that she had not been watching her target but had been observing the one next to hers, leaving her clueless as to where her shots actually landed. Disbelief overwhelmed her when her scorekeeper revealed the score that set a National Junior 200 Yard Standing Record and tied the National Woman’s 200 Yard Standing Record set by Sherri Jo Gallagher in 2009.
Haley was also the 2019 North Carolina State Champion and earned her President’s 100 tab the same year, alongside her father. Shooting with her dad has meant an incredible amount to Haley. It has been not only a bonding experience, but a joint journey, both of them eager to compare scores at the end of the day. Her best shooting memory is not of initially firing her national record, but of tying it at the 2020 Bat Soup Regional in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Bobby Robinson was in the pits when she set the record, but this past June, he was right behind his daughter, watching. Haley noted that the 200-9x would not have counted in 2020 because the match was not sanctioned but, “Just to have him there watching me, that was a very good memory.” Even with a few issues with her rifle weight falling out, Haley won the match that day with an impressive 790-23x.
NRA High Master Haley Robinson currently remains dedicated to high power as her discipline and wants to make the Top 20 in the President’s 100 at Camp Perry and compete in the shootoff. Disappointed she could not reach this goal as a junior due to the cancellation of the 2020 National Matches, she still continues to train and advises other juniors to not give up. “It’s going to be hard in the beginning but it gets better.”
Outside of shooting, Haley looks forward to deer season each year and enjoys hiking with her family. She is currently attending Western Carolina University with plans to major in elementary education to become a teacher.