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View Full Version : Vera Koo is on the cover of Asianweek!


shooterx10
12-08-2006, 12:44 PM
Gun-Toting Grandma
Angela Pang, Dec 08, 2006

http://www.verakoo.com/twentyfour.gif

With her warm smile and soft-spoken voice, petite Vera Koo, a Chinese grandmother, proves that appearances can be deceiving. Not only does she not look a day over 40, remarkably, she is a conditioned athlete with an aim and accuracy that has made her widely respected in the male-dominated sport of action handgun shooting in the last 10 years.

At the age of 59, she holds seven National Top Woman titles, as well as the title of Top Senior at the 2006 National Bianchi Cup, in which she competed only against men.

She and her teammates on the U.S. National Team represented the United States at the 2006 NRA World Action Pistol Championship, held Oct. 28 through Nov. 5 in Sydney, Australia. Vera placed third in the top woman competition and won two top titles in the speed event for the women and senior categories. Four top women and four top seniors from the main event qualified to shoot in the speed event.

While in her forties, Vera enrolled in a firearm safety class in order to learn how to use the guns her husband Carlos purchased for protection.

"I was afraid of guns," recalls Vera. "Carlos would always show me how to load them, but I never remembered. It wasn’t until a firearm accidentally discharged when I picked it up, that I knew I wanted to learn how to safely handle guns."

Vera decided to take classes at De Anza College in Cupertino, Calif. She took two quarters each of beginning, intermediate and advanced shooting.

Her goal was to make small incremental improvements with each class and practice.

After becoming the best shooter in her classes, she still wanted to continue to challenge and improve her ability, so she decided to train and compete in bulls-eye, silhouette, and International Practical Shooting Confederation club matches. She started competing at 47.

"I never intended to be a champion shooter, I am just determined to be the best in whatever I set out to do," said Vera. "I am a goal-oriented person."

Though Vera has picked up a non-traditional hobby, she has lived most of her life rather traditionally as a typical Chinese American wife and mother, and to this day remains devoted to her family.

Over the years, she practiced whenever she had time, which meant after she took care of her three children and home, finished her work at her husband’s real estate investment business, and fulfilled commitments to activities she planned with her friends and family. She would sometimes sleep only 4-5 hours a night, so she could have time to go to the range and practice.

"I never have to choose between the sport and my family," said Vera. "I gave a promise years ago before my notable achievements, that I would walk away from the sport if my husband asks me to quit for whatever the reason may be. I would honor that promise."

Born in China, Vera was raised in a very traditional Chinese family and was taught that women should be nurturers and caretakers for the family. She was never allowed to play outside and spent most of her childhood playing with dolls and reading. Her family immigrated to the U.S. when she was 12 and her parents never approved of her decision to shoot at a professional level.

"My mom kept reminding me to stay home and cook for my husband," said Vera. "One of my mom’s friends thought I should take up needlepoint, and some of my friends thought I should go back to painting. In my mind, I wasn’t doing anything that would hurt anyone, including myself, and the only opinions and approval I needed was from my husband and my own family."

Her rather "bizarre" pastime as she calls it, has been met with criticism from her husband’s friends.

"One of my husband’s colleagues in China said to him, ‘Why don’t you give your wife a good beating and lock her at home so she won’t travel all over the world,’" said Vera. "That is the very traditional Chinese male attitude toward females, and fortunately, my husband isn’t like that. He is very supportive."

Upon hearing that, the married couple of 32 years, both laughed.

"At that time, I already captured a few championships so we both knew that I was good," said Vera. "And, my husband has always treated me as his equal from the day we were married."

"I tell her that if she is having a good time, then don’t worry about what other people are saying or thinking," said Carlos. "I’m happy if she is happy."

Though Carlos was born in China and didn’t move to the U.S. until he was 18, he said he was raised by very progressive parents, both of which graduated from Harvard with medical degrees, and as a result, he is more open-minded about the role of a Chinese wife.

"My parents had more of a Western way of thinking, they encouraged me to do all kinds of sports and as a result I always had the idea in my mind that my wife should do things that she enjoys," said Carlos. "I am supportive with her traveling and competing. I don’t need her to be home to cook me dinner."

"We each have our own hobbies and lives, and that’s one of the reason’s we’ve been married so long," he continued. "We give each other lots of room to pursue our own thing, and at the end of the day we both come back to the same place. She’s taken good care of me and our family and I couldn’t ask for more."

Vera’s son Austin admits he was "pretty shocked" when he learned his mother wanted to take up shooting professionally.

"I was 11 at the time she started and I knew should would have to leave at like 4 a.m. in the morning," recalls Austin. "Over the years I saw my mom change a lot. When she first started she was this person who’s had it really hard as a stereotypically oppressed Asian woman. Her parents never wanted her to be athletic and they taught her that her place was to take care of her husband. So she was fighting against it and trying to break free from that," said Austin. "And over the years as she grew more confident in herself, it really empowered her to take on challenges."

"My mom is one of those people that thrives on being busy. I honestly have no idea how she maintains the stamina. She’s a professional athlete who goes out and practices and competes. She cleans the house, gardens, she’s like a super hero," said Austin. "She’s just very cool."

"Most of my friends are impressed with what she’s achieved including myself," said Vera’s daughter, Christina Van Zandt. "When were in a hunting store in Texas, someone recognized my mom and asked for her autograph," said Van Zandt. "That was really cool for me to see some macho Texan excited to meet my mom. The fact that she’s achieved a fairly good amount of fame is amazing."

"My mom is extremely generous to a fault and committed and devoted to whatever she does," said Van Zandt. "I just gave birth and she was making sure I’d have enough groceries at home."





Though Vera loves her family and appreciates their support, she bans them from attending her matches.

"I don’t want to worry whether they’re having a good time, how they’re doing, I need a lot of mental concentration when I shoot and having them would distract me," said Vera. "Shooting requires a high amount of mental concentration. I need to have my mind totally blank except for the awareness of what I have to do, otherwise I will lose points. I’m a superior shooter because my mental and emotional game is very strong."

As an Asian American female, Vera has been patronized at competitions.

"Fellow shooters did not take me too seriously at first," she said. "But that does not stop or discourage me. It pushes me harder to beat them with high scores."

Vera practices in temperatures ranging from 32 to 103 degrees Fahrenheit and mainly uses a 1911 government model in frame and slide in a .38 super caliber. While training, she shoots approximately 40,000 to 50,000 rounds of ammunition every year.

Though Vera is now a World Champion shooter, she’s had her days of self-doubt.

"During one of my early competitions, I had a very bad performance. I knew I sucked and I couldn’t help but cry. I wanted to pack up my gear and go home," said Vera. "But then I realized I can’t leave, I’m not a quitter, I have to finish. I didn’t think I could face another day of the competition, but I prayed and found strength. The next day I won the match."

"I think Vera is everything every woman wants to be," said longtime friend Cecilia Lee. "She’s amazing and she proves that it’s not the end of the world if you’re over 50."

Vera said she plans on competing until she can no longer manage in a competition.

"Age will let me know in time," said Vera. "Right now my husband and I both believe that the sport is keeping me healthy and strong both mentally and physically. There is no reason to quit at this age if I can still manage to play."

www.verakoo.com

rkt88edmo
12-08-2006, 1:45 PM
I need to go pick up a copy, thanks for posting it.

bwiese
12-08-2006, 1:54 PM
I don't care if she's 59, she's a babe.

Great attitude, great skills, great family...

bu-bye
12-08-2006, 1:56 PM
wow she really does not look a day over 40. Good for her! I have actually found that women have an easier time keeping their hands steady then men do. Women tend to catch on to shooting faster then men do once they (men and women) overcome the flinching.

Aluisious
12-08-2006, 2:04 PM
That's really cool :)

What on earth is she holding in the picture? She'd look better with that .38 Super 1911.

acegunnr
12-08-2006, 2:06 PM
Wow great story. Awesome woman. Does she still live in the Bay Area?

bu-bye
12-08-2006, 2:10 PM
That's really cool :)

What on earth is she holding in the picture? She'd look better with that .38 Super 1911.

Its a bolt action hand rifle. Basically and cut down rifle with the grip moved up. Very accurate.

dwtt
12-08-2006, 2:11 PM
Wow great story. Awesome woman. Does she still live in the Bay Area?
If she still lives in the bay area, I would like my wife to meet her. Maybe my wife would start shooting. At targets, I mean, not at me.

ldivinag
12-08-2006, 2:13 PM
wait.....

at de anza, there are shooting classes????? WTF?

Ryan HBC
12-08-2006, 2:33 PM
I'd hit it.

phish
12-08-2006, 2:46 PM
Gee, took 'em long enough for an article! Last I remember, she lives in Menlo Park. Another gun magazine went over some kind of action shoot and they listed the competitor's name and place of residence.

Of course, since it's just across the bay, there's no way I could forget where Vera hails from.

I've been trying to get my wife to try shooting, but my lightest gun weighs more than her soaking wet. :rolleyes:

rorschach
12-08-2006, 4:42 PM
Maybe my wife would start shooting. At targets, I mean, not at me.

+1 I am happy that my wife (somewhat) knows how to shoot, but I'm leery now when she's pissed off.

kantstudien
12-08-2006, 7:53 PM
Now that's a GILF

Ubergeek
12-08-2006, 7:58 PM
An amazing lady:

http://www.verakoo.com/index.html

Boarding-Team-Leader
12-08-2006, 8:43 PM
I see her occasionally at both Los Altos Rod and Gun and Sunnyvale Rod and Gun. She is usually shooting her race gun when I see her...
BTL

1911_sfca
12-08-2006, 8:56 PM
"One of my husband’s colleagues in China said to him, ‘Why don’t you give your wife a good beating and lock her at home so she won’t travel all over the world,’" said Vera. "That is the very traditional Chinese male attitude toward females, and fortunately, my husband isn’t like that. He is very supportive."

What a dumbass. That would be the LAST beating you ever give anyone...

rkt88edmo
12-08-2006, 8:59 PM
So there is Vera and that Gunsite instructor, any other SFBay area or CA female shooters of note?

shooterx10
12-08-2006, 10:11 PM
When Malou Nubla was on CBS5's Evening Magazine or was it Best of the Bay [?] she had this segment called "Outdo Malou." People would challenge her in paintball, racing, etc. and if you win, you won something. CBS5's Sydnie Kohara challenged her to shoot trap. Needless to say Sydnie won.

http://www.alwaysdream.org/specialevents/passage2paradise2003/images/9.jpg

This is a pic of Malou and Sydnie.

This is Sydnie's bio: http://cbs5.com/bios/local_bio_288150219.html

There is something to be said when beautiful women who can handle a firearm and handle it well! :D

phish
12-08-2006, 10:17 PM
So there is Vera and that Gunsite instructor, any other SFBay area or CA female shooters of note?

There's Noma Mayo. I don't know if she still lives in Santa Clara, but she typically shoots long range matches in Sacvalley. For those with good memories, she was featured in a Modern Marvels episode on long range shooting, with the footage taking place, where else, Sacvalley.

She's won a bunch of statewide and national championships in long range, Palma team member and even has an instructional video sold by Creedmoor.

shooterx10
12-08-2006, 10:30 PM
So there is Vera and that Gunsite instructor, any other SFBay area or CA female shooters of note?

Oh yea, I forgot about Sheryl (or Cheryl) Cruz. I don't know if she lives in the Bay Area, but I do see her at Richmond R&G sometimes. She's sponsored by Limcat Custom and shoots one of their open guns. I think she has the Tigercat by the look of the compensator.

I saw her shoot a stage and whoa she's a cutie who can shoot! :cool:

daskraut
12-09-2006, 6:56 AM
GMILF..... that is good incentive for my wife to start shooting.

zenbubu
12-09-2006, 8:43 AM
Kool
Thanks for posting that article!

krim
12-09-2006, 9:15 AM
I'd hit it.


lol

you and your yellow fever.:D

PressCheck
12-09-2006, 10:08 AM
Vera Koo is my "best friends" sister. I known her for 30 years. They are Very Wealthy. She also has a "bone crushing" hand shake.

5968
12-09-2006, 6:09 PM
Now that is my kind of woman!! I hope that her husband doesn't piss her off. LOL