News & Media
Many athletes who are competing in the Olympics in Tokyo this year have a connection to Arkansas, but today I’d like to talk about Kayle Browning, the only home-grown Arkansan representing the United States. This year, Kayle won a silver medal on Thursday in the International Trap Shooting competition.
Like many of our youth, Kayle dreamed of competing in the Olympics, but she was thinking gymnastics or figure skating. As it turned out, her Olympics dreams dovetailed with her shooting talent.
Kayle’s parents, Tommy Lynn and Tammy Browning, their kin, and friends, watched from their home in Wooster, where Kayle grew up. On Thursday afternoon, Tommy Lynn said his house had been pretty noisy as they watched their only child win. They had talked to Kayle briefly a couple of times between her appearance on the “Today” show and an onslaught of interviews.
Kayle comes by her love of the sport honestly. Her father, Tommy Lynn Browning, is a lifelong hunter who has won his share of national shooting titles. At shooting competitions, the mom, Tammy, pushed Kayle about in a stroller while her dad shot. Kaylee was eight when she started shooting water-filled jugs for fun in her yard. That also was the year she killed her first deer and duck.
At twelve, Kayle was a member of the Women’s Open All American team. At thirteen, she switched from shooting sporting clay targets to international trap shooting, which is an Olympic event. The idea to compete came from a talent recruiter for the U.S. Army marksman team. After he saw her shoot, he recommended that she try out for the Olympics.
In order to train, Kayle needed a professional facility, but there wasn’t one within ten hours of Wooster. So in 2006, her dad built one on their farm.
In 2012, Kayle was an alternate on the Olympic team. This year, she made the cut and traveled to Tokyo. Kayle competes with a Krieghoff over-and-under twelve-gauge shotgun.
I’d like to note that while Kayle learned much about shooting from her father, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission contributed to her training. With her parents’ encouragement, Kayle was one of the first youth to participate in the Game and Fish Commission’s Youth Shooting Sports Program. Her success is a good testimonial to the value of that program.
Tommy Lynn and Tammy have encouraged and supported Kayle’s pursuit of her passion. But they also have emphasized that winning a medal is a good thing, but just earning a spot on the team is a worthy accomplishment. Kayle is finding success outside of the Olympics. She owns Cypress Creek Lodge, where guests can stay overnight and learn to shoot from Kayle and David Radulovich, another champion shooter. Kayle has a real estate license, and in her spare time, flips an occasional house.
Kayle Browning is following in the footsteps of her family, deepening her roots in Arkansas, building a successful business, and improving the quality of life in her community and state. Now she has brought an Olympic medal back to Arkansas. Congratulations, Kayle. For all you parents who want your children to learn about the great outdoors, meet Kayle Browning, Arkansas’s new ambassador for the shooting sports.