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Prois Woman of the Week, Annie Smith Peck ( 1850 – 1935 )

Last week we were on a ladies hog hunt in Oklahoma and were unable to post the Prois Woman of the Week. To make up for lost time we picked an amazing woman for this week’s selection. Annie Smith Peck climbed to heights that no woman had reached before, literally! Annie Smith Peck was a scholar, an author, woman’s suffragist, and a world renowned mountain climber. The following excerpt is quoted directly from Thank you for reading about this amazing woman who was a pioneer for women in a relatively new and extremely challenging and dangerous sport.

“Mountain climber, author. Born on October 19, 1850, in Providence, Rhode Island. Annie Peck Smith set many records during her career as a mountain climber, including the highest climb in the Americas in 1908. Some sources also credit her as the first woman to climb the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps.

After earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Greek at the University of Michigan, Annie Peck Smith worked for a time as a teacher. She went to Europe in 1884 to study in Germany. The next year Smith became the first woman to attend the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. At first, she tried supporting herself by lecturing on Greek archaeology, but found that audiences were more interested in her hobby—mountain climbing. The sport was still relatively new and there were few female climbers. It was also incredibly dangerous as there were no oxygen tanks or other supportive equipment to help climbers at high altitudes.

After climbing the Matterhorn in 1895, Annie Smith Peck continued to seek new challenges, especially in the mountains in the Americas. She tackled Mexico’s Mount Orizaba in 1897, setting the women’s altitude record at that time. Wanting to reach heights higher than anyone else—male or female—had done before, Peck tried several times to climb Mount Illampu in Bolivia. Despite this setback, she tried to reach her goal by climbing Mount Huascarán in Peru. Peck was victorious on her second attempt in 1908. Having reached a height of 21, 812 feet, she set the record for the highest climb in the Western Hemisphere at the age of 58. For her amazing feat, the peak she scaled was named Cumbre Aña Peck in her honor.

Annie Smith Peck wrote about her adventures in the 1911 book A Search for the Apex of America. She continued to climb and seek out new challenges. A dedicated supporter of a woman’s right to vote, Peck hung a “Votes for Women” banner on Mount Coropuna in Peru. Also an avid traveler, Annie Smith Peck wrote several guide books about South America. Around 1929, she set out on a new challenge, exploring South America using commercial airline flights, a feat she wrote about in Flying Over South America: Twenty Thousand Miles by Air (1932).

Annie Smith Peck died in New York City on July 18, 1935. Shortly before her death, she had been doing what she loved best—climbing the Acropolis in Athens. Peck is remembered for her adventurous spirit and determination, forging in new ground for women in a new sport.”

© 2011 A&E Television Networks. All rights reserved.

Swarovski Optik North America Launches a Facebook Page for Women’s Hunting!

Cranston, Rhode Island – SWAROVSKI OPTIK North America announces that is has officially launched a Facebook page for women’s hunting. This new fan page will allow all women to share their passion for hunting, shooting and the outdoors with the company and other women hunters.

SWAROVSKI OPTIK North America has already embraced the evolution of social media by allowing users to become fans of the company on Facebook, but SWAROVSKI OPTIK will take it to the next level with the recently announced vehicle for women hunters that will add to the company’s overall social media presence.

The official SWAROVSKI OPTIK North America Women Hunting page can be found at:

Women who are outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to join our official fan page on Facebook to connect to the world of SWAROVSKI OPTIK on a regular basis, and to keep informed about our latest happenings. Becoming a fan of SWAROVSKI OPTIK North America Women Hunting on Facebook gives brand lovers the opportunity to instantaneously keep our fans informed of new product developments, learn tips and tricks from our experts, watch exclusive product videos, and discover the latest news from SWAROVSKI OPTIK.

Social media users can also watch or share videos on YouTube featuring new products, expert tips, live interviews from special show events, and more! From learning how to properly use the BT (Ballistic Turret) rifle scope to discovering more about new products, YouTube provides an easy communication between the company and our end user.

“With the increasing involvement of women hunters in our industry we feel Facebook is a great way to communicate directly to them,” said Albert Wannenmacher, CEO of SWAROVSKI OPTIK NORTH AMERICA. “We think it’s important to foster personal relationships, and social media networks are an excellent avenue for quick communication. We always want to keep our friends and peers up-to-date on company events,” Wannenmacher said.

If you require any further information or photography please contact:

Dean J. Capuano, Communications Manager


2 Slater Road, Cranston, Rhode Island 02920

Tel. 800-426-3089 x2957, Fax. 877-287-8517

Prois Hunting Apparel April Caption Contest

Jump in and take part in the fun! Prois Hunting Apparel for Women is sponsoring a monthly photo caption contest which will be posted here, on the Prois Community Blog.

How do you participate? Simply supply a unique caption to go with our posted photo in the comments section listed below.

Why should you participate? Well, for starters it’s fun! BUT- the winner that is chosen by the Prois staff will become the proud new owner of a Prois cap in any color you want! What are you waiting for!? Give us YOUR caption!

Tracy Barnes Crowned Best Shooter in the World!

Sunday (3/27/2011)Tracy beat the very best biathletes in the world in the shootout of biathlon’s premier event, the “Veltins World Team Challenge” at Schalke, Germany. Tracy grabbed top honors in the coveted Shootout event, which is a shooting competition that tests the 20 top biathletes in the world. In this invitation-only event, 10 women compete head-to-head during a four stage shooting event which is the same format as that used in a regular biathlon race (two prone, two standing). The top three ladies from this preliminary round face off with the top three men from their first round to see who is the best shooter in the final round of competition. Tracy came in 1st for the women’s round AND 1st in the final competition with the four best women and four best men!!! This was an exciting competition for the athletes and the 50,000+ spectators at the Veltins Soccer Stadium as it was the first time that laser-rifles replaced the traditional 22-caliber rifle. The athletes received their laser-guns on Saturday and had only one day to practice before the World Team Challenge. Tracy and her US teammate Tim Burke finished 9th in the pairs mass start and 10th in the pursuit race held the same day. Tracy’s personal support team (her husband Gary and her Dad) accompanied her to Germany for this wonderful biathlon event.

< Her sister Lanny flew out to Mammoth Lakes, California on friday to help with biathlon clinics for several hundred new biathletes ages 10+ and competed in a race at a new biathlon course in Mammoth Lakes on Sunday. Due to the town receiving close to 10ft of snow during the week, flights were canceled and Lanny wasn't able to make it in for the clinic. She helped with the kids, adults, wounded warrior, and disabled skier biathlon race on Saturday and competed in an elite race on Sunday. She won the race on Sunday that was filmed by Versus and Outdoor Channel and American Trigger Sports Network. Mammoth Lakes is on their way to becoming the most premier high altitude biathlon venues in the country. With over 200+ volunteers that dug out the range buried by mountains of snow, they put on one of the most professional and exciting biathlon event seen in the US!

The twins ended their seasons after those two events and will now take a two week break before starting up their training again for the 2011/2012 season. With three short years until the next Winter Oympics, the twin will be training hard to make sure they are ready to bring home the gold in Sochi, Russia in 2014!

Check out their website for more stories, pictures and updates- They are gearing up to launch a new website! Check back within the next few weeks to see their new look.

-Tracy & Lanny Barnes
US Biathlon Team

FROM THE LADIES ROOM…. Lola. Her Name is Lola.

By: Kirstie Pike, CEO Prois Hunting Apparel for Women

No, this isn’t the name of a child or a newly acquired pet. It isn’t the name of any of our livestock animals. Lola is my bow. She is my new Bowtech Heartbreaker. It’s true.

Ok, so over the years I have received my fair share of ridicule for naming various inanimate objects and possessions that I deem worthy of, well, naming. I cannot exactly clarify the criteria I hold that deems an object worthy of a name. It does not come down to relative worth or value. It really isn’t a matter of sentimental importance. It seems, at least in the freaky vortex of my own brain, that certain objects take on a personality.

No, this does not indicate that I am in need of some extensive therapy or that perhaps I hear voices through the radio static. Nor have I at any time felt the irrational need to wear aluminum foil on my head to block my thoughts. Short of my many neurotic tendencies, this need to name inanimate objects is not a freaky glance into a damaged psyche. I just like to do it.

I have had a truck named Chad, jeep named Shorty McShort Bus, a bow named Beau and a .22 named Betty Blue. My current truck is named Moe. My past jeep was named Stella. My rifle is Maxwell. My need to name things dates clear back to my early childhood where my blanket was named Bea. Each of my stuffed animals (and there were many, I might add) had individual names that were painstakingly chosen. In fact, I would haul each of them out to the couch to watch Saturday morning cartoons. After doing so, I would arrange them alphabetically (perhaps a sign of the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder I have been accused of having.) In the event I got a new stuffed animal to add to the herd, I would wait days to name it. Once named, I would introduce him or her to all of the other critters. It just seemed that some things are worthy of names.

I have a stethoscope named Chauncey. I had a car named Angela. I have a mountain bike named Tess. The Prois trailer is named Bart. But why have I not named my shotgun or my archery targets or my skis? Don’t ask me why, but some things just require names.

So why is Lola named Lola? What makes her feminine when my last bow was named a masculine, Beau? Let’s see. This new Bowtech Heartbreaker was a perfect fit the first time I shot it. It was fluid and sleek. It was powerful and dynamic. It was the perfect weight and it felt slightly elegant. This bow was definitely feminine. OK…so I had that part figured out. Now a name. This bow had speed , strength and stealth. This was no ordinary girl. She has a hint of masculinity to her. She has no trace of pink (by the grace of God) and has a Mossy Oak camouflage with a stealthy black hand grip. Yeah…she is no ordinary lady. Lola. Perhaps it is a draw from the transgendered temptress from Kinks iconic song. Perhaps there is a glimpse of the Copacabana showgirl gone bad. Either way, for whatever reason, she is Lola.

The trap thrower is named Chuck (get it?). My laptop is named Tiffany. My work computer remains nameless as does my cell phone. Couldn’t tell you why.

Nonetheless…don’t be surprised if you see me driving around in Moe, pulling Bart and strapping Lola into the seat next to me.

Prois’ Woman of the Week… Ella Watson, aka “Cattle Kate”


Prois’ Woman of the Week is Cattle Kate. We were drawn to her story as she was a colorful and courageous cattle woman in the 1800′s. The lynching of Ella Watson and her husband, Jim Averill continues to be something of a mystery today…

Here is the story of Cattle Kate as written by George W. Hufsmith…

Her real name was Ellen Liddy Watson, but her friends called her Ella, and she was born in Ontario, Canada. Intelligent, gentle, possessed of charming Celtic brogue and a pretty smiling face, she was 6’2″ tall and a wonderful cook ! Her parents emigrated to Lebanon, Kansas to homestead. At 18 Ellen married Bill Pickle, a neighbor, who drank too much. He abused Ellen often and, after one particularly brutal beating with a horse whip, Ella ran away and returned to her family’s farm. After working as a cook on an adjacent neighbor’s farm for awhile, she moved about 15 miles south to the town of Red Cloud, Nebraska where she escaped her husband and again found employment as a cook at the town hotel. After filing for divorce, she went to Denver, then Cheyenne, and then still farther on to the budding town of Rawlins, Wyoming where she again secured employment as a cook at the proper “Rollins House.”

Soon she met Jim Averell, a surveyor, who was homesteading 60 miles north on the Sweetwater River. He was articulate, intelligent, well dressed and above all, a gentleman. Ironically he was born not much more than 150 miles from Ella’s birthplace. They struck it off immediately. He, too, had been married earlier, but his wife had tragically died in premature childbirth. Ella and Jim fell in love. Jim kept bragging about Sweetwater valley where he had started a road ranch and general store on his homestead. They had discussed marriage, but if they married, Ellen could not homestead too. Only one to a family. But they could marry in secret the way others had done.

They drove Jim’s buggy 100 miles to Lander, where nobody knew them. She carefully substituted Andrews for her maiden name, and they were married by a J.P. Then they drove back to Sweetwater where Ella homesteaded on Horse Creek near Jim’s place. Jim snaked in some logs from the mountains and he and a friend helped build her a pretty one room lob cabin sheltered in the cottonwoods.

Problem! A pompous cattle baron named Albert Bothwell irrigated a hay meadow from that very same creek but hadn’t figured on anybody filing a 60 acre homestead over the top of it, much less a WOMAN! He thought his control of that open range was absolute and he had also put up over 60 miles of mostly illegal barbed wire fence. He was outraged, and rode the mile over to Ella’s cabin and offered to buy her land. She told him she wanted the land much more than the money, and he left angry but empty handed.

Ella helped around Jim’s store and cooked meals for visitors at $.50 a plate. Everyone said her cooking was fabulous! Ellen was big hearted, too. More than once when another wife came down sick, she cooked and kept house for them until they regained their health. She also foster-mothered a 12 year old waif who ran away from home, and another 16 year old boy, both of whom did the chores around the homestead. Also Jim’s sister’s son had come out from Wisconsin to visit his uncle and was helping at the store. It seemed everybody liked Ellen and Jim — Almost everyone!

One icy day in February a wagon train passed nearby on the Oregon Trail herding 26 head of nearly starved cows and calves. Ella suddenly saw a way into ranching, and bought them at a dollar apiece! Some cowboys helped her drive them home and she fenced in a pasture. Dismayed at Ella’s purchase, Bothwell had an absolute conniption fit! He had skull and cross bones pinned to Ella’s and Jim’s doors. They were not intimidated. Nobody would harm a woman! By summer her cattle were stronger and Ella branded them. But brooding Bothwell had been concocting a deadly plot and now he saw his opportunity!

On the morning of July 20th, 1889, during the neighbor’s joint round-up, Al delayed joining the other cattlemen until Ella had left her place. He then hurriedly sent word to the other cattlemen that Ella had rustled and branded some of their calves! Five very angry ranchers met with Bothwell and galloped over to Ella’s homestead to see for themselves. What they saw was exactly what Bothwell wanted them to see! In a towering rage the stockmen kicked down Ella’s barbed wire fence and chased her cattle out. Ella’s boys rushed over to stop them, but were ordered into the house. Ella suddenly returned to discover what was going on. She screamed and ran headlong toward them. They surrounded her. One of the stockman was driving a tandem buggy and Bothwell roughly catapulted her up into the back seat. Ella was terrified! She tried to explain that Bothwell knew she bought the cattle honestly. Bothwell denied it!

The self appointed posse then headed for Jim’s place. They found him about a mile away opening a gate. They said they had a warrant for his arrest. When Jim asked to see it they pulled up rifles saying “that was warrant enough.” They then brutally shoved Jim up into the back seat with Ella and started south down the shallow Sweetwater riverbed toward Indepence Rock. As the gang disappeared, Ella’s young wards raced over to Jim’s store. They found Jim’s nephew with a cowboy friend, Frank Buchanan. The boys blurted out the story. Buchanan grabbed his six shooter, rushed outside and spurred his horse in pursuit. He soon caught up and began stalking them. He could hear them arguing. The cattlemen suddenly swerved east up into a rocky gulch and tied up their horses. Yanking Jim and Ella out of the buggy, they shoved and dragged them up until they reached a twisted pitch pine.

Buchanan galloped around the other side of the rocks, tied his horse up, and frantically clamored up over the crest till he spotted the men adjusting lariats around the couple’s necks. He yanked out his six shooter and began firing. The stockmen fired back. Suddenly Bothwell pushed him off into oblivion and, as Ella screamed, another man rushed forward and shoved Ella off. But the amateur executioners forgot to secure their arms and legs and thoughtlessly tied the lariats too close together on the same limb! Ella and Jim grappled with each other like wildly dancing marionettes until the gurgling ceased and they dangled limp, still touching one another in death. With no way now to help, Buchanan scrambled madly down to his horse and galloped off to alert the sheriff.

None of the lynchers was ever brought to justice. Witnesses were murdered or disappeared mysteriously or were bought off. The three Cheyenne papers, dominated by incredibly wealthy cattle interests, trumped up the ridiculous stories everyone knows today about Ellen being a dirty whore and rustler, and Jim her accomplice, pimp and murderous paramour. Nothing could have been farther from the truth, but the world loves a racy story and it stuck. Bothwell’s demoniacle plan had worked perfectly! Ella had just turned 28 and Jim was barely 37.

A story persists around the valley today that Al Bothwell died utterly insane. Maybe it’s wishful thinking – maybe it’s not!

© 1990 George W. Hufsmith

Barbara Baird teaches three generations to shoot!

Prois pro-staffer and NRA pistol instructor Barbara Baird taught her
first all–in-the-family class to six members, three generations, of
the Smith family of Missouri. The family members included grandma and
grandpa Geneva and David Smith, mom and stepdad Michelle and Charlie
Parko and their children, Katelyn and Austin Goodman. Michelle had
never shot a handgun in her life before the class and Geneva had
received a small .38 special for Christmas that she really didn’t
like … until after her session on the range. Then, this grandma was
bulls-eyeing the target with that little pistol. Kudos to the Smith
family and hoorah for “the family plan” at the range. To see Baird’s
shooting website, go to

From the Ladies Room…My Daughters are Gear Junkies

By: Kirstie Pike
CEO Prois Hunting & Field Apparel

My daughters are gear junkies. It’s true.

We have lived most of our lives getting our daughters into the outdoors. Hunting, fishing and camping are their favorite past times. We have taken great pride in the fact that we have taught them how to love the outdoors as well as the hunting and shooting sports. It is no doubt a great source of pride that our daughters know how to shoot a variety of firearms, know how to appreciate high quality optics and understand what it means to use technical packs and footwear. We have raised them right.
Until my 18 year old daughter informs me that she would like a new bow. Not only does she want a new bow, but she wants it complete with Spot Hogg sights and QAD rests. Oh, and a nice release to go with it. That’s all. Oh, and while we are at it, she informs me she would also like to get a new 9mm handgun. While there is a huge part of me who is thrilled beyond description that she loves the archery and shooting sports as much as she loves to hunt. I am equally thrilled to know she would prefer these items over a Gucci bag, day at the spa or acrylic nails. We have taught her well to understand and appreciate the nuances of prime gear and equipment.

But couldn’t she have figured that out at a later date? Like, say, when she was married?

The agony continues. My 15 year old daughter overhears the conversation and mentions that she has a hankering for the Bowtech Heartbreaker and a new Smith & Wesson .22 pistol. Wow. They’ve just upped the ante. I briefly tried a fake out with another bow from another company. No takers. No way. No how. And she is definitely a long way from the legal marrying age.
I have tried a variety of bait-and-switch offers with both of the girls to no avail. Only the best will do. So I suppose in some strange way, we raised them right. So it looks like we are on the hook for these items at some point. Being parents who love the outdoors, shooting sports and hunting, denying these items to our children would be like denying oxygen. Or coffee.

Raise your kids in the outdoors. You will never go wrong .

Just don’t introduce them to high end gear!

Tracey and Lanny Barnes are Superstars!

We’ve had a very exciting year so far and have a few more events scheduled before the snow melts and we start our training again for next season. We just finished the US Nationals in Grand Rapids Minnesota last weekend and wanted to update you on the results and what’s next for us. In the first race, Lanny placed 3rd and Tracy 4th, just .4 of a second apart. In the Pursuit, Tracy battled her way back up the ranks to finish 2nd, while Lanny stayed in 3rd place. The last day of Nationals brought heavy rain and tough conditions for the Mass Start event. Tracy finished 3rd and Lanny finished in 4th place despite competing with a fever. From here we both head to opposite ends of the world. Tracy will fly to Germany to compete in the Biathlon World Team Challenge in the famous Schalke Soccer Stadium in Germany. There will be over 50,000 screaming fans in attendance in the biggest soccer stadium in Germany. The last two years, Lanny was paired with teammate Jay Hakkinen to take on the top athletes in the world in a duel of exciting fast paced skiing and head to head nerve-racking shooting. This year Tracy will race with Tim Burke from Lake Placid, NY. The jammed packed night of spectacles and shows are centered around several biathlon events, but also put on an impressive display of indoor fireworks, concerts from famous German singers, and a celebrity biathlon race where German celebrities take a shot at biathlon in a shortened course. It is one of the most coveted and most exciting biathlon races. To get an invitation to the event is a huge honor. Both Tim and Tracy hope to put on an impressive performance for the 50,000+ people.

The first event for them will be strictly shooting. All the women line up behind the firing points and wait as the entire stadium erupts in a countdown to the start of the shootout! It is a format of four shootings, each athlete shoots 5 shots per shooting, if there are any misses, you can single load extra rounds until you hit all your targets and move on to the next shooting stage. The athletes shot prone (laying down), then standing, then prone, then standing to finish. It is head to head with the best women in the world. As it starts each athletes shots are met with cheers for hits and huge boo’s for misses. It is definitely a adrenaline pumping, nerve racking shootout that has many of the top athletes shaking with nerves even before the start. Lanny won the women’s shooting event last year and Tracy hopes to follow in her footsteps. From there the top three women and top three men competed in another shootout!

The next event is a Mass start race. The format is as follows- women will start behind the shooting points, the crowd will countdown and start the race. The women will race on skis to the shooting mats, shoot prone and then take off skiing on a 1km loop that wounds around the stadium and outside before coming back in to the shooting range. If any athletes have a missed shot in that shooting stage, they would ski a short penalty loop just outside the range. After the loop skied, the athlete would then shoot again prone (ski penalty loops if necessary) and then tag off to their male partner. The men will then ski the 1km loop then shoot prone, tagging off to the woman, who will ski then shoot standing. The alternating will then continue until each athlete completes a ski loop-prone, ski loop-standing, ski loop-prone, ski loop-standing stage. The only difference between the men and the women is the women start with a shooting and the men end with an extra loop skiing after their last standing stage to the finish.

The next race, the one that was counts for the crowning of the World Team challenge Champions is the pursuit. It starts off of your results from the mass start. If you start say 15 seconds back from the leaders you have to fight really hard to gain back the time lost and the team that crosses the finish line first wins. The pursuit works the same way as the Mass start with the alternating loops, but teams who fell behind in the first race will have to play catch up in the second. You can watch Tracy and Tim live on this website- It will be broadcasted live all across Europe. You can also watch live webcams that show how the event organizers turn the soccer stadium into a winter biathlon course! The Shoot Out starts at 8:30am EST and the Mass Start race starts at 9:10am EST and the final Pursuit Race starts at 10:15EST.

Lanny will head to Mammoth Lakes, CA for for North America’s Largest Winter Biathlon Festival. There will be a clinic for over 300 kids trying biathlon for the first time that Lanny will coach at as well as a big group of people age 20-80 trying out skiing and shooting for the fist time. Friday and Saturday Lanny will help kids and people of all ages and levels learn the skills needed to compete in biathlon. On Sunday there will be an Elite race which will consist of some of the top male and female biathletes in the US and will be filmed by the Outdoor Channel and Versus to be aired in September as part of a Biathlon special.

-Lanny & Tracy Barnes
US Biathlon Team
303 C.R. 204
Durango, CO 81301

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Falconry and Próis at Cabela’s Spring Great Outdoors Days!

Próis Dealer Relations and Pro-Staff Coordinator Katherine Browne attended Cabela’s Spring Great Outdoors Days at the Grand Junction Cabela’s last Saturday with her goshawk Hades. It was a beautiful breezy day in Grand Junction and Katherine drew a great crowd with her gorgeous hawk. She spoke at noon this past Saturday and answered numerous questions about falconry and birds of prey. Katherine was decked out in her Próis gear and spoke about Próis and hunting apparel in addition to falconry.

The questions asked were very thoughtful and everyone learned a lot. The event was a great success and Próis and Katherine were very proud to be there. There were many great clinics and talks that day including a women’s fly fishing casting clinic and a talk on elk hunting. There are many more awesome events planned for the coming weeks. Visit for a full list of upcoming events at the Grand Junction Cabela’s. Many Cabela’s stores are hosting special events during the Spring Great Outdoor Days and there are some great sales going on right now too. You can visit to find out what’s going on at a store near you! Thank you Cabela’s for planning these great events!