2023 Pow Wow After Action Review

The 2023 Pow Wow is IN THE BOOKS, and by the responses from the participants the event was a HUGE success!  Over 50 ladies from 8 different states attended the Pow Wow this year.  Due to ownership changes and COVID, this was the first Pow Wow since 2019, but it won’t be the last!  The event started on Friday April 28th at Eagle Ridge Conference Center where the majority of the out of town (and some local) ladies stayed.  Eagle Ridge is fantastic facility less than 3 miles away from Boondocks and they offer great rooms at very reasonable rates. They also have an auditorium for the opening & closing ceremony, a breakfast area, and on-site catering options to make the facility perfect for events such as this.  The theme this year was REVELATIONS which is defined as “a surprising and previously unknown fact, especially one that is made known in a dramatic way.” Participants began arriving about 6:00 p.m. to register, mingle and enjoy a selection of fabulous hors d’oeuvres provided by Eagle Ridge.  The opening ceremony kicked off at 7:30 p.m. by polling the ladies to see how many first time Pow Wow participants where in attendance.  Almost half of the ladies stated this was their first Pow Wow, but we were also surprised by how many returning ladies were back, many of whom attended every single Pow Wow since 2016.   The ladies then took a trip down memory lane complete with photos and stories of Pow Wows past.  Next, Larry Rowlett, the new owner of Boondocks FTA came on stage to discuss his background and why he bought Boondocks. In addition to his long law enforcement career, Larry was also the Special Agent in charge of the Secret Service detail for President and Mrs. Reagan.  Larry talked about his time in the White House, his passion for training, and his vision for the future of Boondocks FTA.  Therese Apel, the owner and founder of Darkhorse Press was Friday’s keynote speaker.  She revealed some very interesting facts about her time in the media (both print and television) and why she decided to start Darkhorse Press. She also talked about her experience as a reporter working along law enforcement in some of the most dangerous areas in the country, and the importance of carrying your gun.  Finally, she challenged all the ladies to come back in 2024 and to bring a friend!  The opening ceremony wrapped up a little after 9:00 PM and ladies left to get rested up for a full day of firearms training and fun!

Saturday morning festivities started at Boondocks FTA.  Ladies began arriving about 7:15 and were treated to Chick-fil-A biscuits and coffee in Boondocks’ beautiful pavilion before making their way to Snake Creek range.  The morning activities started with the Pledge of Allegiance, range safety briefing by GM and lead instructor Darrell Carey,  and a prayer by fellow Boondocks’ Instructor and pastor, Kevin Jones.  The ladies then “squaded up” before heading to the first of four different training blocks.  Throughout the day, they would rotate between to the different sessions (2 before lunch and 2 after lunch) that included about an hour and a half of lecture and hands on experience with Red Dot Equipped Pistols, Revolvers, Room Clearing and AR Patterned Rifles.  

Red Dots

The Red Dot lecture session was led by Boondocks’ Instructor Kevin Jones and Adam Bryant.  Both have taken extensive training in the application and combative use of red dot pistols (RDPs).  They covered the pros and cons of RDPs, how to select the right red dot, tips and techniques for learning how to acquire the red dot quicker, acceptable dot movement, and what to do if your dot fails or becomes obscured.  The ladies then joined Glock’s Phillip Goldsmith and Charles Sumner to try out a variety of Red Dot Equipped Glocks.


The revolver section was led by Boondocks’ Instructors Jim Lowman and Jeff Williamson.  Both are nationally certified by NRA and USCCA.  Jim is a 6-time MS State Revolver Champion who regularly carries and competes with a 6 shooter.  Jeff is also a Rangemaster Certified instructor with 20 plus years of teaching firearms classes and one of the few instructors who still regularly carries and qualifies with a revolver.  While revolvers may not be as popular as the once were, they are still very often recommended as a “ladies’ gun” by big box gun stores and gun counter personnel with little knowledge of the pros and cons of the platform.  The ladies of the Pow Wow walked away with a much better understanding the role revolvers can play in the current era of “combat tupperware”, how to select the best revolver for their needs, and how to load, unload, shoot and reload the wheel gun quickly.  

Room Clearing

Boondocks’ instructors John Roberts and Andy Anderson led the room clearing session, both who have extensive training in military and law enforcement tactics. John spent 35 years in the Army Special Forces and Andy is an emergency room doctor that also serves as a SWAT team medic for a local sheriff’s department.  Together, they described some of the tools and tactics LE and Military have at their disposal (flash bangs, canines, multiple highly trained team members) when going into a room, and how a homeowner does not have the same advantages when faced with an unknown number of home intruders.  John and Andy also covered some home defense tactics the ladies could use to prevent and prepare for the unexpected “bump in the night”.  The ladies were then each given a scenario where they used UTM training pistols in an attempt to locate and save a family member in Boondocks’ shoot house.  All the ladies I talked with were shocked by the complexity attempting to clear a room and raved about the information and instruction they received from John and Andy during the post walk through and review of their individual scenarios.

AR Pattern Rifles

In today’s media the AR15 is depicted as a “high powered weapon of war” that is used as the primary tool in mass shootings, but the truth often gets lost in the frenzy and firestorm of politics.  In this session, the ladies learned about the evolution of military rifles going back to WWI.  As the lecture and demonstration moved through the various rifles used in past military battles, and what REALLY happens in a mass shooting, the truth began to dispel the myths. It revealed just how much politicians and the media misrepresent the effects of a ban on “assault weapons” and the so-called high power AR15.  Then the ladies got some one-on-one shooting time with Boondocks’ Instructors Kirk Kleinpeter, Breyon Bradford and Thad McLaurin of McLaurin Arms.  They also got to shoot some super cool (and quiet) AR pattern firearms Thad brought from his shop, which included a variety rifles and pistols in various calibers and configurations, shooting both super and subsonic rounds. Some of these guns were so quiet the sound of the firearm’s action was louder than the gun firing.  Finally, the ladies got a chance to shoot the much more powerful AR10, M1A and an AR patterned rifled chambered in 6.8SPC setup specifically for hunting. Some were a little hesitant at first, but they were all smiles after ringing steel with the big guns.

After lunch a light rain moved into the area, but that didn’t dampen the ladies’ enthusiasm. They put on their rain gear and marched on through the final two training sessions.  Typically, the Saturday night festivities which includes dinner, drinks, music and karaoke would take place under the stars at Boondocks, but with the rain and chance of severe weather the party was moved back Eagle Ridge.  Dinner started at 6:00 p.m. and consisted of some fabulous BBQ from Sylvester’s BBQ, a local eatery just up the road from Boondocks.  The DJ played a great selection of tunes and when the karaoke mic came out, Boondocks’ owner Larry Rowlett kicked it off with enthusiastic and biographically relevant version of the 1966 song “Secret Agent Man” by Johnny Rivers.  Thankfully, Larry’s icebreaker song was enough to get the ladies to take over karaoke.  There were some amazing singers in the group including an awesome group performance, and choreography, of “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar from the 2A Sisterhood of TN.  The party wrapped up around 9:30 p.m.

Sunday morning the ladies enjoyed a fantastic breakfast cooked up by the Eagle Ridge Staff before moving into the auditorium for the closing ceremony. Barbara Taylor, a Pow Wow participant, and Methodist Minister gave a perfect Sunday morning message about the biblical aspect of protection.  This was followed by Cedric Jenkins from Delta Defense/USCCA with a presentation about the importance of being mentally, physically and legally prepared.  Sunday’s events wrapped up with the door prize and gun giveaways before the ladies departed for the home base.

There is a lot of work that goes into pulling off the Pow Wow, and it is only made possible by the fantastic staff and instructors at Boondocks FTA. But all the work is worth it when you see the smiles on the faces of the ladies as they gain confidence in the ability to protect themselves and their loved ones. We expect to see all the ladies again next year, and they even made a vow to bring a friend!