Silt’s Jackie Gross wins expenses-paid safari
When Silt resident Jackie Gross learned Sunday she had won a fully paid safari to Africa, she had a decision to make: get married, or go on safari.
One might think the choice would be difficult, but then one doesn’t know Jackie Gross.
The soft-speaking Louisiana native quickly chose camouflage over white lace.
The safari was awarded as part of the Tahoe Films “Extreme Huntress 2012” contest, in which entrants were asked to submit a 500-word essay on their qualifications for the title Extreme Huntress 2012.
The winner was selected from 10 finalists in an online vote.
Initially it was announced Gross finished a close runner-up to top vote getter Tiffany Brewer, an emergency room nurse from Concord, Calif.
However, Sunday’s phone call from Tahoe Films was to say Brewer would not be taking the trip.
Dark Continent, say hello to Jackie Gross.
“We were so excited Sunday when we got the call,” said Gross in a conversation Wednesday. “We just heard she declined the trip and to me, it’s a blessing and an amazing opportunity.”
The news did, however, put a glitch in her plans to marry fiance TJ Guccini of Glenwood Springs in a ceremony set for October.
“We were really planning on getting married and all but then realized, even though my trip is paid for, we couldn’t afford to pay for his trip and have the wedding both,” Gross said. “We decided to postpone the wedding and do something different.”
Guccini will go along as a non-hunting observer.
The contest was sponsored by Tahoe Films and Tom Opre, host of the NBC Sports outdoors show “Eye of the Hunter,” and drew numerous highly qualified female hunters, all yearning to become what the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News called “Miss America within the hunting community.”
Publicity? Sure. Bragging rights? Most definitely. But perhaps the biggest prize was the expenses-paid safari to hunt Cape buffalo with Martin Pieters Safaris in Zimbabwe.
As of this week, Gross still was waiting for final details about the safari, which, other than trips to Canada, will be her first time outside the U.S.
Plus, there is the matter of getting accustomed to the Blaser .375 H&H she’ll be using in her hunt for a Cape buffalo, which can weigh 2,000 pounds or more.
At less than 110 pounds herself, Gross said her biggest concern at first will be making sure only the buffalo gets knocked down.
“Luckily I’ll have six months to get used to that rifle,” she said. “I’ve heard they can really kick.”
The hunt will appear later this year on Opre’s “Eye of the Hunter.”
It won’t be Gross’ first brush with the limelight.
She was featured in the Feb.-March issue of Eastman’s Hunting Journal after harvesting her first mule deer buck and she’s spoken in front of female-dominated audiences at the International Sportsmen’s Exposition in Denver.
The exposure, plus that from the contest, has put Gross in touch with women looking for an honest, feminine voice on hunting.
She’s started a website, http://www.bowkrazy.com, and a Facebook page, BowKrazy with Jackie, to foster that contact.
“I write what I feel and what’s true to me,” said Gross. “This is like a dream come true, and thank you to the entire community for helping me accomplish this dream of a lifetime.”