Daphne Garberoglio, 17, plays piano and loves to dance. She’s a bookworm. She loves to train and ride horses, to compete in barrel racing. A homeschooled high school junior, she works two jobs to care for abused and neglected horses she takes in. But her passion is reflected in her nickname, “Deadeye Daphne.” The appellation wasn’t given, it was worked for and earned. Shooting in Bonners Ferry January 20, she became the 15-17 year old Idaho State Junior Olympic Rifle Champion.
Daphne, who lives in Post Falls, took up shooting at age 14 with her brother at the Coeur d’Alene Rifle and Pistol Club to see if it would be a homeschool activity they would enjoy. She fell in love and never looked back. She joined 4-H Shooting Sports and earned a chance to compete in the Idaho State competition for the first time in Boise, got food poisoning that necessitated numerous trips off the firing line … and she took fourth place.
At her second state competition in Rexburg, with 20 minutes to complete her first targets, her sights broke. She spent 17 minutes trying to effect repair. With the clock ticking down, she gave up on the sights, raised her rifle and shot all 20 targets, without sights, and took second place and a trip to Nebraska this June to compete in the 4H Nationals.
Instead of repairing her sights, her coach, Tom Alapai, took to deliberately throwing them off kilter, forcing her to become an expert adept and resolving nearly any way by which a sight might break, fix it fast and take out here targets before time expired. Tom expanded her shooting horizons, entering her in competitions near and far.
She scored 1001 and 9x — nine bullseyes — to earn First Marksman honors in the 2023 Spokane Junior Rifle Club NRA Open Sectional, second place at the 2023 NRA Sectional Match, second kneeling and third standing at USA Shooting North Idaho State 2023, first in junior rifle in the IERPA (Inland Empire, Oregon, Arizona, Washington, Montana, Texas) 2023 Combo Match.
And she did it in tennis shoes and blue jeans, shooting a borrowed wooden rifle far bigger and heavier than fit her petite stature. The sights still malfunction on a regular basis. At a recent two-day shooting course, Olympian Bob Foth jokingly recommended she take a few inches off the butt to make it fit her better,
Tom worked with her on being ready for the unexpected, doing her best with what she has. Daphne learned and appreciates the lesson, but neither she nor her coach write the rules they must abide by.
“Tom Alapai has been my coach since I started shooting three years ago, he started me down this path, got me into competing, and never stopped challenging and encouraging me to be better,” Daphne said. “My Dad, Andrew Garberoglio, has attended every practice, every competition, taken time off of work to drive me all over Idaho to compete. Last year and this year he’s put the rifle he wants on the back burner so I could have a rifle I can compete with. Two years ago it was a silhouette rifle that I could take to 4-H state and compete with. That gun is taking me to Nebraska this year. This year it’s a rifle that will take me to the Junior Olympics and prayerfully through college, and even the 2028 Olympics if I work hard enough. I’m so thankful for the Coeur d’Alene Rifle and Pistol Club for going above and beyond supporting me in this endeavor. For creating and supporting the Junior program and making sure everything we need to learn and compete is provided, fostering an inclusive environment for any kid to learn this important skill.”
Shooting in the Junior Olympics qualifying match here, she shot with her .22 and came off the line, where she was informed that for Olympic shooting, she also had to shoot an air rifle, something she’d never done before. They handed one to her and gave her a quick rundown on its operation. She stepped back to the line and shot her target set and came away taking second place.
She earned her invitation to train and compete in the Junior Olympic Trials this April 1-12 at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, not so much to show her skills, but to represent Idaho, to prove to herself and the world just how far she can go.
She hopes to be able to accept, but while she qualifies, her equipment is sorely lacking and not acceptable under International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) standards which the Olympics require.
The shopping list is long, the prices steep. A Walther KK-500 Ultra Light rifle, $7,000, a Walther air rifle, $2,700. An airline approved case for the rifle, $350, appropriate shooting attire and safety gear, $800. Ammunition, $1,500, spotting scope and stand, $1,000, a shooting mat, $100.
Airfare to get her and her gear to the training center and back home, $2,000. Total cost around $15,400. And she needs it now if she’s to have time to familiarize herself with the new gear, get the feel for the rifles, get used to the highfalutin, fancy gear most people in shooting sports train with from the beginning and consider essential.
She and her family have no hope of raising the money needed to afford Daphne such a rare opportunity, so they’re asking the people of North Idaho, the people who helped shape her into an Olympic-worthy marksman and competitor, all pitch in is much or as little as they can comfortably afford. Her coaches, her mentors. Her competitors, her friends.
Businesses who’d like to sponsor her efforts are always welcome, there’s enough room on her jacket for several patches with logos, business names and more. An account has been opened for her on Make A Champ, seeking to raise $15,000. Donors who’d rather not give online can mail their donations to Daphne Garberoglio, 3612 E Arlington Ave, Post Falls, ID, 83854.
“I am training hard and so very excited about this opportunity,” Daphne said. “This equipment will give me the same advantages as my fellow competitors. I know that the road to success will be costly. By supporting me today, you are investing into something bigger than just a fundraiser. You’re changing my life. Thank you for your support!”