Indiana’s Janet Holcomb – A First Lady Who Knows Her Way Around a Gun

Indiana First Lady Janet Holcomb
Indiana First Lady Janet Holcomb (courtesy

When I hear “First Lady” a few names instantly pop into mind: Nancy Reagan, Rosalyn Carter, and Laura Bush for the FLOTUS-type first ladies, and my late friend Phyllis George for her time as First Lady of Kentucky. No matter which one pops into my head, I never picture any of them as answering the question, “Shooter ready?”

This week, I’ve added another first lady to my list of names: Janet Holcomb, the current First Lady of Indiana — wife of Governor Eric Holcomb.

She, like the other first ladies referenced, is confident, poised and a terrific partner for her husband.

Unlike many other first ladies, however, Janet Holcomb has absolutely no problem acknowledging two of her favorite activities: hunting and shooting.

In fact, I met Holcomb as she was prepping for the cowboy action stage of the NRA’s World Shooting Championship now underway at Camp Atterbury, Indiana.

Indiana’s First Lady Janet Holcomb wasn’t traveling with a security contingent, handler, or other PR type. She was attending as a competitor. During the safety brief (above) she listened and prepped for her turn to shout “well, wet my whistle” and begin the cowboy action course of fire (below). (Jim Shepherd photos)

For the past seven years, Eric and Janet Holcomb have presided over a home state resurgence. Today, Indiana has a vibrant economy, a budget surplus and a tourism resurgence.

As she told me, they are continuing the economic recovery begun by Holcomb’s predecessor, Mitch Danielson.

Our first conversation was interrupted, but not by an assistant, a handler or political aide. In fact, Janet Holcomb wasn’t accompanied by any factotums, assistants or handlers.

The interruption came from a range officer telling us that the “shooter was on deck” and needed to be prepping for the cowboy action stage as the volunteers and range officers were “wringing out” the stages in preparation for the competition which formerly gets underway on Wednesday.

Janet Holcomb is first Indiana’s first lady, but on Tuesday she was one of the shooters helping prep the stages. The fact she’s a shooter likely doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows much about her.

She’s also an accomplished hunter who grew up on a horse farm outside Muncie and credits that upbringing, 4-H Clubs and Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana for her down-to-earth demeanor and abilities that enabled her to successfully work in the family business (R&R Engineering). Today, she says she enjoys cooking, reading, gardening, riding horses and bicycles and “anything that involves being outdoors” including fishing, hunting -and shooting.

One of Holcomb’s passions is shooting and teaching personal protection to women. She’s a certified pistol instructor, and has led shooting classes throughout the state where she’s partnered with the Indiana National Guard and local law enforcement. She’s told me she also works to get young people involved in shooting sports.

When it was her turn to shoot, Holcomb quickly dispelled any idea that she was unfamiliar with firearms. From quickly running the lever action rifle (top) to putting five rounds into the steel targets with a Henry revolver (bottom), she had no problem running the guns. (Jim Shepherd photos)

When I asked her what was ahead for the Holcombs in 2025 (term limits prevent Eric Holcomb’s running for re-election), she told me they “hadn’t really talked about what they’d be doing job wise” -but she was quick to tell me that she had some definite plans when it came to her time afield. With two legs of a sheep grand slam already completed, she has two trips on the schedule to hopefully complete her grand slam.

It was another interesting conversation with a fellow shooter…but it was certainly a “first” with any first lady. You can read the entire conversation in today’s edition of QA Outdoors.

As always, we’ll keep you posted.

4 Responses

    1. Damn straight.

      If Holcomb ever becomes POTUS in the future, I hope he creates a 3-gun range in the Rose Garden.

      (There already is a pistol range in the White House complex, used primarily by the Secret Service protective detail…)

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