She was the only woman on the History Channel’s reality TV show “Top Shot” but she showed that she could easily keep up with the boys. In the most recent episode that aired Sunday night we watched as Tara Poremba unfortunately had to leave the show early to attend to a family emergency.
Tara was gracious enough to take the time to answer a few questions about her background in the US Marine Corps and as a police officer, as well as her experience on Top Shot.
First off, let me extend my best wishes to you and your family with regards to your father. I’m sure that had to be a difficult time, but it does lead me to my first question. You and your father seemed to be very close. How much did he influence your decision to join the Marines and later become a police officer? Thank you so much for the kind words. My Father and I were very close, he was my number one supporter. He was a big influence on my decisions for both the Military and the Police Department.
Did you have any firearms experience before joining the Marines? No, I didn’t have any experience with firearms growing up. The first time I fired a gun was in the Marine Corps boot camp.
Had you ever done any form of competitive shooting before your appearance on Top Shot? I had tried some PPC (Police Pistol Combat) shooting during my first few years on the department, then after I was assigned to the firearms training unit, I got interested in Bullseye (conventional pistol).
That’s been my main shooting discipline for the last few years. I’m looking forward to trying new disciplines.
Tell me about the Top Gun competition when you were a recruit. You were the first woman to win that, correct? Yes, when I started the Police Academy they told me about a competition called TOP GUN. It was the high shooter of your graduating class. When I started the academy I was told that a woman had never won it, I was determined, I wanted to be the first to win it.
Do you train regularly with firearms? I don’t get to train as much as I would like to. I really miss working at the range when I had access to shoot every day! Now, if I get to the range a couple times a month, or to at least a competition a month, than I’m doing good.
What prompted you to apply to go on to Top Shot? A friend forwarded me the e-mail that they were looking for contestants, so we filled it out. I couldn’t believe it when they told me I made the show.
Did you do any special training, whether it be physical training or firearms/weapons training, before you went on the show? I did go to an archery range, and tried a little bow and arrow. Unfortunately I practiced on a compound bow, which was a lot of fun, but I wish I would have known to try a long bow. I worked out more than usual, just in case the show was going to be physically demanding, I wanted to be prepared.
Were there any other women at the “Top 50” when you first went to California for casting? There were, and they were amazing women!
When did you realize, and what was going through your mind when you realized that you were the only woman on the show? I will admit, at first I was nervous, I didn’t know how the men would take to having a woman in their house, but my fears were subsided after a few days, and I got to know these guys, they were an amazing bunch of guys.
This show was two parts: one part shooting, and one part interpersonal. Did you go into the show with any particular strategy for dealing with the drama and interpersonal conflicts that played so heavily into decisions made on the Nomination Range? Going into the show, we really didn’t know what to expect. We knew we were going to be firing different weapons from history, but we didn’t know we were going to be divided into teams or have to “vote” for our teammates to go to elimination. We learned that the first day, just like everyone watching.
So, no I didn’t have a strategy planned, I just wanted to do my best.
Obviously you took some good natured ribbing from your male competitors. We had so much fun in that house, not a day went by that I didn’t laugh myself to tears with these guys. It was non stop pranks and jokes.
One night Adam and I woke some sleeping teammates with water guns, then someone made a booby trap out of duct tape and hid it next to someone’s bed, so when they woke up they would get all entwined in the tape. Someone had brought in some fishing line and balloons to set water balloon traps when someone opened a door.
There is so much more, but it was just silly things, mostly out of boredom.
So you took part in some of the antics? I admit I did, but I wasn’t the mastermind behind them. I was so nervous that I would be victim of a prank, I rigged the door to my bedroom with a water bottle so that if anyone touched my door knob, my water bottle would fall and it would wake me up. None of the doors had locks.
Throughout the show, you had a flawless performance. You were never even nominated for a single elimination challenge, but you participated in almost all of the team challenges. As the only woman on your team, what was the team dynamic like? My team was amazing, aside from that one “incident” we all got along great. We didn’t have an order of how we were going to vote for the elimination. I loved the way we talked it out and there were no surprises during the nomination range.
Do you feel that you missed out on some of the competition by not being voted into any elimination challenges? Do you feel you got the chance to really demonstrate what you’re capable of? I was able to compete in 7 out of 8 challenges. The Blue Team only lost twice before I left. So, there was only 2 chances of me going to elimination, I’m not upset that I wasn’t voted for elimination, although I would have enjoyed to shoot either of those elimination challenges. They looked fun to shoot!
If you knew what the show was going to be like before you applied, would you still have applied? I think I would. This was an amazing experience, definitely a once in a life time opportunity.
This last episode, you had to deal with some very personal family things that were made very public on national TV. If you care to talk about it, can you give us some insights into how that situation unfolded and how the producers handled it? The producers were very sensitive to my situation, and I appreciated it. They were also very understanding when I told them I needed to go home.
Given your unfortunate early departure from the show, would you consider participating in next season’s Top Shot? Not sure about that one, haven’t really given it much thought. Why… Do you know something?
I’m really enjoying the show, and I can’t wait to watch the next 2 episodes, to see how this all plays out!
Go Blue Team!
What did you learn and what did you take away from the Top Shot experience? I learned so much through this experience, not only about the weapons and history of the weapons, but also I learned a lot about myself. I had a lot on my plate, and I’m proud that I was able to fight through it and still be able to focus on the challenges. I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity. I also will never regret my decision to leave and be with my family.
This was an amazing experience, unlike anything I could have ever imagined. I can’t tell you how wonderful the other contestants were, I definitelymade some friendships that will last a lifetime.
I know every one was looking forward to seeing you win the Top Shot competition. We were all sad to see you go. Thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Thank you so much!
Tara makes her home in the greater Chicago area where she works as a police officer and K9 handler.