Annie Oakley, born Phoebe Ann Mosey, was probably the most famous woman of her day. With photographs and posters everywhere, she and professional partner Buffalo Bill Cody may have been the first international superstars. The diminutive sharpshooter and exhibition shooter, who made her own costume, competed in a sport and in a world dominated by men. The no-holds-barred performer learned to shoot from practical necessity, hunting to feed her parents and siblings. Growing up poor, overcoming a difficult and even abusive childhood, she just did what she needed to do to survive and to keep her family going.
She fought for safe working conditions, fair and equal pay for a days work regardless of gender or heritage, and for a first-rate show that presented good solid family entertainment. International fame and success came with a price. Later in life she had to fight to maintain the honor of her name. Yet she steadfastly supported the country in times of war, and put many young girls through school at her own expense. Believing that women were just as capable as men, she firmly insisted that they should strive to achieve any goal or occupation that interested them. Her motto was to “Aim for a high mark…for practice will make you perfect.” and her hope was that all women would reach the “Bulls-eye of Success.”
Kim Hanley clears up any and all Annie Get Your Gun misconceptions. Ms. Hanley is passionate about Oakley, eager to share Annie’s inspiring life story, a life much more interesting than the myths that have grown up around her. Like Oakley, Hanley has created her own costume, can ride and shoot and has done some archery. And like Oakley, Hanley is committed to her family, to education, and to philanthropic causes. Audience members learn from experience that perseverance overcomes obstacles. Volunteers toss red bean bags into a basket, first with their dominant hand and then with their other hand, then over their shoulder, then when the basket is moving. Their skills improve with practice and they learn they will continue to succeed even as the difficulty of their task increases. Ms. Hanley’s Annie Oakley is a perservering dynamo whose spirit is contagious.