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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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  • EXCLUSIVE: Two women on 'Top Shot' say pressure competing with 14 guys "was intense"


    Maggie Reese in 'Top Shot.' (History)


     For those who prefer guns and ammo to pin cushions and measuring tape, tonight is your night. 

    The second season of “Top Shot,” the History Channel’s answer to “Project Runaway,” debuts Tuesday night at 10pm, EST.

    “Top Shot: Reloaded” features 16 marksmen competing for $100,000 and the bragging rights that come with the title of Top Shot.

    In addition to the usual macho men, this year’s contestants include two women with who come armed with deadly aim.

    “We are in the minority—our sport is male dominated,” Athena Lee, an oil contractor from Katy, TX, told FOX411. “If you go to the World Championships, out of 1000 shooters, maybe 100 are women. But we’re used to it.”

    “I started shooting when I was 13,” Lee said, who was born and raised in the Philippines. “My dad took me to the shooting range—I went with him because I was interested in getting French fries at a nearby McDonalds. I was getting bored, so he asked if I was interested in trying to shoot a target to see if I liked it. I did, and after that I wouldn’t give the gun back to him.”

    Fellow competitor Maggie Reese is from Chino, CA and makes her living as a professional shooter. “I started with my dad as a hobby—a sort of weekend activity,” said Reese, who started shooting at 18. “Then three years ago, I started shooting full-time in national and international competitions. My boyfriend is also a professional shooter, and he was the one encouraged me to audition for the show. He’s really excited for me.”

    Athena Lee in 'Top Shot.' (History)


    Top Shot features history-based challenges, including shooting from the back of a moving vehicle, shooting while hanging from a 125-ft. crane and even shooting while being turned upside down.

    “The pressure on this show was more than I ever felt in my life,” explains Reese. “The challenges were hard and the pressure was intense. We got some really cool guns this season—big challenges and big explosions, so I know it’s going to be really exciting to watch.”

    But what about dealing with all of that testosterone?

    “They’re really good guys,” Lee said of her cast mates. “Perfect gentlemen, too. Maggie and I were roommates. We lived in a guesthouse on the property, and the guys jokingly called it ‘Isolation Island.’ Our boyfriends were worried when we were first cast—they were like, ‘You’re not sharing a room with these guys, are you?’ They didn’t have to worry—they treated us like kid sisters.”

    Both Reese and Lee hope that by appearing on “Top Shot,” more women are exposed to the sport of target shooting.

    “I hope women watch the show and think, ‘Wow, that’s something I can do!’” said Reese. “Women in this field are really welcoming, supportive and encouraging. We have a really strong community within the sport of women shooters, so I hope that the show is inspiring to people—especially to other women.”

    “My advice for women who are interested in shooting—don’t be afraid of a gun, it’s just a tool,” said Lee. “It’s like having a baseball bat, but louder!”

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