Life of shoot­ing for the top spot

Ray re­flects on his ri­fle suc­cesses

Central and North Burnett Times - - HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE... 50+ -

RAY Cook was born and raised in Biggen­den and has lived in the town all his life, ex­cept for the four years he served in the Air Force.

His pas­sion for ri­fle shoot­ing has seen him suc­cess­fully com­pet­ing at re­gional, state and coun­try shoot­ing com­pe­ti­tions and has a bag­ful of badges to show for his suc­cess.

He has been a mem­ber of the Biggen­den Ri­fle Club since 1948.

Mr Cook said he had been shoot­ing since 1947 but couldn’t join up un­til the year later as he was only 17 and you had to be 18 to be­come a mem­ber.

He said he could not re­mem­ber how­many years he had been cap­tain of the Biggen­den Club, a job he re­cently re­lin­quished.

“It must be more than 30 years,” he said.

“I am now al­most 83 and felt it was time to quit as my wife, Barb, is in the hospi­tal and I have my own health is­sues.”

Mr Cook will still be there to pass on his knowl­edge to new cap­tain Ray Wat­son, of Mt Perry, who he de­scribed as “a very knowl­edge­able man”.

The high­light of his shoot­ing ca­reer is not for the scores he shot but for the first badge he ever re­ceived when he rep­re­sented Queens­land in the BSA shield for the 1960-61 sea­son for small bore.

“An­other high­light was to meet and shoot against the late great Percy Pavey,” he said.

“Inmy mind he was the Sir Don­ald Brad­man of ri­fle shoot­ing.

“We even shot on the same tar­get at the Bel­mont Ri­fle Range in Bris­bane.”

Mr Cook’s most sat­is­fy­ing shoot was to win the A Grade cham­pi­onship at North Arm near Nam­bour in 1983.

“It is one of the hard­est ranges as the wind blows from the sea to the moun­tains in the morn­ing and from the moun­tains to the sea in the af­ter­noon,” he said.

An­other high­light was to be a mem­ber of the 30-man team in 1972 to com­pete in the first Na­tional Cham­pi­onship in Canberra.

“I didn’t do very­well as it blew some­thing fear­ful,” Mr Cook laughed.

Com­pet­ing in the state cham­pi­onships back in 1964, Mr Cook was placed fourth.

“Af­ter the first day of shoot­ing Iwasn’t even in the first 150 but I fought back to be only two points be­hind the win­ner,” he said.

Mr Cook in­sti­gated the up­grad­ing of the ri­fle range to a high stan­dard that is un­equalled by ri­fle ranges out­side of the ma­jor towns and cities in Queens­land. He has been largely res- pon­si­ble for the Hin­kler Army Cadets util­is­ing the fa­cil­i­ties at the range for the last 30 years.

In the late 1980s Mr Cook or­gan­ised the con­struc­tion of a pis­tol range and in­sti­gated the es­tab­lish­ment of a pis­tol club in Biggen­den.

He has also sup­ported the community through the Scout Move­ment, Biggen­den Fire Ser­vices and served one term on the Biggen­den Shire Coun­cil.

When he was named Ci­ti­zen of theYear back in 2001, Mr Cook said it was fit­ting that the award went to some­one from the Ri­fle Club as it was the Centenary of Fed­er­a­tion and also the cen­ten- ary of the Biggen­den Ri­fle Club.

“Ri­fle shoot­ing has given me much,” he said.

“It has taken me from Mel­bourne to Mackay and along the road I have had more than my share of wins.

“It has been a great plea­sure to be part of bring­ing the ri­fle range to what it is to­day.

“With­out a doubt it’s the best equipped range in Queens­land out­side the ma­jor cities.”

He said he would continue to go out to the range oc­ca­sion­ally to com­pete.

“As Don Chipp used to say, ‘You have to keep them hon­est’,” Mr Cook said.

Photo: Erica Mur­ree

AFINERECORD: Ray Cook, of Biggen­den, with the­many badges he has­won over the years with his ri­fle shoot­ing.

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