Life of shooting for the top spot
Ray reflects on his rifle successes
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.
AFINERECORD: Ray Cook, of Biggenden, with themany badges he haswon over the years with his rifle shooting.