Shoot­ers get fired up

Central and North Burnett Times - - SPORT -

GUN POW­DER, bul­let blasts and flu­oro pink earplugs set the scene for the Monto Ri­fle Club’s An­nual Sweep­stake Shoot last weekend.

With more than 31 com­peti­tors from Cler­mont, Rock­hamp­ton, Raglan, Bund­aberg, Gem­fields, Pheas­ant Creek, Mary­bor­ough, Bris­bane, Toowoomba, Pittsworth and even New South Wales and Vic­to­ria, com­pe­ti­tion was tough for the 300 and two 500-yard events on Satur­day and two 600-yard events on Sun­day.

With gusty wind con­di­tions chal­leng­ing the shoot­ers, ex-mil­i­tary ma­chine gun­ner Nick Wil­liamson and Beth Caskey from Pittsworth were stand-out com­peti­tors.

“You have to make the wind your friend,” Wil­liamson said.

“Be­cause the Monto range is south-west-fac­ing and in a gully, it makes a sneaky wind, and it’s hard to gauge true wind di­rec­tion like you can on a flat, open range.”

Biloela QRA coun­cil­lor Charles Ar­row­smith said he used the heat mi­rage on top of the tar­get to suss out wind di­rec­tion.

“In sum­mer it (the mi­rage) is huge, and is mov­ing like the surf, but on a cold day like to­day it’s mov­ing just enough to see what way the wind is go­ing,” Ar­row­smith said.

De­spite the swathe of com­peti­tors, Wil­liamson’s suc­cess was un­sur­pris­ing – he took out the na­tional Queens com­pe­ti­tion only a month ago, sells guns for a liv­ing and was a ma­chine gun­ner in Malaysia and Viet­nam.

“De­spite all this time around guns, I’ve never had a prob­lem with my ears. The most that will ever hap­pen is they ring a bit,” Wil­liamson said, with a laugh.

The Queens­land Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion’s first lady board mem­ber, Kay Skelton, also made the trek up from Bris­bane for the Monto event.

“The thing I love about ri­fle shoot­ing is that it takes so much con­cen­tra­tion it clears your mind of ev­ery­thing else,” she said.

“It’s so ab­sorb­ing, 10 min­utes can feel like two hours.”

Mrs Skelton said she looked for­ward to a come-and-try ri­fle shoot­ing day that should be run in Monto in the next cou­ple of months.

PHO­TOS: EMILY SMITH

GAUG­ING WIND DI­REC­TION: De­spite try­ing wind con­di­tions, the ri­fle shoot­ers re­main fo­cused.

Binoc­u­lars are used to see the tiny x-ring 600 yards away that the shoot­ers were aim­ing for.

Monto's Joe Koch strug­gles with the windy con­di­tions.

Range of­fi­cer Be­van Goschnick demon­strates how to use a ri­fle scope.

Noel Porter gets his eye in for the 600-yard shoot on Sun­day.

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