Straight-shoot­ing Ron

Stanthorpe Border Post - - SPORT -

THE gun club at Bal­lan­dean has been op­er­a­tional for 57 years, Ron Sonego has been an ever-present face at the club and re­cently cel­e­brated a 55 year as­so­ci­a­tion.

A glass door cab­i­net sits in Ron’s din­ing room. Pride of place in that cab­i­net is a tro­phy haul that spans decades.

He still re­calls past shoots, scores he achieved, records he broke.

The Bal­lan­dean Clay Tar­get Club and Ron have had a happy as­so­ci­a­tion for over half a cen­tury and he couldn’t be prouder.

“I was born in Stan­thorpe, lived at a fam­ily farm in Pozieres along the rab­bit fence,” he said.

“From an early age I'd al­ways been keen on hunt­ing and shoot­ing. When I was old enough to be re­spon­si­ble to han­dle a firearm dad bought a .22 ri­fle for my brother and I to shoot rab­bits and ducks.”

There be­gan his affin­ity for shoot­ing.

“In those days he did it to feed his fam­ily, later it grew into more of a hobby.

Rab­bit with spaghetti be­came a favourite.

“All these mi­grant ladies were pretty handy.

“Go­ing through the war years you needed to be pretty ef­fi­cient,” he said.

It was through read­ings of the Border Post that gun clubs ar­ti­cles caught Ron’s eye.

“In Novem­ber 1961 a close friend of mine and I were in­vited by the Bal­lan­dean Gun Club’s found­ing pres­i­dent, the late A.H (Chub) Smith, to the club’s Christ­mas shoot.

“The en­thu­si­asm of that day con­vinced us both to join.”

He’s at­tended shoots right around Queens­land and NSW, com­peted at Na­tional Ti­tles, shared squads with Olympic gold medal­ist Michael Diamond, rep­re­sented south-east Queens­land and won a slew of awards along the way.

“I was elected pres­i­dent of the (Bal­lan­dean) club in 1984 and served un­til 2000. In 1990 I was awarded life mem­ber­ship of the club,” two things that al­most tear up Mr Sonego with pride.

He’s one of only three men to serve as pres­i­dent at the club; Chub Smith be­fore him and Ge­orge Costanzo suc­ceed­ing him.

He was mar­ried to his child­hood sweet­heart in 1963 and Pie­rina and the rest of his fam­ily have sup­ported his en­deav­ours through­out the years.

“It’s been a great chap­ter and jour­ney in my life and I’ve made many, many life­time friends ... through my cho­sen sport,” Ron said.

PHOTO: MATTHEW PUR­CELL

LONG AS­SO­CI­A­TION: For 55 years Ron Sonego has been an in­te­gral part of the gun club at Bal­lan­dean.

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