Pokie play­ers, coun­cil give a shot in the arm

The Gympie Times - - NEWS -

TONY Per­rett was un­der pres­sure on Sun­day.

With One Na­tion’s Chelle Dob­son chas­ing the shooter’s vote, in­cum­bent Tony Per­rett, who is con­test­ing the seat for the LNP could not af­ford to miss.

Hav­ing opened new shoot­ing fa­cil­i­ties at the Gympie Clay Tar­get As­so­ci­a­tion’s Banks Pocket shoot­ing range, he had to be on tar­get, for po­lit­i­cal as well as sport­ing rea­sons.

Clay flew in all di­rec­tions as Mr Per­rett and his wife Michele fired off a few wel­com­ing salvos, while fly­ing tar­gets did their best to make like the pi­geons.

Fol­low­ing the club’s tra­di­tion that any­one who opens a new fa­cil­ity should be the first to try it out, Mr Per­rett achieved a per­fect three out of three as he blasted tar­gets launched from the new equip­ment.

With the re­spect and votes of shoot­ers at stake, it was not as easy or stress free as he tried to make it look.

“I got the first one and got a lit­tle cheer from the crowd, but then they urged me to have an­other go.

“So I did, then they said to make it three.

“When I got that, I thought, ‘No, that’s enough good luck for one day,” he said later.

Club sec­re­tary Greg Nuske said the new trap equip­ment would throw the or­ange clay tar­gets fast and far and there would now be four lay­outs in­stead of three.

He said the ex­pan­sion would al­low the club to host big­ger events, with more shoot­ers and their fam­i­lies vis­it­ing the re­gion and more op­por­tu­ni­ties for shoot­ers to make progress in the sport.

“We’ll be able to host zone events,” he said, ex­plain­ing that this was a step to­wards state and then com­pe­ti­tion, from which the Aus­tralian team would be se­lected for in­ter­na­tional events.

“We’re get­ting big­ger crowds al­ready,” he said.

Out of 55 mem­bers and an un­known num­ber of visi­tors, 51 turned up for the reg­u­lar monthly shoot on Sun­day morn­ing, de­spite per­sis­tent rain keep­ing the for­mal­i­ties un­der cover.

Pres­i­dent Bruce Pearce told mem­bers the new equip­ment, in­clud­ing trap houses, had been paid for with some big do­na­tions.

“We re­ceived $35,000 from the Gam­bling Com­mu­nity Ben­e­fit Fund and $4160 from a Gympie Re­gional Coun­cil Com­mu­nity Ac­cess Grant,” he said.

This helped the club pay for earth­works, a power up­grade, 10 ce­ment shoot­ing sta­tions and an au­to­matic tar­get thrower.

Path­ways for dis­abled shoot­ers would be com­pleted in com­ing weeks, he said.

Trap­house con­struc­tion be­gan early this year and most of the work was fin­ished by mid-year, Mr Nuske said.

“Over the past five years our mem­ber­ship and shooter at­ten­dance num­bers have in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly.

“The new equip­ment en­ables us to have larger com­pe­ti­tions and to deal with in­creased num­bers of shoot­ers in an ef­fi­cient and timely man­ner.

“It also al­lows us to hold zone shoots as we now meet the min­i­mum re­quire­ments set by the Queens­land Clay Tar­get As­so­ci­a­tion,” he said.

“We can now hold a zone shoot once a year, from which win­ners will progress to com­pete for the Queens­land and Aus­tralian Olympic teams.”

He says vis­it­ing shoot­ers will be a shot in the arm for the lo­cal econ­omy, spend­ing money on ac­com­mo­da­tion, meals and fuel.

OPEN­ING CHAL­LENGE: Gympie Clay Tar­get As­so­ci­a­tion sec­re­tary Greg Nuske (sec­ond from left) and pres­i­dent Bruce Pearce wel­comed Tony and Michele Per­rett to their new fa­cil­i­ties.

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