The next generation
On a single day more than 650 school students were competing at Field & Game Australia grounds across the state. Some were experienced branch members but the majority had been introduced to the sport through their school, and they are the future for the s
By far the biggest shoot was at Minyip Field & Game where the Western Zone School Shoot attracted 378 competitors.
The mammoth shoot started 18 years ago, just three years after the formation of the branch.
Shoot organiser Tanya Clarke said it was always a challenging task for the regular band of volunteers but also rewarding. “It has been growing and growing every year and we get great support from our neighbouring clubs and Gallagher Insurance, who have been there from the start, and Winchester and GB Corvisia,” she said.
“We’ve definitely refined the running of the event over the years and because it is single barrel, 24 targets, we get through it pretty well; the challenge we have is it is very taxing and tiring on the core members.”
The shoot has proved beneficial to the reputation of the shooting sports and has acted as a conduit for regional Field & Game branches to recruit junior members. “Teachers come up every year and congratulate us on how well run the event is, how well behaved the kids are,” Tanya said. Across in the north east of the state another 213 students from 23 schools were competing in the Benalla P-12 College Clay Target at the Reef Hills range. The shoot started in 1962 as a Down the Line (DTL) event organised by Benalla Technical School assistant principal, Charlie Whitla, the father of organised school competition in Victoria. The shoot expanded and ran continuously until 1993 when a one-in100-year flood intervened. Noel O’connor and Rod Berger from Benalla College took over the running of the shoot in 1994 assisted by Benalla Field & Game members, and the competition changed to Simulated Field.
At the same time, students were also out enjoying the sunshine and smashing clays at Sale Field & Game for the annual Wellington Shire schools shoot.
Seventy-nine students from the five secondary schools in the Shire participated in the final inter-school shooting event for the year.
The shoot has now been running for 10 years, and the aim is to combine two different forms of target shooting.
This year students shot a round of five targets DTL (single barrel), using the oscillating trap, and two rounds of 10 simulated targets, at five stands, with two single-barrel targets at each stand.
A great day was had by all, with referees, armoury, office and trap setters supplied by the Sale Field & Game branch with help from FGA members across Gippsland. H&S Firearms of Sale donated the prizes.