Break­ing new ground

Bairns­dale Field & Game is open­ing up new ar­eas to ac­com­mo­date the 2018 Na­tional Car­ni­val and adding an ex­cit­ing nat­u­ral setting to chal­lenge com­peti­tors.

Field and Game - - NATIONAL CARNIVAL -

Days af­ter the June branch shoot, the heavy equip­ment rolled in to cre­ate new tracks which will be used to bus squads to and from the new grounds.

The new area under de­vel­op­ment is heav­ily tim­bered and the open ground has thick, high cover. “We are very lucky to have the sup­port of our neigh­bour to give us the ex­tra two shoot grounds; we can eas­ily ac­com­mo­date four grounds on our ex­ist­ing land, and we will put an­other two on the new ground,” Bairns­dale pres­i­dent Mick Crane said.

The two new grounds are in a unique area; we can have sur­prise tar­gets com­ing out of heavy un­der­growth. I think it will pro­vide an ex­cit­ing chal­lenge for ev­ery­body.”

Bairns­dale’s first base at the shoot ground was an old con­crete bunker (it still stands near the en­trance if you look to the right as you drive in), but these days the branch is blessed with mod­ern in­fra­struc­ture.

The new clu­b­rooms, opened last year, are as good as you will find any­where and a new skeet ground, funded with help from the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment’s Shoot­ing Sports Fa­cil­i­ties grants pro­gram, will al­low for two prac­tice grounds.

For trea­surer Reg Biggs, this will be his third Na­tional Car­ni­val at Bairns­dale and the qual­ity of in­fra­struc­ture and ad­di­tional land to spread out the grounds gives him great con­fi­dence.

“I’m supremely con­fi­dent, I think it is go­ing to be a won­der­ful event full of chal­lenges for us, but we will pro­duce good re­sults with the team we have work­ing on it and the pas­sion our peo­ple have for it,” he said. “We can’t prom­ise good weather, we held one a few years ago which was known as desert storm, but we can prom­ise a good event.”

Reg has been ac­tive at the branch for 35 years, so he knows a thing or two about the sort of tar­gets to ex­pect. “We have a mix­ture of ar­eas, open ground to the south and fairly wooded ar­eas to the north and east, it will present some chal­lenges but also some mem­o­rable tar­gets. “Peo­ple who have been look­ing to shoot amongst trees will find there are plenty of trees around; you just have to make sure a tree isn’t in line when you pull the shot.”

The Na­tional Car­ni­val is a big com­mit­ment for any branch and as well as monthly com­mit­tee meet­ings, sub com­mit­tees have been meet­ing twice a month since Fe­bru­ary.

Mick Crane said branch mem­bers had all stepped up to help.

“Like ev­ery club that does this there is a huge work­load, but ev­ery­one we have tapped on the shoul­der has been happy to help. We’ve also had good sup­port from lo­cal busi­nesses,” he said. “We have struc­tured it so we have a ground man­ager co-or­di­nat­ing each ground with sup­port staff to load traps and keep things run­ning smoothly.”

As we walk through the bush that will host the two new grounds, Mick shares his ex­cite­ment about the abil­ity to of­fer com­peti­tors of all abil­i­ties a range of >>

>> in­ter­est­ing and chal­leng­ing tar­gets. “In our heav­ily wooded ar­eas you will see some fast tar­gets through the trees and peo­ple will need to be on the ball and in front; we can throw some high tar­gets through there as well,” he said. “When you get out onto the open ground there will be some longer tar­gets, prob­a­bly sim­i­lar to what com­peti­tors ex­pe­ri­enced at last year’s Na­tional Car­ni­val.”

Field & Game de­vel­op­ment man­ager Daryl Snow­don said the new ground added an­other di­men­sion for com­peti­tors. “The start­ing point is to set grounds that have a bal­ance of tar­gets, they won’t be easy but they won’t be de­mor­al­is­ing either,” he said. “You can ex­pect scores to be shot rel­a­tive to hand­i­caps.”

As well as us­ing the three dis­tinct ar­eas, a lot of plat­forms will be used for high tar­gets. “The Na­tional Car­ni­val will be shot under the new rules so there will be five stands per ground and only five pairs per ground (one per stand),” Daryl said. “It means you will shoot more sin­gles which will change the way the grounds are set.”

In setting the grounds, the aim is for con­tin­ual im­prove­ment, build­ing on the stan­dard set at Pine­grove, and last year at Wodonga-al­bury. “The joy of co-or­di­nat­ing the whole event is that you have that over­all view so that the grounds gel to­gether and of­fer a bal­ance and con­sis­tency of tar­gets,” Daryl said.

Of course, re­li­able equip­ment to throw tar­gets is crit­i­cal to the smooth run­ning of a Na­tional Car­ni­val. “It is great to have In­toshoot­ing and Bow­man traps on board, that takes a huge amount of risk out of it. They are sup­port­ing us with traps and tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance across the event, which is great for us,” Mick said.

Grant Sand­ford from In­toshoot­ing wel­comed the op­por­tu­nity to show­case Bow­man traps at the Na­tional Car­ni­val. “We are hum­bled and thrilled to again be in­volved at this great event and to show­case our Bow­man traps. The Field & Game branches sup­port us and Bow­man traps, so we are very happy to be in­volved again and I want to thank Bairns­dale for the op­por­tu­nity,” he said. “Bow­man is a very strong prod­uct and we have proven the prod­uct through the branch net­work; these are very con­sis­tent, but with any good prod­uct you need sup­port and at In­toshoot­ing we take great pride in the back-up sup­port we pro­vide.”

Among the Bow­man traps to be used at the Na­tional Car­ni­val is the new sec­ond gen­er­a­tion Su­per­match se­ries. “We have done a lot of de­vel­op­ment in Aus­tralia and it has vir­tu­ally made the trap bul­let proof,” Grant said. “We have a strong re­la­tion­ship with Bow­man and they take on board a lot of up­grades and de­vel­op­ment work we do here in Aus­tralia.”

Plenty of work re­mains for the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee, in­clud­ing pass­ing ar­eas for the main road in and out, but Bairns­dale has left noth­ing to chance in pre­par­ing to host the 2018 Na­tional Car­ni­val.

“This is the third Na­tional Car­ni­val I have been in­volved with at Bairns­dale and I think each one has got big­ger and bet­ter; for this one, the or­gan­i­sa­tion and plan­ning is well above what we have had to do in the past,” Reg said. “It will mean a smoother, eas­ier run and no hold-ups.”

For com­peti­tors trav­el­ling longer dis­tances, Mick Crane said the area is per­fect for the whole fam­ily to have an ex­tended break.

“I re­ally hope peo­ple will stick around af­ter the event and en­joy some time ex­plor­ing Gipp­s­land. We hope a lot of fam­i­lies travel for the Na­tional Car­ni­val and spend ex­tra time tak­ing in what the re­gion has to of­fer.”

Barry Har­ri­son

92 year-old Henry Squires

New ground

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