GUN sports are alive and well. On Sunday, Goulburn Clay Target Club hosted its annual Clem Rowe and Alan Cramp Memorial Shoot. There were no cowboys, no rednecks, just genuine sportsmen and women with their families.
Most of the 124 shooters who came to test their skills had travelled more than two hours, the bulk the day before, and stayed the night in our local motels. Some came from as far as Queensland and Victoria.
Our little club was overwhelmed with the attendance, swelling in size more than fivefold with the Sydney, Canberra and interstate travelling shooters.
Pre-empting these numbers, the catering was outsourced to local chicken shop owner Richard Mifsud, who was blown away by the activity that was generated by this little known sport.
“I have sold more food here today, than I have in both of my chicken shops in town put together,” he said.
Other support came in the way of sponsorship and donations from local businesses.
A big thank you goes out to Josh Lambert of Tackle World Goulburn, Andy Divall of Divall’s Earthmoving and Goulburn Farm Machinery.
“Without this local support, the event is just not possible,” coordinator of the funding for the junior sponsorship, Joe Mooney, said.
An early start was in order with shooters arriving from 7am. The main event kicked off at 8.30am, just after the fog had lifted enough to ensure visibility. Three events were run during the course of the day: a 30 target double barrel, 30 target single barrel and 50 target point score. With the volume of shooters and only three trap houses, the 21 squads of shooters needed to be marshalled with military precision.
The only hiccup for the day was a trap malfunction which delayed competition for around 40 minutes. Fortunately a spare part was at hand and a disaster avoided (Leon Cuzner needs to be thanked for being prepared like a boy scout).
Perfect weather conditions and some of the country’s best shooters ensured competition was fierce. The first event saw 54 shooters all post perfect scores - this was going to be a long day! The shoot-off for this event was going to have to wait.
The next event, a single barrel, thinned out the precision and even though not as many perfect scores were posted, a shoot off was still in order to decide the victor.
Daryl Reed bowed out after 75 targets and Clarry Smith at 79.
After this tightly contested shoot off and 80 straight targets, Clive Foster emerged as the single barrel champion.
Dan Power showed true grit and concentration, hanging in limbo for 40 minutes mid-event while the trap malfunction was remedied, rallying to post a perfect 150/150 in the point score event and secured a spot in the shoot off.
It then took all of his concentration and another 120 points to secure the point score championship.
The club’s decision to support juniors saw prizes given to young shooters who would normally be in direct competition with their fathers and much more seasoned competitors.
Even in the juniors category the competition was hotly contested between Cooper Mooney and Ben Shingles. Another shootoff was needed. This time Ben came out on top. These two boys are regularly in shoot offs against each other and it doesn’t always go Ben’s way.
By this stage it was almost dark, the lights were on and 54 shooters were milling around like cattle. Anxious to settle the championship, the club organisers sent wave after wave of shooters through the three traps, five targets at a time, to weed out the less disciplined in a shoot off like no other.
Barry Skinner from Majura Park Gun Club in Canberra emerged the champion in less than hospitable conditions. It was dark, cold and competitors were tired.
A battle of attrition saw a seasoned shooter running on instinct outwit 53 other shooters.
Too dark to continue, the AA grade overall championship had to be abandoned with five shooters all locked on points. A coin toss decided the eventual winner.
Charlie Smith, Nick Xenos, Dave Turner, Clive Foster and Peter Fitzallen all flipped coins to split the prizes and the championship sash.
The support for our local Clay Target Club is growing rapidly, both locally and throughout the state. The success of this event is testament to the hard work from all club members, in particular Leon Cuzner, who is tireless in his support, Max and Lyn Clarke, Frank Bartolo, the Mooneys, Rob Hill, Neil Privett (hates paperwork) and many more not mentioned.
Too all those that have helped in any way, thank you.
A little known piece of trivia: the two champion blokes that this entire day was designed to commemorate, Clem Rowe and Alan Cramp, were instrumental in the running and longevity of the Goulburn Clay Target Club over many years.
Alan Cramp’s Browning over and under 12 gauge shotgun was sold to local Frazer Roberts after he passed. Frazer was the custodian for a number of years, not really using the gun, but holding it for someone else’s turn. This was then sold to another local, Tim Shorrock, who has only taken up the sport in the last six months.
Unbeknown to Tim he is now the custodian of a piece of the club’s history.
Interestingly Tim has, in a very short time, proven he is a crack shot and is only going to improve. Maybe someone is watching over him? This sport is steeped in history, as is our club – now running for almost 100 years. The club is in safe hands with the next generation.
Don’t forget we have a practice shoot open to all. Practice shoots are held on every third Tuesday of the month at 6.30pm.
For all local members, our Christmas shoot will be held on Saturday, December 8 at 5.30pm. The shoot will feature novelty events and Christmas hams. For more details contact Leon Cuzner on 0428 382 995.