What started out as a family tradition for David Wright has resulted in his induction into the Goulburn Sporting Hall of Fame.
The 58-year-old will be one of four new members of the Hall of Fame later this year, a place which he has earned through more than four decades of high-level shooting.
Wright's took his first steps towards a lifelong love of competitive shooting when he was barely a child. At the age of five, his father started bringing him to the rifle range, where his passion was first stirred.
Ten years later, Wright began competing and took to the sport like a proverbial fish to water.
"I must have had some aptitude towards shooting, because 13 weeks after I started, I won the State Titles," Wright said.
"It was in a graded system, I wasn't competing against the Olympians. But after 13 weeks, I won the D Grade with a B Grade score, two weeks later I won C Grade with a B Grade score, and at the end of 12 months I was up into A Grade."
Both his older brother and father were also avid shooters, who each claimed State Titles of their own.
Wright's father, who possessed an ardent interest in the finer details of the sport, and played a crucial role in his early development.
"My father was a fantastic coach," he said.
"He was my guide, he used to study all of the books. He'd been shooting for 25 years competitively prior to my starting. He knew a lot of the stuff that needed to be done and steered me in the right direction."
Having taken part in his first competition in 1978, at the age of 15, Wright has since collected so much silverware that to list it all would likely require several tomes.
However, the highlights of his career include selection in two Australian World Championship teams, participation in the Commonwealth Shooting Championships in 2010 where he collected two silver medals and a bronze, multiple Australian national championships, third place and first place in the New Zealand national championships in 2019 and 2020 respectively, and state titles in New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland.
Though he struggled to pick one accolade which stood out among the rest, Wright takes particular pride in his achievements in 2012.
"During that year I think I won three of the four Australia Cups, plus the Australia Cup final, and that was against the Olympians that went to London," he said.
"So that one felt pretty impressive."
Thanks to his remarkable results from that year, Wright was also on the shortlist for the Olympic team, though he was not selected in the end.
With more than 40 years of shooting behind him, Wright is as eager as ever to continue pressing for national selection.
"More Australian teams [is my goal]," he said.
"I was aiming for the Oceania team to shoot in Brisbane in November, but that's now been cancelled. I was hoping to go to the Commonwealth Shooting and Archery Championships in India in January, but they've cancelled that one as well.
"Hopefully in 2023 I'll be shooting in Moscow at the World Championships."
Shooting is one of the less physically strenuous sports, which allows many participants to stay competitive into their 60s, and even beyond.
After a lifetime of training, traveling, and winning competitions, Wright said it is the pursuit of perfection continues to drive him.
"You can never shoot perfectly," he said.
"The perfect score is, in a decimal sense, 654 out of 654. In old integer scoring, that's 600 out of 600, and every shot would be the absolute maximum you can get, which is a 10.9 - the absolute centre of the target.
"Trying to do that, or get as close as possible, is one of those things that keeps driving me. I'm a competitor, I've always been a competitor. I don't like to sit back and be one of the people, I want to try and be at the top."
It is this sheer love of the sport that has led Wright to his numerous titles, medals, and trophies, it is what has pushed him to the presidency of the Goulburn Workers Small Bore Rifle Club, and it is what secured him a place in the Goulburn Sporting Hall of Fame.
This latest achievement, Wright said, is something that will hold a special place in his heart.
"We've got other members of our club that have been inducted previously, so to join them and everybody else in the Hall of Fame is fantastic, and an absolute honour," he said.
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