In warm sunshine and a light, consistent breeze, 46 weathered and experienced long-range target rifle shooters from South Western NSW gathered to shoot tiny targets and also shoot the breeze.
These rural prize meetings run by NRAA rural clubs are the life’s blood of the competitive spirit among riflemen all around Australia, and they occur on many weekends of the year. Having attended a few of them over my earlier years as a full bore shooter, I saw them as more than a bunch of shooters trying to beat each other.
There is great camaraderie, genuine friendship and good feeling between riflemen everywhere and it is epitomised in this type of small prize meeting. Rural newspapers, like the Cootamundra Herald, proudly report on the events and the achievements of their shooters, because there is no stigma attached to shooting in the bush.
I recall that my local urban newspaper, “The Southern Courier” (it was called something different in the seventies), used to have a weekly press article showcasing a new junior shooter or the “cock of the walk” for the previous week, with a photo of the shooter, slung up on the mound.
You would not get a look in nowadays in local city papers as we are not perceived to be politically correct enough for the “mainstream” and not many reporters would be happy to give positive exposure to shooters.
It’s a pity, because the mentoring, friendship and life lessons I learnt from these true gentlemen and ladies in our sport is hard to find in others. It is a highly individual sport with high ideals, integrity, pursuit of excellence and generous acceptance of anyone genuine and willing to have a go. See the event report in this Cootamundra Herald article.
If you have not tried Target Rifle of F-Class, seek out your local NRAA Rifle Club and see what it’s all about.