Pacific Regional Shooting Championships recount
by Chris Gulvin
No doubt you would already have seen the report on the Pacific Regional Shooting Championships in last month’s edition of the Australian Shooter. I was given a great opportunity to attend and compete among some of the most elite shooters in the Pacific Region and I would like to comment on it.
Firstly, I would like to get the thank yous out of the way. I wish to give a big thanks to Dot and Vince Cacciola for their efforts at the State Titles by means of their help, but also to Dot for pushing the issue of sending me to the Championships. Thank you also to SSAA WA and their secretary Maureen Edwards and the committee for their help in getting me to Brisbane; to Richard Murray from Southern Districts and all the shooters from the Perth rifle clubs for their fundraising efforts; the guys from Port Bouvard Rifle Range for my last minute practice and support; my grandfather, who has helped me out all the way; and my parents for all their efforts.
My trip started on Thursday November 9 after a very strenuous three hours of my TEE English exam. Dad picked me up straight from there and, after loading the van, we had a two and a half hour drive to the airport. After 20 minutes and a lot of cooperation on Qantas’ behalf, we were on that five hour direct flight to sunny Brisbane.
From the airport we used the trusty GPS in the hire car and after several “take the next turn…” we arrived at the Nestle Inn. After arriving at 1am, we got some much needed sleep and then headed to the range in convoy with Robert and Cathy Tobler and Con Smith (dodgey name, but a nice bloke) at around 7am that same morning. A 10-minute trip and we arrived at the exquisite Belmont range. Covering for most disciplines there were bench rests, an indoor fully carpeted air rifle range for running target, silhouette, shotgun, pistol and big bore.
Day one of the trip saw the opening of the Inaugural Pacific Regional Shooting Championships with the firing of a very accurate cannon. After the shooters’ debriefing, we were into it. The weather was hot and slightly humid - not the kind of conditions I’m used to shooting in, with a lot of water required. An unpredictable breeze meant that we all had to be on our toes. The first event was 3-Position Rimfire NRA style - change the timing per position, include unlimited sighters with 20 scoring shots per position and the very uncomfortable kneeling position in place of sitting. The all-black targets became very hard to distinguish the rings as the line between rings was quite undefined. Many good scores were shot given the conditions. The weekend’s shooting was kept under control by Doug Lawrie and as it was his first time also with these new NRA rules, he did a damn fine job.
After an exhausting first day of competition and many lessons learnt, we headed back to home base where Dad and I refreshed and caught up on some sleep before finally heading back to the range for a lovely barbecue that was put on.
Day two of the competition found itself in much the same conditions as day one. With the 3-Position Centrefire event the warmer conditions led to a slight mirage at the greater distance. It played havoc in the morning until the breeze started blowing in the afternoon to give a clear shot. Again, many good scores were put down by all with my 6mm BR starting to penetrate the wind with minimal deflection. The Centrefire day proved more successful and my scores showed that. Kneeling is not as easy as they make it out to be, not to mention the pain and agony of the worst case of pins and needles imaginable - upon finishing, most competitors hobbled around in circles trying to abate their case of pins and needles.
With all of the shooting over for the weekend and a very happy and successful Australian team, we headed to the presentation and dinner. All the disciplines were presented with various medals and accolades were handed out. It was a great inspiration to be among some of the best shooters that the sport of shooting has to offer and also to be among the different disciplines at an international event was a real eye opener. A lot of fun was had by all and after all the Kiwis aren’t that bad, but they insist that we are the ones who ‘talk funny’. It was a pleasure to shoot along side the Kiwis and especially good to see some female shooters participating in the Championships.
Congratulations must be said to the Australian team and also to the organising committee of the championships. I’m sure that the Pacific Regional Shooting Championships can only get bigger and better, with hopefully some increased participation from other countries. I for one will strive to achieve a spot on the Australian team to represent my country at an international level. It’s not only about winning and being the best, as much as we all strive for it, but just being able to participate. Meeting new people also allows me and hopefully others to be more in touch with our sport. Hopefully, this will give incentive for future junior shooters to aim for bigger and better things. The advice received from the likes of Rod Frisby, Ian Towers, Andrew Sevelj and many more is priceless and worth every minute spent listening to. It has allowed me to explore a new side to the sport I previously would never have dreamed about. I would recommend this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to anyone.