Wagga Gun Club’s 150th birthday celebrations are tipped to usher in a new era of shooters in the region after a strong turnout for their milestone event last weekend.
More than 80 shooters participated over the commemorative two-day shoot between November 3-4 with competitors travelling from Victoria, ACT and across regional NSW to chance their arms.
After a hard-fought competition, it was Glen Castellaro who proved the best of the bunch, recording 249-250 to take out the overall championship.
Kim Nealon was the pick of the AA competitors, bagging 272-275 to finish just clear of second-placed Benjamin Woodhouse, who shot 271-275.
Robert Blake pulled of a similarly tight victory in the A division, shooting 230-250 to finish just one point ahead of Anton Horn on 229-250.
Meanwhile, Chris Gee stormed home in the B division with a 225-250 showing, ending up 21 points clear of runner up Malcolm Carr, with Jessica Cottis coming up trumps in C division.
John Blain topped the veterans’ division while Colette Houghton and Brandon Guglielmino took out the ladies and juniors divisions respectively.
Event coordinator Janenne Kidd said the event was a “resounding success” in spite of some unfavourable weather.
“We had some very windy weather conditions on Saturday that made it very difficult for shooting,” Kidd said.
“But we had some great shooters and a few competitors who had previously represented Australia.”
It’s a far cry from the first Wagga Gun Club meeting in 1868 where competitors shot pigeons out behind Clark’s Royal Hotel.
The very first shooting event in Wagga was documented by the Wagga Wagga Express, describing it as being “for a sweep of one pound each, shot with any guns, loaded in any way save cartridge, at five birds each (on a) twenty-five yards rise”.
There were four entries in that inaugural shootout – Ned Stidworthy, J. and S. Robins and William McEntyre – with the event eventually won by Ned Stidworthy who killed four out of his five pigeons.
The second match, shot under the same conditions, was won by Jonathan Boon, who managed to shoot three of his five birds.
For the last match, there were only three birds for each shooter, S. Robins, Frank Tompson, Jonathan Boon, Ned Stidworthy and William McEntyre entered.
The match remained undecided 'for want of pigeons'.