EXPERIENCE was a deciding factor in Tony Moon's win in the State champion of champions rifle shooting event held at a windy Malabar range.
Moon, 63, qualified for the event after taking out the Wingham Rifle Club title and then the Mid North Coast crown. However, he didn't give himself much chance of taking home the trophy.
"I haven't been doing much lately,'' he admitted.
However, Moon surprised himself by claiming the title. He's also the Manning River Times-Iguana Sportstar of the Week, earning a $50 open order at Iguana.
The field for the event included Duncan Davies, winner of the Wingham Open Shoot earlier this year along with Australian representatives. However, Moon's shot at Malabar countless times and he knows the vagaries conditions there when it's windy.
"The range is right on the ocean,'' he said.
"And the wind was coming over the right shoulder.''
He was able to read, or at least at times, guess the conditions correctly. However, it was still a close run thing, Moon winning on a countback by two central bulls after he and another shooter finished with 149-150.
Moon was also part of the Mid North Coast side that won the team event - a first for the district. Here he paid tribute to junior Lyndon Thurtell, who he said shot 'brilliantly.'
MNC held a huge lead early but were pegged back by North Shore.
"We eventually fell over the line to win by one point,'' Moon said.
Unfortunately there's no Australian champion of champions event for Moon to now aim for.
"They cut it out of the calendar because of the costs involved in getting the winners over from Western Australia,'' Moon explained.
Moon told the Times earlier this year he intended to cut down his commitments in major representative shooting.
This followed a disappointing performance at the Australian titles held in Melbourne. That's still his intention.
"There's the Queensland titles in August and they could be my swansong,'' Moon said.
However, he'll continue his commitments with the Wingham club, where he's the reigning club champion. The Moons have been club members for the past 10 years. Moon's wife Wendy has won the title five times, Tony four, so he's keen to get on level terms with her.
Moon still enjoys the sport.
"Once you're on the mound you enjoy the competition and just as long as I'm competitive, I'm happy,'' he said.