TAREE Wingham Clay Target Club hosted the NSW Northern Zone clay target shooting championship at the Cedar Party sports complex.
Shooters from across NSW, Queensland and Victoria were vyiong for a share of the $10,000 prize pool.
Many shooters were in red hot form, despite the inclement weather, having recently competed at the national and then world championships in Wagga Wagga in March. The premier event on the local shooting calendar kicked off with the Northern Zone Single Barrel Championship. Port Macquarie shooter Hank MacInnes broke every target that flew in the sky, claiming first place overall with a perfect 50/50. Local shooter Kerry Miller missed a lone target and settled for second overall with 49/50. The next event was the zone double barrel championship which is undoubtedly the most closely contested event. A total of 13 shooters managed to hit all 50 targets straight which led to an intense "miss and out" shoot off. With light fading quickly it came down to local shooter Phil Baker and Jason Owen. The end came on the 86th target when Owen failed to hit a hard right hand target to hand Baker the win.
Weather conditions on the second day were similar to with cloud, slight rain and wind making shooters work hard to break targets. The first event was the zone point score championship with three shooters tied with 149/150. The three were from different sections which demonstrated the equality of the sport across both gender and age. Women’s competitor Tammy Henshall, over 65s shooter Graeme Turner and Phil Baker (open division) continued shooting to break the tie. In the end veteran shooter Turner claimed victory over Baker with Henshall settling for third.
Local shooter Clayton Smith claimed the C-grade title with his personal best score of 145/150. The annual specialty event held exclusively at the Taree-Wingham club the Flying Fox 50 was the next event and it was the locals who triumphed again with Baker the only shooter to score a possible 100/100 and Smith again taking out the C-grade honours with 97/100.
Final event of the carnival was the 25 target handicap championship where shooters were handicapped with distance. Five competitors shot all 25 targets to advance to a shoot off tie breaker. Newcastle's Mark Attard fired from 19m and was victorious over maximum distance (25m) shooter and Australian champion John Maxwell.
Overall High Gun went to Hank MacInnes with 322/325 when all scores were combined. The Grand Champion shooter across all grades was Russell Sainsbury of Tamworth. For those interested in trying out the sport the Taree-Wingham club hosts public come and try days from 1pm on the second Saturday.