Cooma has been the scene of a major national sporting event with competitors from all over Australia and New Zealand competing in the three day Sporting Clays Nationals.
The Cooma Sporting Clays club range is located in a stunning high-altitude location, set amongst Snow gums, on Slacks Creek Road, about 28 kilometres south of Cooma.
Sporting Clays NSW/Cooma Sporting Clays president Andrew Fairfield Smith says it was unbelievable event, despite last weekends wild weather.
“It is not all that common for a small town and a small club to hold a national event,” he says.
Fairfield Smith says neighbouring landholders kindly offered their properties to provide the additional ranges needed to cater for the eight grounds required to accommodate 200 targets for the 320 competitors.
Additional traps, which send out the clay targets, were borrowed from nearby sporting clubs at Bermagui, Madura Park and Goulburn.
Cooma Sporting Clays vice president Doug Alcock says that despite some appalling weather, with snow on the Thursday during the practice session, and wind gusts of about 80 kilometres an hour on Saturday, the conditions did not affect the scores.
“Some shooters found it hard to hold their stance in the wind and had to be held up on Saturday, but overall the shooters achieved scores pretty much on par at the high level of national scores,” Alcock says.
“In fact, some scores were lower when conditions were calm, on the Sunday.”
About 30 club members, friends and family volunteered to set up the grounds, do the catering, set up, fill, monitor and repair the shooting traps.
A highlight at the end of the competition, in perfect weather conditions on the Sunday, was a charity shoot, the Springer Teal.
Cooma Sporting Clays secretary Adam Mower says the Springer Teal is an extreme event.
“The usual range of a 12 gauge shotgun is about 25 to 40 metres. In this event, the target gets further and further away, with each successful shooter taking a step back, where the next shooter has to start from,” Mower says.
The Springer Teal charity target event raised $1,200 for the Fly Program, run by Matt Tripet based at Crackenback, near Thredbo.
The Fly Program, is a not-for-profit organisation, founded in 2013, to raise awareness and help men suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s a unique outdoors program, built around fly fishing, where men get to experience time outdoors, with a group of other men, as active participants, where threads of mental illness are tackled as a team, and not on their own.
A young shooter, Xavier Russell from Shepparton won the Springer Teal event at 97 metres. The world record is 118 metres set by George Digweed in England.
Sporting Clays Australia (SCA), vice president Greg Dawes says the national event wouldn’t happen without sponsors like, “Perazzi, Outdoor Trading Company, Outdoor Sporting Agencies and Beretta with a total prize pool exceeding $45,000.”
Check the full results at the Sporting Clays Australia website.
Words and photos by Elena Guarracino