March 2023, a distressing incident occurred when two members of our group fell victim to a burglary and subsequent fire, resulting in the complete loss of their belongings and home. Rallying together, our club decided to stand by them, organising a benefit shooting event to show our solidarity and support.
The event kicked off with a bustling morning as volunteers busily set up and provided a BBQ breakfast. The shooting activities featured a variety of targets including clay pigeons, plastic gong targets, reactive gopher targets, balloons, and fox targets. Participants eagerly took their positions after a safety briefing and a rundown of the shooting plan.
As the participants started to arrive, our dedicated volunteers efficiently managed the sign-in process, provided instructions, and facilitated various activities. The shooting commenced at 10 am, with individuals taking their turns at different stations. Each station presented a unique challenge, requiring participants to adapt their shooting techniques. The event provided an opportunity for learning, with most attendees getting acquainted with open sights, trigger control, and foundational shooting skills. The rifles used included a range of open sight .22lr rifles, predominantly older models from Lithgow and Remington.
We were thrilled to see a substantial turnout, with over 100 attendees spanning various age groups. Witnessing younger participants, many of whom expressed interest in pursuing firearms safety courses and regular range practices was particularly heartening. Adding to the atmosphere, cowboy action shooters engaged attendees, selling raffle tickets, and discussing various shooting disciplines.
The event received generous support from local businesses, including contributions from Reece Plumbing and Local Pest Experts, which ranged from heated jackets to knives. Ammunition was kindly provided by The Depot Taree, our local ammunition supply store. Smaller draws were held on a chocolate wheel throughout the day, offering prizes such as hats, bags, magazines, stubby holders, and even treats for winning children.
Recognising the achievements of our junior shooters, we awarded prizes, and a special mention goes to Mick Cowen, our very own Cowboy Action National and State Champion, for his standout Sheriff outfit. A delightful sausage sizzle lunch, featuring sausages donated by Centrepoint Gourmet Meats and Chicken and Meats at Chrisso’s Harrington, kept everyone energized.
The weather couldn’t have been better, with abundant sunshine and minimal wind, setting the stage for a successful benefit. In total, we managed to raise $4000, a sum directly handed over to our beneficiaries. Their gratitude for the support and financial assistance during their time of need was truly heartwarming.