Pinegrove Gun Club is again gearing up to host the Field and Game Australia national carnival this weekend for the second year in a row.
The tournament begins Friday, October 28, with the best clay target shooters from across the country expected to descend to the area for the biggest event on the shooting calender.
This is the first time any club has held the event back to back — and it’s right at our back door.
The competition will see 504 competitors shooting 150 targets over the two day event.
Last year’s event not only brought financial support for the club but also showcased the club to the wider shooting community and the general public.
There’ll be many exhibitors displays and a wet bar and canteen, with more than 1000 people expected to attend over the weekend.
It’s an opportunity for anyone to get involved in the sport with a practice ground running over the three days.
The club has come a long way from humble beginnings in 1994, when the reserve only had an existing amenities block and a derelict pavilion.
A harmless conversation between mates after work uncovered the need for a multi sports shooting range for locals to enjoy their sports shooting.
This led to what has now become one of the most successful gun clubs in the country.
After becoming affiliated with the Victorian Amateur Pistol Association and Field and Game Australia, funds were raised and work began on the pistol and clay target shooting ranges.
The club has continually been funded in varying ways including from Victoria Police who use the facilities as a training ground.
As committee member Steven Koch explains, they were lucky enough to receive grants in the lead up to last year’s national titles.
‘‘In 2015 the club was successful in obtaining a grant through the Shooting Sports facilities program for an extension of the club house and five clay target traps,’’ Koch said.
‘‘On completion of this project came the news that Pinegrove was again successful in the 2016 Shooting Sports Facilities program enabling the purchase of a neighbouring property and more traps and equipment.’’
The club is also a keen advocator of education in the safe handling of firearms and sports shooting etiquette, ensuring all events including the national titles are safe for all involved.
“It is vital to the future of our sport. There are six qualified firearms safety instructors in the gun club ranks and a firearm safety course is run on a monthly basis. This course is a prerequisite to obtaining a shooters license,” Koch said.
Today the club has 154 field and game members and 30 Victorian amateur pistol members, with their club monthly clay target shoot attracting an average of 115 participants.
The club also hosts day two of the popular golden rivers classic with up to 380 participants on this day and has previously hosted the 2015 FGA National Carnival.
Weekly pistol competitions also take place and the range is available to members at all times.