A glorious day greeted the 52 shooters, as well as other helpers, at the Mount Barker & Districts Rifle Club, for what is a very special and unique commemoration of ANZAC Day, the annual “Fathers and Sons Shoot” (open to mothers and daughters and almost any other family combination you can imagine). As part of the remembrance service, led by Association President Phil Bradshaw, the Chairperson, Graham Hancock, emphasised the contribution of those who have served this nation and made the ultimate sacrifice as well as those who have returned home only to continue the battle against depression, post-traumatic stress, and other mental illness. The shooting community also took a moment to remember those from within its own ranks who had died in the past year, this year paying respects to Bruce Moulds and Claudia Mousley, who won the “Fathers and Sons” Shield twice in combination with her son Thomas.
The bulk of the competition is shot over two rounds of eight shots at 600 yards and is coached to allow for those family members who are not regular shooters to join in more easily. Trophies are awarded in each discipline for the winning “father and son” (parent/child) combination, as well as across disciplines for husband and wife, grandparent and grandchild, in-laws, and even open pairs to allow for those who might not be able to bring family to “adopt” someone for the day and shoot. There is also a category for ex-service personnel to compete for an individual award. The final stage of the competition is another 8-shot match between the top four shooters in each discipline and is for the individual honour of winning the Anzac Medal.
A gentle breeze from the right persisted for most of the day and made the competition tight with many shooters scoring highly so that, in the shoot off at least, to drop a point could make a significant difference. Both F-Open and Target Rifle Anzac Medal winners scored possibles in the shoot-off, with Chad Kay winning Open with a 48.05, and Lynlee Lowe winning TR with a 40.05, a centre ahead of Kym Mueller. It was tight in F-Standard as well with Anaki Tovale winning the Anzac Medal with a score of 47.05, also only a centre ahead of second placed Eddie Concannon.
Overall, the top scorers for each discipline across the two 8-shot rounds of competition at 600 yards were Bronwyn Hajek in TR with a one off 79.06, Frank Marshall in F-Standard with a 92.08 and Jade Conlon in F-Open with a double possible for a near perfect 96.12. Frank Marshall also claimed the Veteran Award for the top score for a shooter over 60 years of age, while young Riley Walker won the Robert Richards-Mousley Award for best under 21-performance. This year, former member of the Australian Army and current MFS firefighter, Andrew Heard, made it back-to-back wins for the “Ex-service person’s” Award.
The Family combination awards on the day were also well contested and this year the winning “parent/child” teams were Phil Bradshaw and Bronwyn Hajek (TR), Peter and Riley Walker (FS) and Adrian and Jade Conlon (FO) shooting a perfect 192.20, with this pair also taking out the overall handicap award. The Conlon’s impressive display also meant that the Husband-and-Wife trophy was convincingly won by Adrian and Karen. The Bradshaw/Hajek/Lowe family also did very well on the day, with Phil Bradshaw and Henry Hajek winning the “Grandparents” trophy, Bronwyn Hajek and niece, Jessica Lowe, winning the “In-laws” trophy (open to any family combination not covered by another award), and Rachel and Henry Hajek winning the “Brothers” trophy. Other combination awards included the open pairs, which was won this year by Jade Conlon and Chad Kay (FO), Eddie Concannon and Alison Hansen (FS) and Dave Lindner and Fred Guyatt (TR). The self-handicapped Chairman’s award was won by Greg Traeger and son-in-law, Daniel Irvine.
Congratulations were extended to the winners on the day, but also to all those who made the trip to take part in this historic commemoration and unique tribute to those men and women who have served this nation and who continue to serve it, with shooters, their families and returned service men and women encouraged to continue to support this tribute match which will be held again on Anzac Day 2023 at the Mt Barker Rifle Range.
Lest We Forget.