The weather was almost perfect as members from full-bore rifle clubs from around the state arrived to compete and assist in what is a unique and long held commemoration of ANZAC Day among the shooting movement, the annual “Fathers and Sons Shoot”. As part of the remembrance service, led by Association President Phil Bradshaw, the Chairperson, Graham Hancock, once again 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, with Graham encouraging anyone who know a veteran to put their arm around them thank them for their service and ask them sincerely, “Are you OK?”
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 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.
Shooting conditions seemed favourable with barely a gentle breeze from throughout the day but the Mount Barker & Districts Rifle Club range never lets conditions remain “easy” for long, with the wind continuously varying and even swapping right to left. But the conditions were no match for the Bradshaw/Lowe/Hajek family as they cleaned up across the Target Rifle discipline. Father Phil Bradshaw and Daughter Lynlee Lowe won the Stein Shield (off-rifle) and the Sarre Cup (handicap), while Phil also teamed up with grandson Henry Hajek to win the Bill James Trophy. Henry was in the winning combinations this year, winning the Ted Deed “siblings” trophy with sister Rachel and the “In-Laws” Shield with Aunt Lynlee, while his dad, Brad Hajek, also won the “ex-serviceman’s” trophy. Lynlee carried her fine form into the Anzac Medal Shoot, winning with an almost perfect 40.07, just a single centre ahead of Greg Traeger.
Other families to do well on the day were the Walkers, where Peter and Riley teamed up to win the Frank Bradshaw Memorial Trophy for being the highest scoring F-Standard Parent/Child combination. Riley also won the Robert Richards-Mousley Award for the top junior (under 21) shooter on the day. Riley wasn’t content to leave things there however, making the Anzac Medal shoot he shot an outstanding, and again near perfect, 48.07 to win the honour in F-Standard. The Whants also fared well, with Cameron and Riley finishing the top parent/child pair in F-Open to claim the Braund Family Shield with Cameron and Liam finishing second, while Cameron and Aleks won the Husband-and-Wife trophy. Continuing his fine shooting on the day, Cameron went on to win the Anzac Medal in F-Open with a very well shot 48.06. Father and son combination of Kym and Duncan Muller, from Mount Gambier, did well too, finishing a close second in the TR Stein Shield but taking out the self-handicapped Chairman’s Trophy.
Apart from the prestigious Anzac Medals, individual honours are also awarded to the top scorers in each discipline for the day. This year’s the winners were F.O. Pinyon in TR with a double possible for an 80.08, Alison Hansen in F-Standard with a 93.09, and John Cranwell in F-Open with a 95.06. The top score for a veteran member (over 60) went to Greg Traeger in TR with a score of 79.09. While in the open pairs categories, Daniel Nesbitt and Graham Hancock teamed up to win in TR and Mount Barker clubmates Alison Hansen and Mark DeLaine took the honours in F-Class.
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. Shooters, their families and returned service men and women are all encouraged to continue to support this tribute match which will be held again on Anzac Day 2024 at the Mt Barker Rifle Range.
Lest We Forget.