Situated at the foot of Mt Erin in the middle of rich farming country, Chapman Valley RC is a picturesque little rifle range that has been in operation since 1902. The last picnic shoot held at Chapman Valley was in 2019, as 2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
This year could have been a washout with TC Seroja coming through in April, causing damage to the clubhouse, ablutions and target shed, leaving a massive mess in it’s wake. The members banded together and cleaned the range up in readiness for the picnic shoot.
Forty eight shooters came from all over WA to shoot it out for the badges and bragging rights. Three ranges and five applications were shot over two days. Shooter ages ranged from 16 years to 86 years in the disciplines of Target Rifle, F Standard, F Open and FTR.
For the first time in the history of the club, four targets were raised. Using electronic Kongsberg scoring systems, the score cards were entered into the laptop on the mound, as the shooters completed their applications.
The atmosphere was cheerful, how could it not be with such magnificent conditions. Almost no wind, the sun was shining through the clouds, the temperatures were comfortable. Shooters were happy to enjoy once again the warm and welcoming hospitality of the little country club of Chapman Valley.
Competition was fierce among the disciplines. Everyone completed two applications of 10 shots at 300 yards on the first day. By the finish of Saturday afternoon, Target Rifle A grade shooter Nathan Lauritsen (Chapman Valley Club Captain) was in front with 99.10 followed by Ian Syme (Dalwallinu) with 98.8 and 16 year old Coen Harris (Chapman Valley) in C grade hot on their heels with 97.10.
In F Standard, Mahlon Reid (A grade, Boddington) set the bar with 119.16 with local shooter Ashley Norwood (B grade, Geraldton Greenough) chasing hard with 119.7. Carnarvon shooters Ben Dei Giudici and Winki Williams (A grade) were also in hot pursuit equally with 118.12 followed by Super Veteran Terry Brennan (Chapman Valley, B grade). Terry was the oldest shooter competing. Mathew Gilbert (Carnarvon) is also a junior shooter at 16, coming in closely in fifth place (A grade) with 117.9.
Bruce Piper (Geraldton Greenough) and Bob Kinnear (Boddington) battled it out for top spot in F Open with scores of 120.16 and 120.12 respectively.
Paul Kearney, another Carnarvon hot shot fronted the line up for FTR with 120.17 with Bradley Lemmon of Geraldton Greenough right behind Paul with 120.12.
The day wound up with a traditional camp oven dinner provided by Chapman Valley members, along with delicious side dishes and amazing desserts. Oh and a few drinks and yarns around the fire.
Sunday dawned warm and bright and damp, and again only the odd breath of wind. High scores were expected early on, however the damp weight of the flags fooled many of the first shooters off the rank. As the day dried off, the breeze gusted and picked up, as did the flags and scores, with many possibles being achieved later in the day. After two applications of 10 shots at 500 yards, the final round at 600 yards was 15 shots.
The second day aggregate saw a change in front liners, with Target Rifle C grader and junior, Coen Harris, finish on top with 174.15. There were only Bulls Eyes between the next three placings with A graders Gary Filgate (Geraldton Greenough) and Ian Syme in equal second on 172.19 followed closely by Darryl Jupp (Geraldton Greenough) with a score of 172.11.
In F Standard, Graeme Gilbert (A grade, Carnarvon) was on fire with 210.17. His closest rival, Ben Dei Guidici finished with 209.19, with Mahlon Reid on 207.21.
In F Open the tables were turned with Bob Kinnear outshooting Bruce Piper with 210.23 to Bruce’s 208.19.
Paul Kearney again topped FTR with 209.21, followed by John Boyes and Brad Lemmon (both of Geraldton Greenough) with 208.15.
Final applications for the day had everyone holding their breath. Scorer, Kym Harris (proud mum of Coen Harris) couldn’t watch as Coen completed his final 15 shots, dropping only 1 shot, scoring a 74.5, winning the range in Target Rifle.
Overall Grand Aggregates saw Target Rifle won by Coen with 271.24, followed by Ian Syme on 270.27 then Colin Dewar (A grade, Chapman Valley) with 269.23.
F Standard top scorer was Graeme Gilbert on 328.25, with Ben Dei Guidici on 327.31 and Mahlon Reid rounding out the top three with 326.37.
Bob Kinnear scored a 90.9 in the final application, putting him in top spot in F Open with a total of 330.35 for the weekend.
Paul Kearney took out the prize for FTR, winning the weekend with a score of 329.38.
Although some members had to leave early due to a long drive home, many stayed on overnight, and will migrate down to the Geraldton Greenough range for their prize meet next Friday, and the North West District Prize meet on Saturday and Sunday, culminating with the Champion of Champions shooting it out to represent our clubs and North West District at the WA Queens Prize Meet in September.
Look out you city folk, the country kids are coming!