BEGA’S Wayde Hawkins is one of Australia’s best clay target shooters, and he has the ribbon to prove it.
Hawkins was one of 500 shooters competing in the National Cup Titles at Wagga Wagga recently.
Hawkins took part in the Champion of Champions event.
“It’s called that because it’s a medley of different ranges,” he said.
He shot a perfect 125/125 targets in the qualifying rounds.
Then in a title shootoff he cleared another flawless 125-target round to claim the 2014 title.
“Nine of us shot the qualifier perfectly,” Hawkins said.
“So we went in to a shootoff.
“You shoot those same disciplines again and people begin to drop off until you’re just left with one person,” he said.
Hawkins also took part in other disciplines across the week-long tournament and his performance qualified him for the International Mackintosh shooting team.
“Over the full event, they pick the top 25 shooters from the whole week.
“I shot well enough during the rest of the week to qualify.
“[The team] is named after Donald Mackintosh who was one of our first Olympians.”
Hawkins said the selected 25 man squad takes on a 100-target standard shoot.
“Every year you shoot as a team and the results are sent to England to decide who the winner is.”
Hawkins was one of the top shooters in the team, clearing the round with a perfect score.
Hawkins said it wasn’t his first taste of the international challenge.
“That’s the fifth time I’ve made it in that one,” he said.
“It’s usually around about August that all the countries finish and all the scores are compared.
“We just have to wait and see what the other countries come up with,” he said.
Hawkins said he had grown up around shooters.
“I was born in to a shooting family, my dad was an accomplished shooter,
“I’ve been exposed to it my whole life,” he said.
Hawkins took up the sport at a young age, but placed education ahead of shooting when he turned 17.
“I took a break to do high school, university and that sort of thing.
“I gave it up for about 25 years.
“I took it up again in the mid 1990s,” he said.
Now, as an accomplished shooter, Hawkins said it is the camaraderie of friendship that keeps brining him back to competition.
“You just keep going to the big events and doing your best, it is nice if you get a good result.
“But the best part is seeing all the people you’ve come to know over the years and catching up with them,” he said.
Hawkins would recommend the sport to anyone considering taking it up.
“It is a great sport, visitors are very welcome to come out to the [Bega] club on shoot days and see what goes on.
“It’s a great family environment; we have a lot of ladies and junior shooters.”
Hawkins said the sport included rules to keep everyone safe.
“It’s very safe, there is a lot of discipline and it’s pretty structured.
“Kids learn a lot of responsibility,” he said.