SUNDAY may have been Father's Day, but for more than 60 shotgun shooters, it was the 133rd anniversary shoot at the Warwick Clay Target Club.
Originally formed in 1880 as the Warwick Gun Club under the leadership of well-known pastoralist Harry Bracker of Warroo Station, between Stanthorpe and Inglewood, the club started using Bogardus traps to throw hollow glass balls as targets.
Those who attended the inaugural meeting were termed "knights of the trigger" in the newspaper of the day, which reported the club as being on "a sure foundation".
In later years, live pigeon shooting became popular and it is recorded the Warwick shooters often resorted to capturing and using invasive and nuisance starlings as targets.
Although the club went through periods of inactivity, competitions were shot fairly regularly throughout the district, particularly on properties west of Warwick in the Rodger's Creek area up until a permanent home for the club was established at Morgan Park on the western side of Rosenthal Creek.
Club historian Terry Davis, who researched the early days of the club, said Harry Bracker would be astounded at the quality of shooters and firearms beign used in the sport today.
"Harry was famous as a shooter of marsupials during his early years on Warroo Station, and his friends once presented him with a very modern 12 gauge hammer gun with a choked bore as reward for his efforts," he said.
"The technology of sporting and trap guns has almost 'reached the stars' since those days and the top international shooters don't hesitate to pay up to $30,000 for a quality gun.
"Competitors today have much more opportunity to be superior shooters with such technically perfect weapons, superior cartridges and shot, along with innovations such as shooting glasses, but I sometimes wonder if those old shooters could still teach us a thing or two."
Davis said the Anniversary Shoot had attracted slightly more than the average number of shooters from throughout the region, with a strong contingent travelling from the Gold Coast.
"One club member, Marius Venter, travelled from Mackay to spend the weekend in Warwick. He was a teacher at Scots-PGC until moving to a college up north and really enjoyed his day here," he said.
"The weather was lovely, but the wind and cloud kept changing all day which made for difficult shooting, but looking at the scores, you'd have to wonder just how hard it was because there were 56 'possibles' shot on the day. (A 'possible' is when a shooter hits every target in that particular round of competition).
"In the end, we had Terry Rogers from the Ballandean club and Curtis Smith from the Gold Coast in a shoot-off to decide the Overall Hi-Gun of the day, both having shot the same score after 133 targets were thrown," Davis said.
"Terry won, hitting 173 from 174, with Curtis one shot behind. What outstanding shooting it was."
Overall: Terry Rogers
AA-Grade: Curtis Smith, 1, 172/174, Shane Weedon, 2, 255/257, Dan Johnson, 3, 254/257, Ken Stevens, 191/194.
A-Grade: Jeninne Gerrard, 1, 128/133, Grant Coy, 2, 132/138, Col Bradford, 3, 131/138, Byron Smith, 4, 154/161.
B-Grade: Brendon Steele, 1, 124/134, Terry Davis, 2, 123/134, James Hughes, 3, 133/138, Karla Bacon, 4, 132/138.
C-Grade: John Henderson, 1, (122/133, Ian Hurley, 2, 118/133, Matt Vukovic, 3, 116/133, Andrew Mauch, 4, 114/133.