2019 was a year of firsts for the travelling circus of LERAA shooters. With difficulty gaining access to our home range Peter W and Murgo had made contact with the SSAA Rankins Springs Target Shooting Complex. For many of us it was a case of into the unknown. Unknown location, unknown facilities and our first Prize event open to unknown
With new targets manufactured by El Presidente, a hastily designed frame system knocked up and a 2 day Course of Fire we were set for a weekend of discovery and the familiar LERAA good times.
Friday saw many of the LERAA shooters on the road meandering their way through new roads. Regular posts kept everyone up-to-date on their progress and helpful hints for those following. The weather forecast was foreboding. Strong winds, storms and rain were due on a land that hadn’t seen meaningful rain for sometime. The red dust which could turn to red mud instantly was to play its part over the weekend. Camps were set up and we began to settle in and make this “foreign” soil our own. Thankfully all camps prove to be weatherproof, although some learn that water flows downhill…plans are drawn up to camp on higher ground in future.
Saturday morning dawn break, different birds, yet the familiar baritone call of the red bearded secretary bird rings out “Moooorning!”. Soon the camp stirs and the smell of sizzling breakfasts wafts between the tents. The busy bees head off to set up our new framing system and targets. The members head over for the flag raising and dedication. A strong wind is blowing with clear skies and bright sun. Peter M describes the battle of Messines and dedicates the shoot to the memory of those who served. Wise welcoming words from El Presidente sets up the day and Murgo lays down the procedures and standards. With new surroundings came new procedures of registration and scrutineering. Our first foray into an open prize event is about to begin.
As the shoot gets underway we are joined by our first local. Troy has learned about us from Facebook and has driven in for a day of shooting from a neighbouring town. It doesn’t take long and the conversations are soon flowing and the event begins to flow. Bayonets are fixed, rounds are down and those new targets are soon peppered. A central scoreboard is fashioned and as each event is scored we gather round for the updates, back slapping and mind games. By end of Day the Tags have been won. GOLD to Woody, Silver to Murgo and Bronze to PeterM. Well done men. More importantly we have all had a good day and Troy is welcomed into LERAA as a member with plans for him to join us next shoot at Hill End.
The traditional evening meal brings us all together under the shelter as the rain falls. Spirits are high…chairs and cutlery are stolen ( I know who you are DB!) and the night time revelry that sets us apart begins. As the rain reduces, a fire is lit and we all move to the warming conversation starting flames. Dave B has his eyes on his new victim and after much enjoyment we settle into the dry warm beds.
Day 2 already?!!!Eyes are bleary as that damn red bearded secretary bird rings out the familiar annoying waking call. Breakfasts are chewed and roll call drags us from the tents; well almost all. Sadly Phil has found last nights meal did not agree and retires for the morning. Soon we are faced with a strong in your face wind looking at targets that may not have been seen on a range since WW1 times. Great excitement as the scores are posted…those who shoot consistently are sorted from those who manage 1 or 2 good events and soon its a tussle for the Great War prize.
At the end of day Woody brings home a clean sweep. Gold Tags and the Great War Prize. Murgo follows in as bridesmaid and Peter M comes in third. The red dust has covered us and we pack up. Our spirits are high as we have found another great venue. Our preparations were tested and a course of fire has become a bit of a favourite. Plans are underway to add this to next years calendar…and as I write, plans are now to add another event in October with a sponsor!!!