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Sport shooters aim for titles in Red Deer

Sport shooters targeted titles at the Alberta Airgun Championships over the weekend.

Fifty shooters competed with rifles and pistols in the two-day meet sponsored by the Alberta Handgun Association and the Alberta Smallbore Rifle Association at Westerner Park’s Agri-Centre.

They ranged in age from 9 to over 80 with some travelling from Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories to compete in a variety of age classes.

“It’s an incredibly safe sport,” said Malcolm McIlroy, an assistant coach from Red Deer. “There’s never been a death or injury in competitive history.”

Red Deer was well represented by the group of shooters who regularly use the Red Deer Fish and Game Association range behind the Red Deer Public School District maintenance shop just west of the Memorial Centre.

“My brother started with pistol and I decided to try rifle and I really liked it,” said Belle Medicraft, 14, who’s been shooting nearly two years.

“I like the competition and you get to travel all over Alberta and into Saskatchewan.”

Scott Arthur brought his three daughters Jill, 13, Avril, 11, and Jocelyn, 9 from Saskatoon to compete. His oldest daughter Aerial, 15, returned from Australia yesterday after winning a silver medal at the Junior Olympic Festival in Sydney.

“It’s a real family sport for us,” he said, adding he also shoots.

“We can all go to the range or an event together and enjoy ourselves.”

Breathing and concentration are the keys to success with competitors given time limits to fire a set number of pellets at the target 10 metres away.

The Alberta Handgun Association indoor electronic range system allows competitors to see shots only a moment after firing on a monitor in front of them and spectators to see the target on a projected screen. Results are even streamed live online at aha.abshooters.org.

“It’s the only range of its kind in Canada that’s not military,” said Bernie Harrison, the competition’s chief official and past president of Alberta Handgun Association.

He said the association also has 25- and 50-metre outdoor ranges which also fit in a small trailer for portability.

Both sponsoring associations hold competitions throughout the year across the province, including an indoor one at

Olds College in November.

Anyone interested in trying the sport can call Steve Medicraft at (403) 342-6555 for more information.

rfiedler@reddeeradvocate.com

 

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