Geraldton Clay Target Club celebrates 4oth Crayfish Carnival with weekend of fun

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Reuben CarderGeraldton Guardian
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Rio Olympian Mitch Iles lines up a target at the Crayfish Carnival.
Camera IconRio Olympian Mitch Iles lines up a target at the Crayfish Carnival. Credit: Geraldton Guardian

Birds were flying as shooters turned up for Geraldton’s 40th Crayfish Carnival.

Not real birds — the Geraldton Clay Target Club’s event from September 17-19 drew about 170 competitors from as far away as Queensland to shoot targets, and the breeze, in pursuit of the golden crayfish badge and $1500 cash.

President Peter Lemmon said the club started the carnival 40 years ago in the days before crayfish quotas, when actual crayfish could be offered as a prize.

He said the public were welcome to come and try shooting.

“We shoot as a club, on average, three times a month,” Lemmon said.

“We’re more than happy to get them started. They don’t need to invest in anything. We bring them out here and they get a bit of an idea what sort of guns suit them best.”

He said there were 171 shooters this year, including some from Queensland who were travelling in WA before State borders became closed.

Two shooters were from Victoria and some were from Tasmania the Northern Territory, he said.

He said the event normally drew 60 Eastern States shooters.

The club was in the process of gearing back up after a disrupted season last year and was planning more events such as come-and-try days and corporate shoots, where money is raised for a cause.

Rio 2016 Olympian Mitch Iles was overall champion for the weekend and said he found the local shooting community welcoming.

“Usually I’m overseas most of the year shooting (otherwise) I’d be a regular here, that’s for sure,” he said.

“It’s always good to come across. Everyone is always very welcoming to me so I always enjoy it.

“This year I’ve been lucky that I haven’t been stuck in Melbourne.”

He said the targets were “pretty well set” and high winds had little effect on performance.

Asked if he had any advice for local shooters, he said it was as simple as “don’t give up”.

The club received a boost recently after the City of Greater Geraldton allocated money to fund clubs through grants.

The pistol, clay target and golf clubs will share in $180,000 from the City’s Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund grants. The funding will support a third of the cost of each organisation’s proposed building projects, with another third understood to progress to a further approval process by the State Government and the rest to be supplied by the clubs.

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