SHARPSHOOTERS Dimity Boydell and Clyde Mitchell have their eye on the bigger target, as they prepare to take a shot at the 2018 Trap Nationals this weekend.
The week-long clay target shooting event will see the pair compete across six events, testing their marksmanship and skill with the loaded barrel.
“Normally, you would shoot in rounds of 25 targets. But at this competition, it’s 50 targets,” said Ms Boydell.
Ms Boydell will represent the NSW Ladies Team while Mr Mitchell will weigh in for the Veterans NSW Team, after coming out on top at the qualifying State Clay Target Carnival at Wagga Wagga last October.
“That competition was divided into three events. The first round, decided the top six shooters, the second round decided the top three, and the third round decided the top one.”
Ms Boydell took out the gong for the competition, which has now propelled her to the national competition.
The shooting enthusiast is a member of the Moree Gun Club, the local offshoot of the Australian Clay Target Association. She has been training every Wednesday night and regularly goes on shooting expeditions on the weekend, illustrating that her shot for nationals has been a long time in the making.
“Club president Paul Tattum has been helping me train, always giving me a rundown of what I need to work on after every training session,” said Ms Boydell.
While Ms Boydell feels confident with her technique, she openly admitted she was feeling slightly nervous.
“It’s the first time that I’ve made it this far in the competition, so there is a lot at stake.”
She said the unbridled support from the community also had a counterproductive effect on some level.
“Locals have been so great in helping me along. Now that I’ve made it this far, I feel like I owe them a good performance,” she laughed.
Pressure aside, Ms Boydell said the only thing she needed to work on was her brainpower.
“Clay target shooting is a mentally draining sport. If you lose concentration for even a second, you miss your shot and that can totally change your score.”
According to Ms Boydell, the key to winning is to keep your head in the game.
“I don’t even look at the scoreboard until after the competition. If I know my opponent’s score, that’s all I’ll be thinking about, and that’s a distraction I don’t need.”
It’s a kind of concentration Ms Boydell has learned over her lifetime of shooting, saying the sport has been with her since her early days on the farm.
“Growing up in the country, I was always surrounded with shooting. It just seems like it’s part of my life.”
Ms Boydell first took to clay target shooting when she was 18, saying the sport provided plenty of good bonding time with her father.
“He has always been taking part in clay target shooting competitions, so I always kind of just tagged along.”
A family shooting event will be available at the competition, one of the highlights for Ms Boydell.
“It’s always good fun when I go out shooting with my dad.”
She hopes that other children might have the same experiences she’s had, considering herself lucky to be part of the local shooting club.
“We’re encouraging juniors and women to join the club, wanting to get more on board with the sport.”
She said learning about gun safety was a key skill for anyone growing up in a town.
“If you live on a farm, you’re likely to be around guns. Moree Gun Club can provide that necessary education about safety and proper maintenance.”