FOR a third straight year Echuca’s extraordinary shooting facilities will be put to use with the hosting of the 2017 Australian Open.
Just three weeks on from the extravaganza that was the Victorian Trap Shooting Carnival where more than 400 shooters came to town, the Echuca Gun Club will again be full of activity today and tomorrow.
And with the best shots competing and massive prizemoney on offer, club president Stephen Atkins said it was an event the top-line shooters circled in the calendar.
‘‘It is the big professional shoot, obviously they’re all after the money with a total of $50,000 cash on offer over the three events,’’ he said.
‘‘The main event everyone is trying to win is the Handicap event on Saturday for the $10,000, so it’s a pretty good event. It might not get the best numbers but it does attract the best shots.’’
The action kicks off today at 10am with both the singles and doubles championships. It continues on Saturday for the main-event Handicap event, with the finals to be run in the afternoon — singles at 4pm, doubles at 5pm and the handicap at 6pm. First prize for singles and doubles is $5,000, with that figure doubling for the Handicap. And while numbers will be down on the state event, Atkins said the quality would be just as good.
‘‘All the good shots were at the State carnival as well, but where we had 400 shooters at that event there’s more likely to be 60 or 70 this weekend we hope,’’ he said.
He said to look for Echuca’s Casey Fletcher to be around the mark after a fine showing at the State titles.
‘‘But anyone there can win, they’re all that good,’’ Atkins remarked.
And as president of the fantastic-quality club, he said there was a reason Echuca hosted the biggest shooting events.
‘‘We’ve got the best facilities in Victoria for a start, and it’s probably a pretty good spot for everyone to go,’’ he said.
‘‘We seem to turn the weather on too, so it ticks all the boxes.’’