The day had arrived that most Ball Trap shooters had been waiting for.
Saturday November 4 was the day for the battle, and what a day it was going to be.
Instead there was a catastrophic failure of a major component after only a few targets and the result was that it was going to take some time to repair the trap.
As many had travelled quite some distance, a decision was made to re-schedule the event to Saturday December 2, just a day before our final shoot of the year.
So, we waited with patience and did the major repairs that was required and then some testing of the trap to ensure all would be well.
When the day finally arrived, a decent number of squads turned up, as this was now a two-fold event.
Lake Albert had been having a series of 75 target shoots that were all part of the Ball Trap Grand Prix.
Five series had been held and the Overall winner from each of those series were all invited back to the Final.
The sixth and last series was also to be held today to determine the final ‘Overall’ winner to take up position 6 in the final.
Over the top of these 75 targets, we were holding the Commonwealth title as well, which meant that the Overall winner would get both the Commonwealth title as well as be the sixth finalist for the Grand Prix.
The competitors all filed out, one after the other, to do three rounds of 25 targets and contest the title.
Conditions for the day were nothing short of horrendous for the squads which had to contend with gale force winds and targets that were going everywhere but where you expected them to be.
Everyone was hovering around the scoreboard as each set of 25 targets were put up, mainly to see how they were fairing up against the others of if they had become an unrecoverable train wreck in the conditions.
At the end of the 75-target qualifier, there was one standout score.
He had shot a 23 in the first set, and then backed it up with two perfect 25s, giving him a total of 73/75.
Aaron Zupanic had taken out the National Commonwealth Ball Trap title winning the very sought after Royal Blue sash and prize.
To this end, Aaron had also qualified to become the sixth and final participant in the Ball Trap Grand Prix final which was being shot immediately after the presentation of the Commonwealth sash.
A very elated Aaron said in his presentation that it was his first Commonwealth sash and knew that he came there with a one-track mind, to do whatever it took, to win.
Finally, it was time to go out on the walks again to fight it out for the Grand Prix.
The ‘Final’, is another 25 targets of Ball Trap, shot as a PointScore.
All the qualifiers from the previous five series looked up at the skies, and wondered what the hell they were doing there in such awful conditions.
Bronte Evans (who was unfortunately unable to attend due to the rescheduling of the even), Peter Winser, NJ Dreyer, Sam Daou and Michael Raper, as well as current winner Aaron Zupanic all lined up.
Nevertheless, on the call of the first target, everyone had a personality change and it was down to business. One target at a time they smashed their way through the myriad of constantly changing wind speeds and direction.
Some second shots were fired, some full targets were missed and after all had gone quiet, there were some pretty hardened competitors looking down at the ground, wondering what could have gone so tragically wrong.
At the layout, everyone turned to congratulate Aaron.
Under extreme duress, he had somehow dug in to come out on top.
The scorecards were taken in to the office for final counting and the result became official: Aaron Zupanic wins the 2017 Ball Trap Grand Prix as well.
What a fantastic day out for this guy – sheer unrelenting determination.
Aaron takes home the major prize of a temperature controlled safe valued at $250, a perpetual trophy for 1 year with his name on the shield, as well as his name on the Ball Trap Grand Prix Honor Board.
Congratulations have to also go out to the five other finalists who through their own extreme efforts on their day, also came out winners to claim a spot in the final – not an easy challenge when everyone at the front line wants exactly the same as you.
Finally, Lake Albert wishes to thank all the competitors that come to support this event and make it a bunch of fun. Next year, there is a slight change in the wind.
The six qualifying events will only be 25 targets each time, and will be held on our regular scheduled shoot days one hour before DTL starts.
This is to hopefully get a few extra people to try Ball Trap that may not necessarily have travelled for a dedicated Ball Trap only day. Series 1 is being held on Sunday January 7 and series 2 on Sunday March 4.