Clay target shooting is alive and well in central Queensland if the weekend zone championships at Barcaldine is anything to go by.
Over 130 competitors from as far apart as Mackay, Cloncurry, Windorah and Chinchilla competed at the annual zone selection carnival, described as a terrific turn-out.
One of the highlights of the weekend was the inaugural central zone shoot-out spectacular involving the 15 winners of the handicap event at each of the central zone's club two-day events held throughout 2018.
After an intense build-up that saw contenders walk the red carpet to musical fanfare, they were gradually whittled away until Mackay-Sarina's Greg Howard stood alone as the winner of the yellow vest, $1000 cash, a grand champion sash, and a $1200 prize donated by Ross and Kerry Ohlsen.
Shooting off 18 metres, Greg qualified by winning at his home shoot at Mackay-Sarina.
As well as adding more interest to the zone carnival, the shoot-out spectacular also brought more competition to each of the clubs' handicap events last year.
It's a clay target handicap shoot like you've never seen before - competitors, including eventual winner Greg Howard, pictured, arrive via the red carpet and fanfare. Nearly as good as the Academy Awards! #Barcaldine#centralzone@Target_Shootingpic.twitter.com/I4WD4Pfqb7— Sally Cripps (@sallyQCL) February 25, 2019
Zone teams were announced at the end of the weekend, to compete at the state carnival at the Gemfields on the May long weekend.
The open team consists of Des Richardson, Springsure, Danny Allan, Blackall, Tony Coco, Mackay-Sarina, Austin O'Brien, Springsure, Lance Broom, Gemfields, and Shawn Ryan, Barcaldine.
The three in the veterans team are Don Berrie, Rockhampton, Alan McPherson, Ilfracombe, and Jim Taylor, Blackall.
Springsure's Zarah and Jayd Powell, along with Lil Brandt, Tambo, make up the central zone ladies team, while the junior team consists of Travis Streeter, Callide-Dawson, and Jackson and William Cox from the Pioneer club.
Gemfields shooter Lance Broom was named the zone champion at the end of the weekend, shooting 221 from 225.
Austin O'Brien took overall high gun honours. In AA grade, Danny Allan collected the sash, while in A grade it went to Gemfields' Tom Mylrea, and in B grade the winner was Julian Daley, Pioneer.
C grade high gun went to Josh Griffiths, Charleville.
Jayd Powell won the ladies high gun, Tony Coco the veterans, and Travis Streeter the junior high gun.
Read more: Blackall zone clay target heats up