Jim Bailey targets record in Wingham prize shoot

SYDNEY’S Jim Bailey will be looking to beat his own record when he lines up in Wingham Rifle Club’s prize shoot this weekend.

Bailey has won the event for an unprecedented three consecutive years. Now he’s aiming for four.

He’ll carry some strong form into the two day event and will start favourite.

The club expects around 120 entrants for the weekend - on par with recent years.

“We may be down a couple as some prefer to go to the Darwin Queens. That’s only held every second year,’’ club spokeswoman Wendy Moon explained.

Past winner Duncan Davies from Cessnock is expected to be another contender. However, Bailey may also have to overcome some family rivalry.

“Both Duncan and Jim have teenage sons who are in the NSW under 25 team and they’ll be here this weekend,’’ Wendy explained.

“And they’ve both expected to push for top five places.’’

Peter Thurtell will carry the Wingham hopes and he’s currently in good form, while Steve Southwell could come into contention although work commitments might make it difficult to go for overall honours.

Tony Galati is tipped to be a front runner in the F Class.

Practice will be held this morning with the sweepstakes this afternoon.

The event-proper will be underway from tomorrow morning, concluding on Sunday.

Meanwhile the club has been awarded a NSW government grant of $4400 for the prize shoot.

Minister for Sport and Recreation Stuart Ayres said the success of this event wa s evident in its longevity, and underpinned by a dedicated team of club volunteers and a sound management.

“With 120 competitors expected to take part, this is the largest rural shooting event in the State,” Mr Ayres said.

Mr Ayres said the grant was awarded through the NSW government’s Sport and Recreation Events Program.

“This program provides funding for high-level international, national and regional sporting events held in NSW,” he said.

Myall Lakes MP Stephen Bromhead said the great tradition and reputation of the Wingham shooting event brings repeat and new visitors to the town each June long weekend.

“It’s fantastic that this local event is being supported by the government, and that the club’s sporting commitment and organisational ability is recognised,” he said.

“Each year it gives local businesses a much needed winter boost and it’s great to see Sport and Recreation supporting events in rural and regional areas, and not just those in the cities.”