The National Carnival is bigger and better, and now a target event for the top guns.
2013 champion Anthony Panetta spoke at the Civic Reception hosted by East Gippsland Shire Council prior to the Nationals.
That same year he lost his father Vince, who had been his shooting buddy and the reason he got involved in the sport.
He lost his way, lost focus and eventually earlier this year, interest.
Competing at the National Carnival was the culmination of a process to reignite his passion for clay target shooting.
“I rediscovered the reason I loved the sport in the first place; it is getting together with friends and breaking targets,” he said.
Participating just for the enjoyment meant that whenever you crossed his path, Anthony had a smile on his face.
“I was having fun, even in the wind, just trying to break as many targets as I could; it is still fun whether you break five or 50,” he said.
Anthony said the wind meant the targets presented on the first day didn’t get the credit they deserved.
“The targets I shot today (Sunday) were superb, as good as you will find at any shoot anywhere.”
Past champion Robert Hall said the course setters did a great job and even with the wind, scoring was still good.
“I practiced with Blake on Wednesday and I knew he was on but Chris Brown and Nick Guerra were also very good; it is really good for shooting in this country, we urge each other on,” he said.
“Ground two was my favourite: I just thought there were some good long targets there where you could get a good gap on the birds.
“This is the biggest shoot in Australia now; everybody wants to win this shoot.”
Chris Brown said he returned to shoot the National Carnival because everybody was talking about how good it was.
“A lot of people I know shot last year and hearing about how good it was I didn’t want to miss out, you always want to be a part of it when there’s 500-plus shooters coming,” he said.
Chris said while the wind bought luck into play, the scores reflected the quality and depth of the shooting ranks.
“It was just resilience; everybody had some good luck and some bad luck, it was just about keeping your head down and working with what you were presented,” he said.
“Blake Nankervis and Cameron Kivinen shot 96 and 95, that was crazy good shooting in that wind.”