Marksmen take to scenic hills

Ashley Pauna, of Adelaide, lines up a shot at Avalon Station, Cardrona, during the fourth annual...
Ashley Pauna, of Adelaide, lines up a shot at Avalon Station, Cardrona, during the fourth annual New Zealand Mountain Challenge. Photo: Sean Nugent
Skilful shooting with a backdrop of stunning scenery set the tone of the fourth annual New Zealand Mountain Challenge, held at Avalon Station, Cardrona, on Friday and Saturday.

The challenge, a long-range shooting competition with both individual and team events, attracted 70 sharpshooters from throughout New Zealand, as well as Australia and the United States.

They battled it out on the slopes of the Pisa Range, which provided postcard views of the Cardrona Valley from Wanaka to the Crown Range.

Organiser Rachael Jefferson said numbers had continued to grow over the years as word of the challenge spread.

``In year one [2015] we had 14 teams, 28 in year two, 31 last year, and 35 this year,'' she said.

``I think its that networking vibe. There are representatives from a lot of the top gunmakers ... they think it's very prestigious. We think we're a little hick thing but they come here to shoot their best.''

She praised Avalon Station owner and ``avid competitor'' Quentin Ross for his support of the challenge.

In Friday's individual event, competitors had three shots to hit a target at 1000 yards, (914m) without a spotter.

After a round robin and knockout rounds, American Mike Perkins came out the winner.

On Saturday, shooters split into pairs and battled it out on a seven-station course in the hills.

Each station had a different shooting position - prone, standing or sitting - over distances ranging from 340 yards (311m) to over 1100 yards (1005m).

Champions in 2017Scott Wilson and Patrick Drummond, of Gore, came up trumps again.

Mrs Jefferson said the challenge would be capped at a maximum of 40 teams in the future, due to the difficulty of getting everyone around the course in one day.

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