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Brooklyn Neumann recently won the New Zealand women’s secondary school single rise. The Northern Southland College pupil also came second in the South Island girls’ single barrel competition and made the regional team that came second overall in New Zealand.
Not bad for a young woman who was nearly dropped from the team because she fell off her horse in February, broke her ankle and had to wear a moon boot.
"I had emergency surgery and was in a cast, non-weight-bearing, for 12 weeks. That was hard mentally and physically. This is because I was unable to do the things that I love."
This included riding her horse; she rides in summer and shoots in winter, so the two sports were quite easy to balance, she said.
"Luckily, most of the time I was in my cast it was lockdown, so I didn’t miss out on very much.
"When I started clay bird shooting again I had just got into my moon boot. This made it very hard to move between the stands and I was unable to balance very well because of the shape of the moon boot.
"The teacher in charge wasn’t sure if I could compete and was thinking about replacing me in the team, but my cousin Patrick, who is also a member of the team, suggested that he give me a chance. Luckily, I was out of it before I started competing."
Brooklyn had some extra coaching this year and went to a few more competitions than usual to make sure she had a fighting chance at the New Zealand champs.
"I have to thank my dad for this because he is the one who organised everything and took me to it all. He is very supportive and likes to give me as many opportunities as possible.
"My mum is my biggest fan. I have to thank the team at the Balfour Gun Club, especially Gary Hoffman and Dave Baker. They give up a lot of time to support me and all the other young shooters having a go."
The plucky year 12 lass is off a farm near Mossburn in Northern Southland, and has two older brothers, Doug and Ben.
"I have been around shooting my entire life. This is because my brother Ben does smallbore shooting and he also did clay bird shooting when he was at the college."
He had also been in the New Zealand junior smallbore team and was the South Island open champion at the moment.
"Due to Covid, smallbore rifle shooting had a very short season and all of the big competitions were cancelled, so I was unable to do very much with that, but I did get my first 100 this year."
The family got into shooting clubs to learn about gun safety and discipline.
"My earliest shooting memory is when my brother and dad got me out with my cousin Patrick shooting targets with the slug gun. I think I was about 6 maybe.
"I like shooting because it has a very supportive community. And everyone, including my team, realises that everyone has bad days."
Her goals for shooting were to carry on enjoying the sport and improving.
"I consider myself to be quietly competitive and determined. I like winning but if someone has a better day, then good on them."
After finishing high school, she was thinking about studying law and then going to Cambridge to work with horses.