Bates on target for shooting win

Burnham dairy farmer Martin Bates, left, won New Zealand Young Farmers Tasman clay target shooting competition last weekend after a three year absence from the sport.

Burnham dairy farmer Martin Bates admits he is a “bit rusty” when it comes to the heart-pumping challenge of clay target shooting.

But that didn’t stop the 29-year-old from taking out the New Zealand Young Farmers Tasman clay target shooting competition a fortnight ago.

“It was great to blow out a few cobwebs,” he said.

“Coming away with a win was a bit of a shock to the system,” he said.

“It’s probably been about three years since I last swung a gun at a few clay targets.”

The win advances Martin through to the national final at the New Zealand Young Farmers competitions which will take place at Christchurch in February.

“I reckon the changes are a good thing,” said Martin, who milks 1200 cows under contract at Burnham and is a member of Dunsandel Young Farmers.

Previously those events were held alongside the FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand final.

“It meant that if you were competing you didn’t get to see much of grand final. Now people can attend both events,” he said.

He said the Tasman shoot was a great way to spend a weekend.

“We had a great turnout for the shooting,” Bates said.

“There was a nice mix of experienced sports shooters as well as first-timers who were keen to have a go and learn.”