Master's event big draw card for social players

By Simon Waters

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ARCHERS READY: Archers prepare to shoot their arrows at the 2013 master's games.
ARCHERS READY: Archers prepare to shoot their arrows at the 2013 master's games.

There aren't many sports you can play in a superman costume.

But that's the thing with Twilight 400, it's not meant to be taken too seriously.

Despite being one of the lesser-known sports at this year's New Zealand Master's Games, entries are flowing in thick and fast.

Registration manager Fiona Pickering says one of the two competitions is almost full and the other is filling steadily.

"Anyone thinking of entering probably should do so fairly quickly," Ms Pickering said. "Numbers are limited to 100 per competition."

Twilight 400 is four sports rolled into one - small bore rifle shooting, archery, target bowls, and darts.

No experience is needed. Competitors are bussed to each venue and receive training on the night if they need it. All equipment is supplied. Games start at 5pm and go through to around 8.30pm - 9pm.

The only things that competitors need to bring is an appetite for fun, good humour and, optionally, a period costume.

"There's a theme, Twilight Throwbacks. We encourage people taking part to express their yesteryear personality," Ms Pickering said.

She suggested sport uniforms from school days, or a 70s era celebrity lookalike, or perhaps pyjamas and a teddy bear. "Last time the theme was Kiwiana and somebody wore a dress made from jandals. Some people get really creative."

There's a prize for best costume, but Ms Pickering stresses dressing up is optional.

Twilight 400 is split into two competitions of 100 competitors each. The first competition is held on Tuesday-Wednesday with prizegiving at the Games Village on Wednesday night. The second competition is held over Thursday-Friday, followed by prizegiving.

Three hostesses from the Master's Games held in Dunedin are making their way to Whanganui and will provide host duties on board the venue buses. Small bore shooting is held at Okoia, darts at the Wanganui Darts League hall in Heads Rd, archery at Wembley Park and target bowls at the Wanganui Bowling Club.

Ms Pickering said none of the four sports are difficult to play. Target bowls is like lawn bowls only instead of a kitty, a bullseye-like target is used. The closer you get your bowl to the centre, the more points scored.

Archery might look the hardest of the four, but Ian Holland from the Wanganui Archery Club said everything was set-up to make it as easy, and as safe, as possible.

"People under-estimate the physicality of archery. It can take weeks to build the strength needed to pull the bow back properly."

But that won't be a problem for the Twlight 400 competition. Lighter, beginner's bows, will be used.

"We'll run them through the basics and they'll be pretty close to the targets - 10 metres."
Competitions across all four sports are divided into age categories starting at 35-plus to 70-plus. Team entries are also accepted.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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