Waipukurau smallbore ace Chris Harrison is making a name for himself on the national scene but, with his sport excluded from the next Commonwealth Games, he's pondering his shooting future.
"I like to shoot and aim for the top," Harrison, 34, told the Dannevirke News after he came second to Commonwealth Games and Olympics shooter Ryan Taylor, of Levin, at the recent North Island teams of 10 competition, one of the biggest events of the year.
Competing in the Southern Hawke's Bay team, which came a credible eighth in the event, Harrison was shooting with a rifle he had been using for just two weeks.
"I shot 397, with 27 inners (in the bullseye circle), so I'm pleased," Harrison said.
Now aiming for the North Island team, Harrison, who made the New Zealand team last year, wants to achieve the same result this year. But with his sport not part of the next Commonwealth Games, Harrison is disappointed.
"It's a huge shame when you are striving towards that goal," he said. "I continue to try to beat Taylor, but, with a wife and two boys at home, I've other commitments too, so I'm at the crossroads in this sport."
Harrison, a builder, conceded while it would be nice to keep going in the sport, the time and expense made it difficult.
Another member of the SHB team who scored exceptionally well at the North Island teams of 10 competition was Greg Bengston, 19, like Harrison, a builder.
Bengston, who works for Rankin Building in Pahiatua, shot an impressive 213, from a possible 220.
"I'm pretty chuffed," he said. "I've been hunting all my life but just started competitively shooting halfway through last year."
Bengston joined the Dannevirke Smallbore Rifle Club because he realised he was "a half-way decent shooter and it was an opportunity for a good social life".
Bengston said patience and knowing when not to pull the trigger, as opposed to when to pull the trigger, combined with a lot of practice sessions were the keys to his success.
"I'm aiming to make the North Island team and hopefully represent New Zealand after that," he said. "What I love about the sport is that it's a family thing."
Ruth McNair, of the Dannevirke Smallbore Club, said the success of the SHB team and especially its two top shooters, was "awesome".
With 26 club members - the highest in its history - as well as another 18 high school and junior shooters, the club is very strong.
"There were teams from all North Island associations at the recent competition and, while SHB has always been in the bottom previously, to make eighth place shows the calibre of our shooters," she said.