One of may favourite parts of the Midland Game Fair is Sunday afternoon. In some ways it’s a little bit sad because everyone is soon to go home, and then it’s all done for another year. But just before the mass exodus, I get to experience a host of celebrations marking the culmination of many years work, and in some cases, life changing moments.
Of course I’m talking about the multitude of prize givings and presentations that form the core of my weekends work. The Midland Game Fair is home to the Worlds’ leading portfolio of country sports championship Grand Finals, and I’m there at every one I can manage.
Every year we try and change things around to keep them fresh and exciting, but sometimes it works out all by itself. The Grand Finals of the World series Clay Shooting and Gundog Championships not only provided nail biting climaxes, but also rewarded their winners with brand new 4x4s worth tens of thousands of pounds. The Countryman’s Weekly Terrier & Lurcher Champion of Champions carries with it prestige that rewards owners with stud fees in the thousands.
However, there’s one championship that not only provides a substantial financial award, but also a level of appreciation from competitors and their peers that I have rarely seen in my shooting career. I’m talking about the European Field Target Championships. There’s not the ‘razzmatazz’ of clay shooting or the or spectacle of highly trained canines, but there’s probably some of the finest marksmanship of any shooting discipline in the world.
This year, our deserving Champion was a great mate of mine, and one of the nicest guys you could hope to meet – Welsh master Dorian Falconer. Although he hasn’t had the best of seasons, what with work commitments and early season rifle trouble, Dorian always steps up for the big comps, and this weekend he did exactly that.
Unfortunately he won’t be making the World Championships in Hungary this October as he’s taking his family to Australia for a well deserved holiday. There’ll be a few sighs of relief at that, but I for one will miss his company. Thankfully, I’ll finish one place higher now!