The Australian Rimfire Benchrest team will be heading for the 2016 World Rimfire Championships in Portugal next month with Norm Bardell as captain of the nine-man group. No surprises there, as 50-year-old Norm has been a consistent shooter down the years. What is a turn-up for the books is that one of Norm’s team-mates will be his 12-year-old son Caden. Both are SSAA members at Belmont, the impressive range in Brisbane, and the family lives literally “just down the road” from there.
The father-son combination will be part of the squad that will be going into action in Lisbon on the Jamor Shooting Range at the National Sports Centre from July 18 to 23. The nine-strong squad has high hopes of success and comprises: Norm Bardell (Captain, Qld), John Matthews (NSW), Stuart Elliott (Qld), Bill Simmons (Qld), Joy Harrison (NSW), Richard Powell (NSW), Richard Lightfoot (Vic), Caden Bardell (Qld) and Roy McCarthy (Qld). Travelling reserve is Peter Haberecht (Qld).
At the inaugural World Titles held in Volmerange les-Mines in France in 2014, the Australia Team A won the teams match, while the Australia B and C teams placed third and fourth respectively. Australia also won first, second, fourth and fifth places in the individual matches,. This is certainly quite a legacy for this year’s team to follow.
Listening to Norm discuss the coming tournament, his anticipation is palpable. “We are on our way, we are all booked!” he said. “Caden is excited, the team is excited and I am excited. In fact I’m proud as punch.”
Norm took time to work out who would be the next oldest person in the team set against Caden. After pondering for a while, he declared: “I reckon it might be me. I’m 50 so that’s a fair age gap.”
The team are travelling separately, with Norm and Caden not leaving until July 7. “Caden still has a bit on his plate education-wise before we go,” said Norm. “But after the shoot, I’m hoping to show him some of the historical things over there such as where Christopher Columbus is buried across in Spain and some of the other cool stuff.”
Norm then detailed how Caden made the rapid journey from rookie to international competitor. “I took him out on private properties shooting when he was young, mainly just to pick up on the safety aspects,” said Norm. “He was allowed to shoot at 11 and get his licence in Queensland but wouldn’t have been able to in New South Wales, where you can only gain your licence at 12...He has been shooting on the range since he was 11 as soon as he gained his licence. I just put some targets up at first and we went from there.”
Caden’s mum Maree also shoots and has a gun licence. “This again is mainly from the safety aspect because if you are going to be around firearms and gun ranges, it’s best to know what is going on,” said Norm.
Caden had to earn his place in the team for Portugal via the two National Championships at Brisbane in 2015 and this year in Coffs Harbour. He did well enough in Brisbane then blitzed the juniors this year and came seventh overall out of about 80 shooters. “I beat him by one mark,” said Norm. “I’m 50 now and my eyes are going so I won’t be able to compete with him soon. In about a year, I won’t be able to beat him.”
However, a year seems a long way away just yet as Norm, Caden and the rest of the squad focus their attention on bringing success to Australia on the world stage in July.