Morden Coach Kevin NickelMorden Coach Kevin Nickel

The Manitoba Junior Rifle Provincial Competition took place in Morden Saturday with competitors from around the province gathering to compete and test their skills.  

Morden Coach Kevin Nickel explained the day. 

"Morden is hosting the Provincial Manitoba Junior Rifle Competition where we have clubs coming from all over Manitoba, all the as far as Thompson representing their local organizations. It's been many years since it's been here and during COVID our club had actually been shut down. So, this is our first year back and hosting the first year, so it's been a lot of work. We have one of the largest clubs here this year, so it's been awesome to see all the kids be around, do shooting and actually get involved with helping out as well." 

Nickel's team holding 22s at the rifle range

Nickel described the significance of the day. 

"Most of our clubs are rural towns and small cities such as Winkler and Morden. It's definitely a lifestyle. You see a lot of agriculture kids here that grow up with guns. They grow up hunting and things like that. So, it's a neat way for kids to not only get their Hunter Safety, but also learn the safety, the sportsmanship and shooting aspect of Junior Rifle. Which is our model, which is the three S's, Safety, Sportsmanship and Shooting."  

3 Competitors at the Rifle RangePlett, in the middle said of Safety, Sportsmanship and Shooting, shooting is his favourite part, because his family hunts and it's fun to be outdoors and to enjoy the wildlife.

Morden's beginner shooter, Connor Plett shared why he is in the program. 

"Almost all my family hunts, it's just fun to be outdoors and to enjoy the wildlife." 

He explained what the three S's mean to him.  

"You want to be safe around a gun, and you want to respect your other hunting members, and you need to shoot," he ended with a giggle.   

When asked which one is his favourite, he replied, "Probably the shooting part." 

Chairperson for the Manitoba Junior Rifle Club Committee Randy WalkerChairperson for the Manitoba Junior Rifle Club Committee Randy Walker

Chairperson for the Manitoba Junior Rifle Club Committee Randy Walker described the day. 

"We have a field trial portion. Where all of the kids go through a gate and a boat and a fence and some deadfall to simulate actually being out in the field hunting. They have a written exam that's made-up of 25 questions, which is part of the Hunter Safety. Then they do air rifle range for those that don't have 22s, some of them will shoot 22 and air rifle combined, but most of them will shoot 22."  

Nickel shared his story and connection to the club. 

"I've been here since I was a kid at 11 years old, so it's been 19 years now that I've been here and slowly just adopted into a role of instructing and and volunteering. And it's just a true passion that I have. I'd like to have my kids in here one day, so I'd like to see the club stay around. It's just a a great way for the kids to learn discipline, learn safety, and shoot firearms in a fun and safe way." 

The day ended with a banquet with top competitors recognized for their skills.