GRAFTON rifle shooter Tony Ryder thought he had reached the pinnacle when he made it to the Australian Championships at Wagga Wagga in March.
However, the Richmond River Gun Club member eclipsed that achievement with selection in a five-man team to represent Australia at the World Down The Line clay target championships in Wales in July.
The team was selected from the 50T single barrel, double barrel and 50T pointscore event.
He didn't win any of the events but managed to score 299 out of a possible 300 in the elimination shoot-off.
"It's always been a goal but I never thought it would happen," the 51-year-old said.
"It was my third time at the nationals and I thought making the Australian team was a bit out of my league.
"It's still sinking in, to be honest."
Ryder has been shooting competitively for six years and been a member of the Richmond River Gun Club in Lismore for three.
He attributes much of his latest success to the club.
"It's worth the drive (from Seelands, near Grafton)," Ryder said.
"I was a member at Grafton but I've had more support here.
"I can go there any time and do my own thing.
"There are a lot of good shooters at the (Richmond River) club and I couldn't have done it without them."
Ryder was thrilled just to make the prestigious McIntosh team, which is the top 25 placed shooters from the national titles.
He now looks ahead to preparing with his team for the world championships.
"I already know two of the guys in the team, so that helps," Ryder said.
"There will be a lot of good shooters from a few different countries but I think we can hold our own.
"We're going over a week early to watch the locals and see how they do it.
"Obviously it's different targets and different sorts of ammo, so we'll need to practise."
Ryder also plans to compete individually at British and European events while overseas.
Perched on sought after McAuleys Lane in the Byron Bay Hinterland with sweeping views over the surrounding countryside from Mount Chincogan to the Koonyum Range is...
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