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Maccauw Gun Club, South Africa

Maccauw Gun Club is in Bloemfontein, capital of Orange Free State. The city is at the geographic centre of South Africa. Bloemfontein means 'floral fountain', named for its springs, and is also known as the 'City of Roses' because of the annual Rose Festival which has been held since 1976. The city was established in 1846 and has a population in excess of 300,000.

Maccauw Gun Club is one of the oldest shotgun clubs in South Africa, being established in 1960 when a well-known trap shooter of the Sandiacres Gun Club in Kimberley convinced a number of shotgunners from Bloemfontein that the sport had a future.
The twin brothers Van Tonder, founder members of the club, made a piece of land available to the north of Bloemfontein. The first DTL range was built and a tradition of shooting trap every Saturday - come rain or cold - was born. Soon membership grew along with the interest in other disciplines and Olympic trap and skeet ranges were added.
DTL shooters made up the bulk of the membership and the club became one of the most active trap clubs in the country. The club has produced numerous highly competitive provincial and national shooters in all disciplines over the years, the Saturday afternoon social shooting get-togethers remain the reason for the survival of the club through some very meagre years at the Tafelkop range. It was also during the period at the Tafelkop range that a change was made from DTL trap to ATA trap.

In the late 80s a far-sighted shooting enthusiast called Basie Human managed to persuade the Bloemfontein City Council to develop and fund a shooting centre. The council purchased a property called "Paradys" 20 klms south of Bloemfontein and motivated the various shooting clubs to move their ranges to this central point. Disciplines include clay target, pistol, small bore and silhouette. Each individual club has its own clubhouse, plus a large well-equipped central club building.
Situated in the "Highveld" where weather conditions are hot and dry with little wind, shooting conditions are ideal.The surrounding countryside is flat and targets are thrown against a uniform background.

Maccauw Gun Club has superb facilities in the central club building and can accomodate large numbers of people. The clubhouse has a large well-equipped kitchen preparing everything from snacks to full meals. Apart from a nice bar and huge hall, there are admin offices and toilets of the highest standard and a walk-in safe. The club's facilities include four trap ranges, a practice range, two trench ranges equipped for Universal and Olympic, two skeet ranges and an assortment of sporting ranges, making it the best-equipped club in South Africa. An additional two trap ranges are supimposed on the skeet ranges. Western Flyer traps are used on the trap ranges and an assortment of stack machines on the others.

Membership stands at about 70 and this number has been constant over several years. However an upswing in membership is anticipated as new stringent South African gun legislation starts to take effect. As has happened in Australia, gun owners will need to belong to a club to justify owning a firearm.
The most popular discipline at the club is trap and although they still officially shoot ATA, there is a growing trend towards DTL. A variety of shotguns are used, the most popular being Beretta, followed by Perazzi and Browning. Local ammo has become extremely expensive so most shooters now prefer imported shells such as Clever Mirage. Monthly competitions are held in all disciplines. On the National calendar the club annually hosts a "Provincial Open" and "Provincial Closed".

Maccauw members have returned very good results over the years and many members have achieved Provincial and National colours. In trap Maccauw boasts 3 of the present top 5 shooters in South Africa. Malcolm McClelland was South African team captain at the ATA World Championships in 1999. Member Harry Papa is a current National Olympic Doubles member and shot in Cyprus, Egypt and the UK in 2001, as well as earning National colours in trap in 2000. The Bornman family are high achievers - Dad Neels has represented South Africa in trench, including an Olympics and many world shoots. Sons Neelsie and Cornel have both excelled - Neelsie at Trench like Dad and Cornel at Sporting. All have Free State Provincial colours and all three have been in the Free State team for several years. Two members of the club have qualified in the South African team of 5 for the 2002 World DTL Championships in Christchurch - Malcolm McClelland and Jaques Gous.

Maccauw Gun Club is the club which introduced the "African Grand", an annual festival of trap shooting which welcomes overseas shooters. Held in mid June, the winter days are clear and crisp, with cold evenings. The first African Grand was held in 2000 and the club enjoyed the company of a New Zealand shooter and a great bunch of guys from Ireland, who had so much fun they returned in 2001. The good exchange rate against the Rand was another incentive. They were joined in 2001 by John and Yvonne Maxwell (Maryborough CTC) who were set to return in 2002, but unfortunately John's commitment to the Australian Trap Team prevented that. Australia was represented by Chris Harrison from Caboolture CTC, Tim Catling from WA and Trevor Rieske from SA. There were also shooters from Ireland, Wales and the USA - a total of 91 shooters. The dates for the next African Grand are June 13 to 16 2003. Chris Harrison says he has never had such a good time and will certainly be there.
Maccauw Gun Club extends an invitation to all shooters who want to experience an excellent shoot in ideal conditions - come to the African Grand!

(Maccauw shot e-Shoot 2002 on a bitterly cold July day. For some members it was their first time shooting DTL so the club did well to achieve 5th place. Congratulations to Malcolm McClelland who almost made it into 'The 150 Club' with his score of 149. - Ed)

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