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Young gun blasting away with the big boys

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11 year-old Bryan Muller from Douglas has been selected to represent his province in the 39th Annual Clay Target Shooting Association of South Africa Chairman’s Cup.

11 year-old Bryan Muller (right) seen here with his father Stefan, will be representing his province in the 39th Annual Clay Target Shooting Association of South Africa Chairman’s Cup. Picture: Supplied

IN ANY sport, earning your provincial colours is a significant accomplishment that you can be proud of. It is something that will make all your effort, practice time, and hard work worthwhile. However, when you manage to get your provincial colours at age 11, it’s much more significant.

This is the case for Bryan Muller from Douglas in the Northern Cape after he was selected to represent his province in the 39th Annual Clay Target Shooting Association of South Africa Chairman’s Cup.

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The DFA had a quick chat with Bryan regarding his accomplishments and where it all started.

Since he can remember, Bryan claims that he has always accompanied his father to go hunting, fishing, and shooting waterfowl. “This is where my passion for the outdoors began; spending the day outside with my dad was the finest, and it still is,” Bryan said. “My dad started clay target shooting around five years ago, and not long after that I fired his shotgun a few times,” he added.

Young Bryan Muller will be representing his province in the 39th Annual Clay Target Shooting Association of South Africa Chairman’s Cup. Picture: Supplied

“My dad must have seen the potential in me because we started practising a lot. We practised at least once a week and every Saturday of the week, and with every practice session, I got better at shooting the clay targets. We now try to go to practice once or twice a month, because apparently bullets are expensive, or so my dad says.

“I wouldn’t really know; I just aim and fire.”

Bryan says that he is just mildly anxious about the approaching event.

“The older relatives at the club usually have nothing but positive things to say to me, and I truly like shooting with them. It would mean a lot to me and my squad if the Northern Cape team won this year, but most of all, I simply want to enjoy it,” he explained.

When asked if he would continue clay target shooting for many years, Bryan responded that, while he enjoyed many other activities as well, he would like to continue for a very long time. “When we have to travel (for competitions), I visit so many new sites in South Africa, and I also meet so many new people.”

Bryan said that his mother, Lucille Muller, is his rock and his biggest supporter at all his events. “My mom is the one who is always with me at competitions. She carries my ammunition and attends to all my needs while I am there.

“Because my father and I don’t shoot the same events, she is the one taking photos, carrying water bottles, and cheering from the back. Through all the happy moments and the sad ones, she is always there to lend a hand or a shoulder. I would not be able to do this without all her help, and for that I am very thankful,” Bryan said.

Stefan Muller, Bryan’s dad, says that every time Bryan enters the shooting range, he is amazed. “I am very proud of him for all that he has accomplished, but his discipline is what makes me most pleased.” Bryan’s father says that his son’s composure is admirable. “You can’t lose your (temper) or weep out there in clay pigeon shooting because you are warned very soon by the officials,” Muller explained.

Stefan continued, saying that he is very proud of how Bryan handles every competition, and every time his son shoots, he can see how he grows; even when he shoots two clays and misses, he walks off with a smile on his face.

“The ability to shoot for your nation and don the green and gold should ultimately be your objective,” Stefan told the DFA. “I’d like to think that one day he and I will go shooting for our nation together. The unpleasant part is that because this is not a professional sport, the shooter is responsible for covering all costs. Unlike rugby and other sports, we are not paid for the work we do.

“Even if you are your nation’s best shooter, you cannot support yourself in this way.”

Stefan noted that because they shoot separate events on competition days, they sometimes don’t even see one another. However, Bryan engages with the older guys on the range and can talk for hours, which helps him establish new acquaintances.

“One good thing about this sport is that it helps you grow as a person, and I can see what it’s doing for Bryan,” said Stefan.

A little history of the Northern Cape Clay Target Shooting Association

Shotgun shooting has a long history in the Northern Cape, dating back to the earliest live pigeon shoots at Kenilworth in the late 1800s and the formation of the first clay target club, the Riverside Gun Club, by Mr Gerald Potgieter and his sons, Peter and Derek, near Ulco in December 1958.

With Hayden Potgieter, Gerald’s great-grandson, playing for the Northern Cape side today, the family connection to the sport continues. On the estate Droogefontein, owned by Mr Paddy Herbert, the second Clay Target Club, Sandiacres, was established in 1960. The De Beers Gun Club was established on April 30, 1972.

In the 1980s, Sandiacres was combined with the De Beers Gun Club, and in 2019, it changed its name to the Kimberley Clay Target Club.

Bryan is seen with his father, Stefan Muller. Picture: Supplied

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