MILDURA clay target shooter Nathan Argiro is used to shooting with the best of the best.

So when he lines up against Olympians Penny Smith and Thomas Grice, who both competed at Toyko, this weekend at the Mildura Clay Target Gun Club event, it will be nothing unusual.

Argiro is a former World Champion and his introduction to the sport came through family.

“I grew up shooting the air rifle as young boy and loved it,” Argiro explained

“I’d shoot milk bottles all day long.

“Eventually, we got into clays, targets and shotgun shooting with my cousins and uncles.”

It’s unlikely Argiro would have fathomed becoming not only a champion at his discipline, but representing his country as well, from such humble beginnings. In fact, it was something he’d only ever dreamed of.

“My biggest achievement personally was earning my green and gold jacket with the A4G Kangaroo,” Argiro said.

“I always wanted to represent Australia in shooting and I finally got the chance when I made the team in 2016 and I’ve been on it ever since.

“I was also fortunate enough to win two world championships back to back in 2018 for Universal Trap and ISSF Trap.”

Along with being a champion of the sport, Argiro has also made a business out of clay target shooting – StayOn Target.

Through his business he offers one on one coaching or small group sessions, corporate events and parties.

He started his business during COVID and because of that it has been a slow start, but Argiro said things are looking up heading into December and 2022.

Back to competition, Argiro said he loves both the social aspect of the sport, as well as all the travelling it involves.

“Clay shooting has taken me all across Australia and many parts of the world,” he said.

“There is so many places I’ve been to and even more places that I want to go to as well!

“One other thing that’s awesome in our sport is that you can be a complete novice of the sport and still compete side by side next to an Olympic champion.

“My first nationals in 2015 I shot beside Adam Vella who had just won Commonwealth Games gold a few months prior to the event.”

Argiro said he prefers the ISSF Trap (Olympic Trap) and Universal Trap disciplines because of the challenge.

“I also enjoy DTL shooting which is the main event shot in Australia,” he added.

“Every once a while I don’t mind a round or two of sporting clays or simulated field shooting (Field and Game).”

While Argiro look up to the likes of Australian greats – Adam Vella, John Maxwell, Michael Diamond and Russell Mark – he’s also found inspiration closer to home.

“My father, Darren, and coach/cousin Don Molina,” Argiro said.

“They have been with me through the highs and lows of my career and I can’t thank them enough for being there with me.”

With an aim to always do the best he can and enjoy the journey, Argiro is heading into the weekend feeling good.

He said it’s the first time Mildura has held a major ISSF Trap event in a long time, and being his home club he is looking forward to catching up with friends he hasn’t seen in some time.

He’s also looking forward to getting their thoughts on the new range and shot curtain.

As for who he is predicting to be the best performers on the weekend, Argiro said it’s hard to decide.

“It comes down to the actual day of competition,” he said

“Anyone has the ability to and chance to perform well.

“I do believe that our competitors will all shoot well this coming weekend.”

The real winner from the weekend could very well be the Mildura Clay Target Gun Club though, with the group set to showcase their curtain to not only a number high calibre shooters, but also bumper nominations as well.

“It’s a massive deal,” Argiro said of the nomination numbers.

“It shows that people do want to travel to our club and wonderful town and take advantage of our updated range which is fantastic in my opinion.”

By ZOEY ANDREWS