THE best marksmen in the country are descending on Griffith for one of the most prestigious competitions in Australia with the Casella Open Shoot set to showcase the best the sport has to offer.
With around 250 shooters tackling the layout at the Griffith Gun Club, all will have their eyes on the rich prize pool, with $50,000 up for grabs across the weekend making it the most lucrative in NSW.
Griffith Gun Club vice president John Pope said a small army of volunteers were busy preparing for one of the biggest sporting competitions on the city's calendar, which is set to feature an exiting new event.
"We've got some of the best shots in Australia coming here and this Friday we're having a round actually under lights," Pope said.
"In the past when the shoot has gone on too long we have had to put it under lights, but this year we're having the special event starting it at night as a warm-up to the weekend's event."
Asked by The Area News if shooting at night was as difficult as it sounds, Pope said the very best still blast the targets with relative ease despite having their visibility reduced.
"It's going to be very spectacular to have it all under lights," he said.
"Shooting out in the daylight, you have perspective of where the clay target's going, but at night it's going out into infinity with a light shining just on it.
"So it's that much more difficult to shoot at night, but it doesn't make that much of a difference to the top guys, they shoot them just the same."
Former Olympic and national champions, along with local hopes, will use the Friday night session to hone their eye in for the weekend's event, with favourable conditions expected with winds of a high of just 13km/h predicted.
Corowa's James Willett defied the blustery conditions last year to claim the high gun trophy with 230/235 targets hit and he is tipped to travel to Griffith to defend his title.
Griffith claimed a local winner in the AA high gun award last year with Glen Castellaro hitting 229/235 targets, and he is again a very good chance to win his home event.
Pope said the event was a massive coup for the local tourist industry, and added it could not be held without the dedicated work of many behind the scenes.
"We have a special two-day committee that runs this shoot and they do a fantastic job because it is daunting and there is a lot of work for it," Pope said.
"The gun club does the day to day running of the club, but these people step up to the plate and take on this two-day shoot and they're fantastic because they have done this for the past 10 years."