Road to the Words: One on one with World Field Target Championship organiser Rob Farnworth
17 July 2019 | Air Arms
How does it feel that England are hosting the 2019 World Field Target Championship?
In short, just amazing! In 4 decades we've gone from the sport's humble beginnings of a few people around the back of a pub, a couple of paper targets and some haybales to a 6 figure truly international event attracting 450 shooters from nearly 40 countries from all 4 corners of the globe. There's also a sense of great pride that goes with being involved in this as a sport and event.
What are your looking forward to most about this year's Championship?
Everything. At the competition level we're looking forward to seeing the best shooters in the world go at it over 3 days. Will we put an Englishmen in the top positions, will the Welsh strike again, or will we see another country or competitor from abroad raise the bar again? Whatever happens there'll be some superb shooting. On the social level it will be great to catch up with friends across the globe we've gained over years of competition.
Haha! Again everything! The scale of the event means that we've had to solve problems that we would never encounter even on our biggest national shoots. You know that phrase "you don't know what you don't know?" It comes up quite often. Nearly every single aspect of this shoot is on a scale that most couldn't imagine, which in returns creates a number of challenges.
The big milestone was finding the right venue. Finding somewhere that we can get a work team into, that can put 600 people under one roof with food and would let us build 3 world class courses with a huge practice range and weatherproof car parking for several hundred cars all within a reasonable budget was no mean feat. Beyond that the logistics of the shoot and the organisation of several hundred people have presented unique challenges that required solutions on time and in budget. We’ve even built a bespoke IT system to handle the event. But, we've had a great team working on this, and some super support from our trade partners, and it's cliché to say it but we really couldn't have done it without them and while it’s been a colossal amount of work there’s been some really nice moments along the way.
Why was England chosen to host this year?
It was simply our turn. Each country gets placed on the bottom of the hosting list as they join the federation. Each year the next country is invited to host, they can accept, defer for a year or decline. We last hosted in 2005 but the sport has exploded since then so it’s taken some time to come back to us. There’s been 13 other hosts. But, based upon the fact there’s now over 40 countries who are members it could be much longer before we see it home again.
What can competitors expect from the competition?
The Worlds is the pinnacle event of Field Target. We'll start with an opening ceremony, then follow with a day’s practice on a huge practice range. Alongside we'll have trade stands and other related side shoots, and we'll also be running training courses for marshals and course builders visiting from abroad.
After each day you can relax in the venue’s restaurant and bar before retiring to get some rest for the next 3 days of competition. That's when the serious stuff starts, each day sees a different 50 shot course for each competitor, designed to test every shooter, on every shot. All the courses will have full spectator access as well. If the courses haven't separated the best from the rest then we'll have the shoot-offs, which we’ll be able to watch right in front of the bar’s veranda on the last evening. When all that's done, on the last day, we'll have the awards and closing ceremony meal for all the competitors, their partners and VIP's. It's almost a week-long event.
How will the 2019 Championship be different from previous years?
Probably the biggest difference will be it's scale. Germany and Wales in the past both exceeded 300 competitors, but we've taken it to the maximum we think possible for the event and have 450 competitors booked in. In reality we had to do this due of the enormous demand on places. For our native shooters it’s seen a chance to compete at the top without traveling abroad. For our visiting shooters the event has been treated almost like a pilgrimage to visit the birthplace of the sport. It’s going to be quite special for everyone there.
For more information about the World Field Target Federation, please click here: http://www.world-field-target-federation.com
For more information about the 2019 World Field Target Championship, please click here: https://wftc2019.com