By Shelby Brooks
A PASSIONATE member of the Korumburra Gun Club has his eyes set on the Paralympics.
Jeremy Buerfeind, 33, has been shooting with the club since late 2018.
After damaging tendons in his left arm, doctors told him to re-evaluate his competitive rodeo aspirations.
Jeremy has Cerebral Palsy which affects the right-hand side of his body, so potential further damage to his left arm would be disastrous.
“I needed something else to plough myself into,” Jeremy said.
“I’m a physical person so shooting fulfilled my desire to compete and keeps me outside – an inside person is not me.
“But at the start I thought there is no way I’ll be able to do this,” Jeremy said.
Club president Scott Gratten and other club members put their heads together to work out a way for Jeremy to succeed at clay target shooting.
Jeremy uses lighter ammunition to reduce the recall and has an open shot clock rather than the standard 10 seconds.
“Everything I do takes longer,” Jeremy said.
“I grew up wanting to play footy and cricket but often was turned down because organisations thought I’d slow everyone else down.
“But no-one cares if it takes me a minute longer [at the club].”
Before COVID-19 restrictions, Jeremy was competing on weekends with the club in the same class as everyone else.
“I’m not viewed as different at all – or as a disabled shooter”, Jeremy said.
“I like that I’m not in a class where disability is considered.”
Used to modifying his everyday life, Jeremy said it was refreshing to not have to change much to be a successful shooter.
“I realised with shooting, I could make it fit for me and my situation and limitations,” he said.
“[The club] has bent over backwards which is not unheard of but it’s still quite rare these days especially for an entire organisation.”
The support of Scott and the rest of the club for Jeremy to take the sport as far as he can has been phenomenal, Jeremy said.
Korumburra Gun Club has members who range in age, backgrounds, nationalities, abilities and genders.
There are even a few shooters who are nearly in their 80s.
“That is what is quite special about shooting as a sport,” Jeremy said.
“Shooting saved me a lot emotionally, mentally and gave me focus and friends.
“Korumburra Gun Club has been a safe place for me to go when feeling down.”
Jeremy is now a committee member and runs Wednesday night trainings.
He enjoys teaching new shooters what he was taught in his early shooting days.
“It’s great to give back to the club that has given me so much,” Jeremy said.
“I’ve got a long way to go but I love it.”