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Shooting blanks

Chesterfield Inlet Junior Canadian Rangers frustrated by guns failing to arrive at national marksmanship event
The five Chesterfield Inlet Junior Canadian Rangers on the shooting team, from left, Hector Mullins, Paige Sammurtok-Amarok, Kayalaaq Leishman-Brocklebank, Ivalu Leishman-Brocklebank, Austin Mullins and escort James Mullins, were denied a fair chance at the National Marksmanship Competition when their pellet guns didn't arrive with them at St. John's, Nfld, on May 17.

It was a frustrating time for the Junior Canadian Rangers (JCR) from Chesterfield Inlet who competed at the National Marksmanship Competition from May 17-19 in St. John's, Nfld.

The Junior Rangers program was launched in the community in 2002.

Ranger instructor Cpl. Glen Brocklebank joined the program in 2003 and has been with the patrol since that time.

The five-person team representing Chesterfield Inlet at the 2024 event included two JCR returning from the 2023 competition, Kayalaaq Leishman-Brocklebank and Austin Mullins, with Ivalu Leishman-Brocklebank, Paige Sammurtok-Amarok and Hector Mullins being new to the team.

Brocklebank said the JCR have to qualify for the shooting team each year, and then compete at a regional event before heading to the national competition. In 2024, Chester finished in first place for Nunavut and third overall among the teams representing the three territories.

He said there were 30 youth signed up for the Chester patrol this year, ranging in age from 12 to 18.

This was the strongest team we were ever able to send to the national event and when our JCR arrived in St. John's they found out that their pellet rifles did not,” said Brocklebank.

We've had troubles in the past getting our pellet rifles to where they had to go, so we had to stop practising on April 24 to ship them cargo to St. John's and they didn't make it anyway.

The team from Pangnirtung got weathered out, so the plan was to use their guns but they didn't make it either, so they ended up using spare guns that weren't in the best of shape.

Four of the five ended up having problems. Our top shooter was given a pellet gun with the barrel being a little bent. Then she got a good one, got it sighted-in and then, when it came time for the competition, it stopped working.”

Brocklebank said the competition was a frustrating experience for the junior Rangers from Chesterfield Inlet.

He said it was disappointing that the Chester kids weren't able to perform at their best at the national competition.

It reached the point where their escort, James Mullins, told them they know they could perform better with their own guns, so forget about it and just concentrate on having fun.

They were really going to compete for a top-three placing at this year's competition, so it really was disappointing.

They still had a good time, but what they went for didn't materialize.”


About the Author: Darrell Greer, Local Journalism Initiative

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