LONG ASSOCIATION: For 55 years Ron Sonego has been an integral part of the gun club at Ballandean.
LONG ASSOCIATION: For 55 years Ron Sonego has been an integral part of the gun club at Ballandean. Matthew Purcell

Straight-shooting Ron

THE gun club at Ballandean has been operational for 57 years, Ron Sonego has been an ever-present face at the club and recently celebrated a 55 year association.

A glass door cabinet sits in Ron's dining room. Pride of place in that cabinet is a trophy haul that spans decades.

He still recalls past shoots, scores he achieved, records he broke.

The Ballandean Clay Target Club and Ron have had a happy association for over half a century and he couldn't be prouder.

"I was born in Stanthorpe, lived at a family farm in Pozieres along the rabbit fence,” he said.

"From an early age I'd always been keen on hunting and shooting. When I was old enough to be responsible to handle a firearm dad bought a .22 rifle for my brother and I to shoot rabbits and ducks.”

There began his affinity for shooting.

"In those days he did it to feed his family, later it grew into more of a hobby.

Rabbit with spaghetti became a favourite.

"All these migrant ladies were pretty handy.

"Going through the war years you needed to be pretty efficient,” he said.

It was through readings of the Border Post that gun clubs articles caught Ron's eye.

"In November 1961 a close friend of mine and I were invited by the Ballandean Gun Club's founding president, the late A.H (Chub) Smith, to the club's Christmas shoot.

"The enthusiasm of that day convinced us both to join.”

He's attended shoots right around Queensland and NSW, competed at National Titles, shared squads with Olympic gold medalist Michael Diamond, represented south-east Queensland and won a slew of awards along the way.

"I was elected president of the (Ballandean) club in 1984 and served until 2000. In 1990 I was awarded life membership of the club,” two things that almost tear up Mr Sonego with pride.

He's one of only three men to serve as president at the club; Chub Smith before him and George Costanzo succeeding him.

He was married to his childhood sweetheart in 1963 and Pierina and the rest of his family have supported his endeavours throughout the years.

"It's been a great chapter and journey in my life and I've made many, many lifetime friends ... through my chosen sport,” Ron