Ian ‘Bluey’ Noll had been dreaming of hoisting the trophy at a Queen’s Prize shooting event for 50 years, but on Sunday, May 6 that dream became a reality.
Bluey shot a grand aggregate of 688.64 on his way to glory in the A Grade category of the 2018 South Australian Rifle Association Queen’s Prize held in Adelaide.
Competing against more than 130 of the best shooters from across the country, Bluey steadied his nerve to win his first Queen’s Prize – something he had wanted to do since he began shooting in 1968 at 14 years of age.
Bluey said the triumph is something he will remember for all his life.
“I’ve won some other big shoots, but the bucket list ticking off was always going to be a Queen’s Prize,” he said.
“The Queen’s Prize has been around since it was established in the 1860s, so it has always been a big deal.”
As a teenager, Bluey marked the targets for the Port Augusta Rifle Club for pocket money when his father would go shooting on weekends.
From there, Noll began to have a shot, soon becoming a member of the state team and competing nationwide.
Still part of the state team, Bluey travels to Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory each year for their Queen’s Series events.
... The bucket list ticking off was always going to be a Queen’s Prize.Shooting champion Ian Noll
But winning his maiden Queen’s Prize in his home state in front of his loved ones made it all the more sweeter.
“All my friends and family were there to see the momentous occasion and it has been an absolutely terrific week so far since the shoot,” Bluey said.
Always competitive on the big stage, Bluey has come close to Queen’s Prize success in the past, finishing fourth in the 2017 SA event.
With glory in his sights on the final day of the event, the veteran shooter said the nerves started to kick in.
But Bluey was ice cold under pressure, nailing a perfect score from the 1000 yard range in the final round of shooting.
“That was the thing that carried me over the finish line, that I didn’t drop any points on the last range,” he explained.
“After I shot the last score and realised I had a good chance of winning, the adrenaline began to kick in.”
As tradition dictates, Bluey was chaired off by his peers, before being presented with the trophy by Governor of South Australia Hieu Van Le.
With his first Queen’s Prize finally ticked off, Bluey has his sights firmly set on backing up his success.
“It took 50 years to win the first Queens, so I hope it doesn’t take that long to win my second,” he laughed.