MANCHESTER >> While shooters are usually found trekking through the powder in snow shoes, this year was the first year the Southern Vermont Primitive Biathlon ran without the accompanying winter weather.
The event held on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. is a timed run and walk through wooded trails and participants stop along the way to shoot at designated targets to compete for accuracy. Participants also raced to win shooting accessory door prizes and a raffle for a new CVA Optima .50 Caliber Inline Muzzleloader, made possible by the Manchester Rod & Gun Club and The Reel Angler.
Eric Severance hosts the event on his father's property and used to participate as well. His favorite part is giving away the door prizes because it "raises happiness." Most of the prizes were donated by a range of sponsors.
Proceeds from the biathlon benefit the gun club's youth conservation camp scholarship fund and gun range reconstruction project. To date, the event has raised over $18,500 and $2,500 during last year's.
About half of the participants on both days dressed in 18th century attire holding guns from that time period.
One who played the part, Steve Halford of South Wallingford, used a matchlock gun which holds a slow burning match in a clamp which eventually is dropped into the flash pan to ignite the priming powder, according to thefirearms.guide.
Other shooters, such as Adam Harte from Littleton, Mass., used a more modern piece of a machinery he received as a gift from his grandmother for Christmas. This was Harte's third year competing in the biathlon.
"My score was better yesterday so I chose to keep that," he said. "I just had a feeling I would do worse the second time."
In order to win, shooters must get the best time and score. Those who partake both days must choose their best score, but have to decide which one to take before continuing onto the second day, Harte said.
On the course there are nine total designated stops and the participant must shoot three times, hit or miss. Shooters are also placed into one of categories, based on the choice of gun.
For more information on the sport and to see last year's results, visit http://www.svtpb.org/.
— Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.