Primative biathlon features snowshoes, black-powder rifles in traditional skills competition


MANCHESTER — The Manchester Rod and Gun Club will again host its annual primitive biathlon 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, at the Old Skinner Hollow Farm.

The two-day Southern Vermont Primitive Biathlon features a course of 1 to 2 miles through the woods with nine shooting stations along the way.

Competitors wear snowshoes, or simply walk, between stations and then fire black-powder rifles at targets.

Many participants wear traditional dress, wearing period attire as colonial frontiersmen, Native Americans and early militia.

Speed is of the essence and participants need to be able to hit what they shoot at, but also reload their primitive weapons quickly.

Scores are determined by the time it takes to complete the course combined with the number of targets hit along the way.

There are classes for men, women, younger than 16, older than 60, and a woodswalk class for those who don't want to use snowshoes.

The event is open to the public and you do not have to be super fit to compete. There are also other target shooting contests held throughout the two days.

The event makes a great spectator event for those who just want to watch and there is no fee for spectators.

The Southern Vermont Primitive began in 2005 and has grown each year. Similar events are held throughout New England and eastern New York.

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There will be food available, along with coffee, tea and hot chocolate.

A few vendors will be on hand.

Many door prizes, as well as raffles, will be available to participants and spectators thanks to sponsoring businesses.

The grand prizes will be three muzzle-loading rifles and winners do not have to be present.

The three rifles include an Investarms .54 caliber rifle with a 28-inch octagon rifled barrel donated by Dale Hubbard, and Steve DeSalvo; a Thompson Center .50-caliber Impact! inline muzzleloader, donated by The Reel Angler; and a Thompson Center .50-caliber Greyhawk caplock muzzleloader, donated by Harry Lux.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the Manchester Rod and Gun Club's Youth

Conservation Camp Scholarship Fund.

The club sponsors youth 12 to 16 attending the Green Mountain Youth Conservation Camps offered each summer by the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The biathlon has raised more than $33,000 since its inception.

For more information, log on to

Contact Darren Marcy at or by cell at 802-681-6534.


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