Outstanding Guns 2017
On Tuesday, June 27, Fieldsports Magazine and The Royal Berkshire Shooting School (RBSS) hosted the second annual Outstanding Guns event which gives recognition to individuals in the world of game shooting who truly deserve it, for all the right reasons.
Born from a conversation between Fieldsports editor Marcus Janssen and Dylan Williams of RBSS almost four years ago, the objectives of the initiative are clear: In the face of so much negative publicity in the wider media, the game shooting community must do all that it possibly can to ensure that the right image and messages about our beloved sport are conveyed. And this starts with recognising those individuals who always set a great example for others in the field.
By setting a great example in the field, each of the nominees play a crucial role in ensuring that our fellow sportsmen and women, and the next generation of game Shots, understand the importance of ethics, etiquette, tradition, sportsmanship, camaraderie, conservation and respect, both for those we share the countryside with and our quarry and natural resources.
At the second annual event, 40 distinguished guests were welcomed by Fieldsports editor Marcus Janssen and enjoyed a talk by Richard Benyon MP, before a morning of clay shooting in the stunning grounds of The Royal Berkshire Shooting School. Attendees were then treated to a Taittinger Champagne reception, a three-course lunch courtesy of The Wild Fork catering company, and a talk by Lord James Percy, before Dylan Williams and Marcus Janssen presented the 2017 overall Outstanding Gun Award to Rachel Carrie.
Rachel was selected from a shortlist of nominees by a panel of judges which included Marcus Janssen, Dylan Williams, Gordon Robinson, Ian Coghill, David Clark, Mike Barnes, Phil Burtt, Simon Ward and Lord James Percy.
In his presentation speech, Dylan Williams said: “The time has come for us to do more than just abide by the rules – we’ve got to stand up for what we believe in, take responsibility for our actions and those of our fellow sportsmen and women, and become true ambassadors for our sports.
“There is no question that this year’s recipient has fulfilled this in such a way that it has been revolutionary to the fieldsports arena. The judges, all at Fieldsports Magazine and the RBSS could not thank this individual enough for all that they have achieved and contributed to our industry.
“Our winner is not only a highly accomplished Shot, but has an incredibly detailed understanding of the bigger picture and the finer nuances of how shooting and hunting fit into wildlife conservation and the economies.
“This year's Outstanding Gun is patient, having endured the worst excesses of vitriol from those who oppose our sports. And all of what she does is done in a voluntary capacity in their own time.
“The vast majority of game Shots keep a low profile and avoid confrontation – our winner certainly doesn’t.
“Not only has Rachel put her own reputation on the line, but last year she undertook filming for a TV programme with one of the UK's most vociferous anti-fieldsports campaigners, Jodie Marsh, in an attempt to change perceptions. The benefits of this program to our industry, which was viewed by an audience that would never communicate or wish to hear about the good we do, were highly significant. However, many of you will not be aware of the staggering level of depravity and personal attacks that she suffered following the airing of this program.
“With a vast social media following and individual posts receiving tens of thousands of likes and over 1,000 comments, she is unquestionably becoming the Margaret Thatcher of the shooting world! Rachel can be controversial but her contribution is without doubt a positive one and something that we should all embrace.”
A huge thank-you must go to the event sponsors – The Wild Fork, Gamebore and Taittinger – and the stand sponsors, Skinner's dog food, Holt's Auctioneers, The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), Swarovski Optik, and James Purdey & Sons.
You can read more about last year's event and the winner of the inaugural Outstanding Gun award here