The Rudolf Shoot

The Beginning

This event is held once a year at the club, on the 27th December, during the Christmas holidays, and was initially the idea of Peter Farrell and Sara Kirkham, who besides organising and laying out that first shoot, back in 1999, also provided lunch in the form of baked potatoes and cheese.

Over the years the type of lunch has varied, but it still remains as an integral part of the shoot. The current lunch is homemade soap, mushroom provided by Kay Simpson and vegetable by Anda Meyer, with cakes baked by Margaret Shorrock for desert

The Round

Upto twelve bosses are set out in the wooden area to the left of the shooting field, at distances varying from 5m to approximately 50m.

Each boss has at least one animal target face pinned to it, though some will have two if the animal depicted is small, such as a weasel or rabbit.

The shooting positions for each target are marked with coloured pegs, red or blue for the actual shooting positions, which are all unmarked distances, and white to indicate the target number.

The red and blue pegs are also used to indicate whether you shoot from that position in the morning or afternoon. It is left to the tournament organiser to determine which colour determines morning or afternoon.

All the pegs were manufactured and painted by Terry Gregory, with the cost of the timber and paint being paid for by the club.

Besides the paper animal faces the members originally got to shoot at a 3D target, which is in the shape of a Deer and is affectionately know as Rudolf, which gave rise to the shoots name “The Rudolf Shoot”.

Rudolf is placed on the target shooting range, somewhere between 50 and 60 yards, and the archers usually all shoot at the same time, a volley shot, under the command of the field captain.

About ten years into the shoot, a returning member, David Littlejohn, created a target made from layers of cardboard and plastic, pasted together and bound with tape. The target is man shaped and beautifully painted to represent a medieval man at arms, complete with sword, shield and helm. David also painted his own face of the figure. The whole of the figure has lines dividing it up into different areas, each with a different value if you shoot an arrow into it.

This figure is now used for one of the longer shots.

The club later acquired a large piece of dense foam, which was cut into a man shaped figure. This was initially used during the Waterloo corporate have-a-goes, and would be dressed up as different figures, but sporting a mask of Andy Wardle, who is a club member and an employee of Waterloo. This would then be shot at as a novelty target. It was also put to good use on the Rudolf shoot, being dressed up as Father Christmas and placed at the end of the gallery shot, which was behind the trees at the end of the shooting field. Alas this shot is no more, having been suspended when building work started on the land behind the wall.


By sheer luck one day, a tree surgeon was working in the grounds of a house opposite the club, cutting down several trees and grinding them up into chippings.

With a full lorrry load he was about to take them elsewhere to dispose of them. He then noticed that there were members shooting at the club, so he came over and offfered the chippings to the club, free of charge.

As with most things offered to the club for free, his offer was accepted.

The man carefully backed his truck into the car park and deposited the chippings at the far end.

These chipping where then later spread along the tracks used during the field shoot.


Personal safety of club members has always been of major concern at Stalybridge. The club has always made sure that if a safety problem is identified the club will endeavour to correct that problem as promptly as possible.

One concern that was quickly identified with the advent of the field shoot was that after wet weather, snow or frost the ground in the woods could become very slippy, making climbing up and down the banking, from the path near the wall where the shooting positions are mostly located, into the dip next to the field where the targets are, very slippery and treacherous.

The committee decided that to make the situation safer the club would need to install steps at several places.

These were duly manufactured by Terry Gregory, with the materials sourced by Terry and David Littlejohn, and all paid for by the club

The steps were all three meters long and manufactured inside the club house with the assistance of Michael Burke.

Installation in the field of the finished steps was a time consuming job, as the slopping banking had to be dug out at each station, so that the steps could be set into position, at approximately a thirty degree angle, they were then secured with large wooden pegs, manufactured from half section wooden posts, which were hammered into the ground at one metre centres along the inside of each stringer.

Each set of steps was also fitted with a hand rail.

The installation and assembly of the steps was undertaken by Terry Gregory, with Robert Cheatham and David Littlejohn providing the muscle to dig the soil out at each location.

The timber for the pegs and hand rail was recovered from timber that the RSB bird reserve was throwing away, due to them replacing all their boundary fences.

The stringers and risers of all the steps were constructed from tantalised decking boards, and cut to shape and length by Terry Gregory.

The treads of the steps are an infill of large flat stones or slates, laid upright against each other to form the major filling, then smaller limestone chippings were poured on top of these to form the tread itself.

This method allows the steps to freely drain and therefore reduce the chances of freezing solid in winter when we most need to use them.

The limestone chippings were supplied for free and delivered to site by fellow member and civil engineer Mr Brendan Thackary.