St. Catharines, Ont. – A Junior Canadian Ranger team representing Northern Ontario did well competing in the annual Junior Ranger national marksmanship championship.
“They didn’t win but they shot well and enjoyed themselves,” said Warrant Officer Ron Wen, a Canadian Army instructor. “They should be very proud of what they did in this contest. They did well.”
The 10-person Northern Ontario team was made up of five male Junior Rangers from Lac Seul First Nation and five females from Moose Factory. They shot against Junior Rangers from seven provinces and all three northern territories.
The Junior Rangers are a culturally appropriate Canadian Army program for boys and girls aged 12 to 18 in remote and isolated communities across the Far North. All the contestants came from small communities, including three from the tiny Inuvialuit community of Sachs Harbour in the High Arctic with a population of just over 100.
A total of 63 Junior Rangers competed in the annual event which was held in the Lincoln and Welland Regiment armoury in St.Catharines. They shot with Daisy air rifles on a 10-metre range at a variety of targets, including paper, clay, falling plates, and one contest that employed digital targets.
“I’ve enjoyed myself,” said Junior Ranger Troy Ningewance, 16, from Lac Seul. “The shooting was challenging but it was fun. It’s been very interesting meeting people from different places. I’ve enjoyed meeting and talking with people from Yukon.”
While most of the contestants have used regular firearms to harvest wildlife and prefer shooting with them the Daisy air rifle is a useful teaching tool that can be used to stress firearms safety and it can be fired safely indoors, said Captain John McNeil, the army officer commanding Northern Ontario’s 1,000 Junior Rangers. “The principles of marksmanship are the same whether it’s a Daisy air rifle, a .22 (calibre), or a larger calibre. The more you can shoot the better and more comfortable you feel shooting. We stress safety.”
The annual contest is held in different parts of Canada and St. Catharines was selected this year because of its proximity to Niagara Falls. “Seeing the Falls and being so close to the United States, which they can see, has been an exhilarating experience for the (Junior Rangers),” he said. “They are ecstatic about being able to go to a movie theatre, a restaurant, and the attractions on the Clilfton Street Hill.”
Junior Ranger Destiny Larouche, 15, of Moose Factory, saw the Falls for the first time. “They are amazing and so beautiful,” she said. “I’m so pleased I’m here to see them.”
The championship had a surprise winner, Junior Ranger Eden Dulac who, at 12, was the youngest of the competitors. She beat her brother, Joshua, the second highest scorer, who, at 18, was one of the oldest shooters. They travelled the furthest to get to the contest. Their home in Haines Junction, Yukon, is 4,250 kilometres from St. Catharines.
The Lac Seul shooters were Terrance Angeconeb, 13, Daniel Bottle, 15, Troy Ningewance, 16, Jacob Thivierge, 16, and Reilly Thivierge, 13. The Moose Factory shooters were Taryn Crawford, 16, Destiny Larouche, 15, Faith Larouche, 14, Syracuse Monture, 14, and Kayleigh Sutherland, 14.
(Sergeant Peter Moon is the public affairs ranger for the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at Canadian Forces Base Borden.)