Pragersko, a small village on the East of Slovenia will again host the European Championships in both shotgun and rifle disciplines during August. The shooting range is on a 22 hectare piece of ground with 1500 sqm under roof. The picture below is of the main building which houses a store for shooting equipment sales, restaurant and ablutions. There is a massive score board which is updated electronically from the different ranges.
During the initial years of operation the range was focused on shotgun disciplines; Universal Trap, Trap and Compact. I estimate 12 ranges. Slovenia enjoys many sunny days but not on the day that I visited the range. In winter the range opens on weekends only, for instance on Sundays from 10am to noon. I brought my shotgun to shoot but being a “softie” to this cold the shotgun stayed locked away.
I have been fortunate to visit both a World Championship and a European Championship in shotgun disciplines at Pragersko (before the rifle ranges were built). They are truly spectacular events. By 12th Feb 2017 there were already 800 shooters registered to participate of which 26 are South Africans.
Owner of the range, Igor Rakuša, was himself a former Yugoslavian Champion and his dad before him. If you read the BLOG under the category SPORT SHOOTING you will see how I first met Igor some 11 years ago. Igor and his family are not only keen hunters but they excel in all forms of hunting. Tomorrow I will travel with Igor to the fair in Vicenza and after we will visit a large dealer in Brescia. Bulk buying in Europe will bring benefit to all customers of The Powder Keg.
The 50m indoor range is impressive. The investment in electronic targets alone approximates 500K Euro. I learn every day of my life and I learn a lot from Igor about shooting and business. Igor is working on a hunting concession in central Europe where the total annual quota approximates 2000 pieces (mostly pigs that must be controlled). This is part of the bigger plan for The Powder Keg to bring European safari and tourism to South African families.
The rifle and handgun ranges are indoor and outdoors. The longest range length at the moment is 100m. Going longer means tunneling. This is in the plan but it is challenging to get payback in Slovenia where the population is 2 million. Ranges are big investments, hence linking adjacent businesses such as hunting. The range is an ideal platform for bigger opportunity and The Powder Keg will be much stronger through this European link.
Pig hunting is big in Europe and no where is it more popular than in Slovenia. Pigs are hunted from May till end December, driven hunts taking place in November and December when the forests are bare and grounds covered in snow (hopefully). Driven hunts require practice. The range at Pragersko is an ideal venue to practice on a moving pig target. The range is 50 m.
Take a close-up look at the mechanism and railway sleepers in the background. There is also a moving target range for .22 rifle; the range in photo is for big rifles. It is a professional set-up.
I look forward to meeting with shooters from South Africa. Please follow The Powder Keg as we continue to reinvent customer experiences (ultimately up to us an individuals). The big difference I observe with Europeans is that they continually seek new experiences and travel regularly. Europeans save money to travel and hunt abroad – to live life.
Last Wednesday was a 13 hour day visiting Kahles in Vienna, tomorrow we start for Italy at 5am, all this so that The Powder Keg can deliver superior customer service and the best value price-to-performance equipment.