Celebration . . . Mataura Clay Target Club life members Russell McGowan (left) and Ewen Pirie cut the club's 75th anniversary cake. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Supportive members have kept the Mataura Clay Target Club going for 75 years, its president and distinguished service award recipient Doug Smith says.

The club held its 75th anniversary on Saturday and attracted about 80 shooters, including life-member Russell McGowan, who travelled from Christchurch to attend the event.

Mr Smith was presented with a distinguished service award by New Zealand Clay Target Association Council South Island vice-president Michael Dobbie and councillor Kelvin Gutsell.

Mr Gutsell said it was a very prestigious award.

‘‘Throughout New Zealand, there was probably only about four of them dished out [this year].’’

However Mr Smith was a deserving recipient who was always doing things to help the club and keep it going, Mr Gutsell said.

Highest honour . . . NZ Clay Target Association council member Kelvin Gutsell (left) and vice president Michael Dobbie present Mataura Clay Target Club president Doug Smith with the association’s distinguished service award at the club’s 75th anniversary on Saturday. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Mr Smith has been a member of the Mataura Clay Target Club for 44 years, its president three times and had represented New Zealand overseas in clay target shooting, but he said the award came as a surprise.

‘‘I don’t mind admitting I could’ve cried when they announced it.’’

Even his family being there did not give it away, as he thought they had come along to support him as president of the club for its 75th anniversary.

The celebration went well and there was a big turn out, he said.

There were ‘‘shoot-offs’’ with plenty of prizes up for grabs, including a shotgun donated by Shooters World.

New owner of the business Scott Wilson said he intended to continue to support the club in the same way previous owner Lindsay Duncan had.

‘‘We just like seeing people enjoying the sport.’’

High gun champion of the day was Nick Sim, one of the club’s younger members.

It was good to see new blood at the club, Mr Smith said.