Southern Vermont Primitive Biathlon

Southern Vermont Primitive Biathlon

Southern Vermont Primitive Biathlon

The Southern Vermont Primitive Biathlon will be held on February 9 and 10. Primitive Biathlon is an event where participants snow shoe through a one- to two- mile course shooting at nine targets using muzzle-loading firearms. Many participants dress in period attire representing Colonial frontiersmen, Native Americans and early Militia. Competitors not only have to be able to shoot well, but also be able to manually load their firearms swiftly and accurately. Scores are calculated using travel time through the course and the number of hits made. There are specific classes for men, women, youths under 16, and elders over age 60, as well as a Woodswalk class for people who do not wish to run or use snowshoes. The event is open to the public; you don’t need to be a runner or competitor to participate. Spectators are welcome to walk the trail to view the participants shooting. The event site opens at 8:30 a.m., with competitions going between 9 and 3 p.m. on Saturday and 9 to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The Southern Vermont Primitive Biathlon was started in 2005, and has grown in the number of participants every year since. It is hosted by the Manchester Rod and Gun Club, and held at the Old Skinner Hollow Farm on Route 7A in Manchester. There will be food concessions and a cantina for hot chocolate, coffee and tea. A few vendors (or sutlers, as they were once called) will be on hand selling their hand-made wares. There will be three muzzle-loading rifles as the grand prizes. Grand prizes and door prizes are available to participants and spectators in a raffle drawing; you need not be present to win. Thanks to the sponsorship of local businesses and individuals, the event is open to spectators at no charge. It’s a fun, family-friendly way to spend a day with some fine and interesting people and take a brief look into our past.

Proceeds will benefit the Manchester Rod and Gun Club’s Youth Conservation Camp Scholarship Fund. The week-long camps owned by the State of Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife are open to ages 12 to 16. Every summer, the Manchester Rod and Gun Club sponsors local youth who wish to attend. To date, the Biathlon has raised over $33,000 for these scholarships. To find out more, visit


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