Shoot we’re the best gig in town

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You can throw yourself out of a plane, off a bridge or down a mountain in Queenstown. 

Yet it’s a humble clay target shooting business that has topped a chart of popular attractions in the adventure tourism mecca. 

Family-run Break One Clay Target Sports is now ranked as the best of the 48 attractions reviewed on influential website Trip Advisor. 

The site allows tourists to review and rate their travel experiences, and then averages the scores into a chart. 

Owner Blake Holden, 49, and his wife Diana run the business, near Lake Hayes, helped by his instructor son Mitchell, 18. 

Holden attributes the success to a passion for shooting and a focus on customer service – and some beautiful Beretta 12-gauge shotguns. 

“Shooting is a passion for me and this is about passing it on,” Holden says. 

“Mitchell is the same. I wake up and want to go to work. 

“It is a thrill for us when someone hits a clay target. 

“We also try to provide the best customer experience. I was brought up in a country grocery store, serving customers since I was seven. 

“My father taught me that the customer is more important than anything else and that has worked for us.” 

Trip Advisor – which has 20 million members and 50 million reviews – rates The Nevis Swing second and Onsen Hot Pools third. Thousands of people have reviewed Queenstown’s attractions. 

A former jet boat driver and petrol station chain owner, Holden bought Break One in 2004. 

“My wife thought it was an expensive hobby,” he says. 

“But after six months I knew it was what I wanted to do. 

“It has been a battle. When we started we were knocking on hotel and booking office doors. You go in with your brochure, uniform on. 

“I can remember seeing one particular booking office manager throw the brochures in the rubbish as we left. We often doubted ourselves but came through.” 

The business now gets through 130,000 rounds and 90,000 clays a year at its rural site. 

Destination Queens­town boss Tony Everitt says: “Congratulations to them. 

“Not only are they obviously providing a very good customer experience, they are also using the new social media environment well. 

“That’s critical for businesses nowadays. 

“In the modifications we made to DQ’s website last year, we included a Trip Advisor feed on each business for our 
members – so they can see how they are doing.”