Growing up in a large family on a wheat, barley and sheep farm in Wallup East, in North Western Victoria, Michael Huebner was good at two things: AFL and shooting.  

But after playing footy for 20 years, injury finally forced him to hang up his boots. That's when a casual hobby - and a pastime he shared with his father - became more of a competitive sport.  

Michael came across a magazine article discussing Benchrest - a precision rifle shooting discipline where competitors aim to put five shots into the smallest possible group on paper targets placed at 100, 200 and 300 yards. He learned that the Sporting Shooters' Association of Australia managed more than 18 shooting competitions or 'disciplines' year-round - at local, state, national and international levels.  

"I do have a competitive streak", Michael says. "But at the time, I had no idea what it was. I attended a rifle range and instantly I wanted to do it". 

Michael bought the necessary equipment to compete and began his journey in late 1999, just before starting at Ventia as a Specialist telepower field technician - Electrician.  

"There was a steep learning curve with benchrest, it's not something I was coached in." he recalls. 

I was mentored early on by a successful competitor and the key is to listen to everything.

Michael is considered to be in the top 10 in Australia and is currently in fifth place for the 2025 World Championship selection


One World Championship s'il vous plait 

Fast forward 23 years and Michael is on his way to his fifth World Benchrest Championship (WBC) in France in September, to test his mettle against the best marksmen and women from around the globe.  

"This year, I've shot my smallest aggregates in 23 years", said Michael. "Which is good and hopefully my best ever is still to come."  

Ventia is proud to support Michael in his quest to become World Champion. An experienced A grade Electrician by trade, Michael's 23-year tenure at Ventia has seen him in a variety of roles. Today Michael is a Project Manager for Telstra Projects on Building Services in the Ventia Operations and Services team, based in Melbourne. 

Without Ventia's support I couldn't go, so I am extremely grateful.

"It's a great achievement to represent Australia", said Neil Barnes, Executive General Manager, Operations and Services - Telecommunications. "We're very proud of Michael and wish him the best."  


Beginners luck 

Michael realised that he had the makings of a talented marksman soon after taking up the sport. In his third-ever event just one year after starting competitions, he won the Heavy Class category in the Australian Nationals (the best of the best in Australia) in April 2000. 

Sometimes people have beginners' luck, but it's what you do after that which matters.

Today Michael is considered to be in the top 10 in Australia and is currently in fifth place for the 2025 World Championship selection. He may well be the best-ever competitor in the Benchrest target shooting discipline to hail from Victoria. In 2008 he entered the Centrefire Group Benchrest Hall of Fame - the 26th person to do so since 1975 and only the third Victorian. 

But despite reaching the pinnacle of his sport, Michael's personal journey has been far from easy.  

Michael is the proud father of three young boys


In early 2003, at the age of 32, he was diagnosed with Crohn's and kidney disease which was a setback. Still, that year he was invited to the World Championships in Umea Sweden - his first time overseas - bringing home the bronze medal in individual Heavy Class at 200m and coming in 15th overall in the entire tournament.   

Over the next few years Michael would manage his auto-immune condition and continue to do very well at the Australian Nationals, qualifying in first place for International Selection on multiple occasions. 

Yet in 2009, another blow: Michael's father passed away. He and Michael had been very close and Michael missed him a great deal. After competing in the World Championship in Silverdale Sydney in 2013, he would bow out of international competition for almost 10 years.  


Return to form 

It wasn't until 2021 when competition resumed after the COVID-19 lockdowns that Michael started to recover mentally and emotionally. He attributes his return to form to the power of a mental training program used by World and Olympic champions throughout the world. He would qualify sixth overall for International Selection in the Canberra qualifier 2023, ahead of the World Championship in France.  

"I am in a better place now with a mental strategy and if I can have my equipment at 100%, I will at least have an opportunity to win", he says. 

Michael is the proud father of three young boys and currently lives on 13 acres in Bannockburn near Geelong. His goal this year is to win both team and individual events. And his philosophy:  

Each yardage or new day brings with it a new opportunity for success. I believe anyone is beatable. Absolutely anyone! And above all never give up.

Michael bought the necessary equipment to compete and began his journey in late 1999


Championship record: 

  • 2003 WBC Umea Sweden- Bronze Medal LV 200yds, 15th 2Gun. 13th Teams 
  • 2005 WBC North Lawrence, Ohio USA- 37th 2 Gun, 5th Teams 
  • 2005 NBRSA Nationals, St. Louis Missouri USA  
  • 2009 WBC Protea South Africa  
  • 2013 WBC Silverdale, Sydney Australia - 26th 2 Gun, 4th Teams 
  • 2023 WBC France  

Benchrest trivia 

  • The World Benchrest Shooting Federation has 34 member countries1
  • Europe and USA are the most competitive teams and the most popular events 
  • Benchrest began in the USA in the late 1940's and came to Australia in the early 1950's.  
  • The Sporting Shooters' Association of Australia was established in 1948.