Carbon County 4-H hosts 3rd Annual archery tournament

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Story And Photos By Jackson Mcmurrey
Thursday, January 30, 2020
Photo courtesy of Meagan Thompson                        Shown in the back row, from left to right are Ty Wilkerson, Charlee Barnes, Riley Tedeschi, Chase Easthouse, Taylor Koch and Mikeal Wilson. Shown front row, left to right Tyler Barnes, Jakeob Wilson, Kevin Sharpe, Gavin Thompson and Roland Sweeney.

Photo courtesy of Meagan Thompson
          
            Shown in the back row, from left to right are Ty Wilkerson, Charlee Barnes, Riley Tedeschi, Chase Easthouse, Taylor Koch and Mikeal Wilson. Shown front row, left to right Tyler Barnes, Jakeob Wilson, Kevin Sharpe, Gavin Thompson and Roland Sweeney.

Riley Tedeschi, 15, with his bow and target. High score of the day, 300 20x. He is from Joliet and a member of the Carbon County 4-H archery club.

Riley Tedeschi, 15, with his bow and target. High score of the day, 300 20x. He is from Joliet and a member of the Carbon County 4-H archery club.

Archery, or simply the use of bows and arrows, is an old and competitive sport, and has been evolving over a millennia. Target archery is the most popular and practiced style of archery, and is seen all over the world from small scale competitions, all the way up to the Olympics. The Carbon County 4-H archery program has been around for about eight years now.

Saturday, Jan. 25, the Carbon County 4-H community held an archery tournament for its own members and invited other counties in the state to partake. Titled, “2020 Carbon County 10 Meter Indoor 4-H Archery Shoot,” this event is now on its third consecutive year. All together, they had 71 archers from 10 different counties, all ranging in age from 9-19 years-old. Each member signed up to shoot was required to be currently enrolled in a 4-H archery program, shooting under a certified 4-H archery leader. Ten meters is the standard distance used for all indoor 4-H archery events, and shooters were ranked by their age group and bow division. An array of different kinds of bows were displayed at the tournament, from fairly basic, minimal builds, to very complex and eclectic figures with special attachments. Bow divisions included: Primitive Bow, Bare Bow, Bow Hunter, Unlimited Bow, and Olympic Recurve. A winner was chosen for each combination of age group and bow division.

As it has in past years, the tournament took place in the Red Lodge Fairgrounds Agriculture Building. It kicked off at 9 a.m., and went all day, not winding down until the last firing line around 3 p.m. Or- ganization Leader for Carbon County 4-H archery, Doug Whitney, had the gears turning about a month in advance to begin preparation for such an event. The full week prior to the shoot was spent in concentrated efforts to set up the indoor range, so proper safety, design, and deliverance could be established. The official staff, wearing blue “4-H Archery” collared shirts, was composed of fellow 4-H archery leaders, coaches, range masters, parents, and other club members there to support the cause. Many of the Carbon County kids were sporting their 4-H archery club shirts, equipped with the classic four-leaf clover logo and their names.

Twelve targets, labeled individually, were set up in a row 10 meters away from the line of tape put in place for the archers to stand behind to take their shots. They stood closely together in a row of their own, aligned with their assigned number. With the large number of young shooters needing a turn that day, kids of different ages and bow divisions went together. While all under the same timer for every new round, each archer shot at their own targets which could be chosen between a piece of paper with either one large target on it, or three smaller ones. After every round, the archers would take their marked targets to a table of scorekeepers who would sort out the scores, add, and differentiate all the ages and divisions. Every hour, an updated list of scores and names would be printed and put on a wall so everyone there could see. A perfect score in this kind of round is what is known as “300 30x.” Coming close, with the high score of the day, was 15 year-old, Riley Tedeschi, who shot a 300 20x in the 15-19 year-old Unlimited Division.

To accommodate parents and families, tables and chairs were comfortably prearranged so they could watch safely from behind the area made for the archers, separated by red “Danger Do Not Enter” caution tape. Past the caution tape, a range master, wearing a bright orange vest, was supervising the activity and and laying down the rules for each new line of shooters. It was a busy and nonstop process, but remained fluid despite a constant coming-and-going of new rounds and fresh faces.

Whitney, as well as the few other leaders, were continually moving around making themselves available to assist the youngsters, though most seemed to know exactly what they were doing. There weren’t many questions or concerns, if any, that Whitney and his team couldn’t respond to kindly and considerately. His interactiveness and willingness to educate made the whole event enjoyable for the several dozens of patrons and participants cycling in and out of the Ag building that day. Despite the heavy load of work demanded to upkeep the scores, manage the archers, and provide constant supervision, a general sense of order was maintained quite well through a positive and collective effort.

“Thanks to all our supporters, for everybody that made it out, and to everyone for making it a great day for archery,” said Whitney as he took a moment to step back, spectate, and reflect on the day’s achievements.

There were many sponsors from near and far that support the Carbon County 4-H archery program and its events, one being the NRA. Local sponsors included Jane Dough’s in Joliet, Bob’s Barbershop in Red Lodge, Bank of Bridger, and others. Doug would like to especially recognize the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Tri-County Sportsman Group for their contributions. With mutual support between these companies and organizations, the 4-H archery club has been able to provide bows and arrows, local outdoor and indoor ranges, and funding for events like these which are held according to a high-standard and are vital to the 4-H community. Not only that, but in the few years that the archery program has been viable, club leaders have been able to meet their needs and fulfill stu- dent requests for extras. It seems that big dreams and progress will only continue to strengthen the Carbon County 4-H archery program into the future.

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