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traditional archery on the rise

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  • Bill
    Sorry, about the bandwidth - I was informed the link was broken, so here s the article - A trip back in time: Interest in traditional archery on the rise By
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 24, 2005
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      Sorry, about the bandwidth - I was informed the link was broken, so
      here's the article -

      A trip back in time: Interest in traditional archery on the rise
      By Paul Smith

      Eyes fixed on the target, the archer's arm draws back on the string,
      flexing the wooden bow into an arc. A flip of the fingers, a twang,
      a blur, and the arrow is unleashed to meet its destiny.

      It's a sequence of events that spans much of human existence. Back
      to the very early native cultures, where a stick and a string were
      integral parts of hunting and warfare. To the days of Robin Hood and
      Sherwood Forest. And to the 1950s, when the recurve bow was the
      heart and soul of archery and bowhunting.

      Archery technology has advanced past the recurve to include the
      mechanical advantages of pulleys and the aids of sights.

      But a group of archers across North America prefers the simpler
      equipment used in previous millennia.

      Last weekend, 200 such archers gathered at the Racine Instinctive
      Bowmen club in Sturtevant for the Wisconsin Traditional Archers
      State Championship Shoot and Rendezvous. The event featured a two-
      day shooting competition, exhibits from 20 suppliers of archery
      equipment, camping and camaraderie.

      Formed in 1992, the Wisconsin Traditional Archers has 300 members
      around the state. The group promotes traditional archery and holds
      the annual state shoot. This is the first year it has been held in
      southeastern Wisconsin.

      The shoot was open to the public and attracted participants from as
      far away as Mississippi. The only requirement was the use of
      traditional archery equipment - such as longbows, recurves or
      selfbows (a bow made from one piece of wood without laminations) -
      and a love of shooting without modern aids.

      "When I started in archery, a recurve was all I had," said Joe
      Habetler of Racine, a member of Racine Instinctive Bowmen since
      1954. "I've shot compound bows, too, but there is a freedom and a
      challenge to shooting a traditional style bow that can't be beat."

      Traditional archers are the purists of the sport, eschewing the
      modern equipment like sights, releases, pulleys and cables found on
      many contemporary bows.

      With the use of sights and releases on a compound bow, shooting an
      arrow is more similar to shooting a gun. You look through a peep
      sight and align a forward pin with your target. When you've drawn
      the arrow and acquired the sight picture, you pull a trigger on your
      release.

      But to shoot a bow and arrow in the traditional style is akin to
      throwing a baseball. Take aim and release.

      "It puts the fun back in the sport," said Aaron Lamers of Racine, a
      traditional shooter again after an interlude with sights and
      compound bows.

      "You've got to put so much of yourself in every shot."

      Just because these archers don't use all the latest gadgets doesn't
      mean they are inaccurate. At the practice range Saturday at Racine
      Instinctive Bowmen, a steady stream of competitors lines up and
      routinely launch arrows into the vital zones of paper targets.

      It's a steady stream of "twang" and "pfft" as the arrows pierce the
      paper.

      Mark Reynolds of St. Mary's, Mo., has brought his two sons, Zach,
      13, and Cody, 10, up for the shoot. They've traveled with friend
      Curtis Waggoner of Sedgewickville, Mo..

      "Archery is our family activity," Mark Reynolds said. "We shoot just
      about every day. Shooting with a recurve or a longbow makes is
      simple and challenging and that's why we like it."

      Reynolds comments are echoed by virtually all the traditional
      archers at the shoot. They like the feel and look of a wooden bow,
      they like the ease of use, they like the link to the sport's past,
      they like the added reward when they are successful.

      Another thing that sets traditional archers apart is their
      willingness to make their own equipment. The grounds at Racine
      Instinctive Bowmen club were liberally spiced with hand-made
      quivers, arrows, and yes, bows.

      "There's probably just as many different bows as there are
      shooters," Waggoner said. "The bows are as unique as the shooters."

      With long, lean lines and shining, rich wood, many of the bows
      looked like pieces of art.

      "That's another thing about this kind of bow," Waggoner said. "Put
      it down next to a tree, and you might be awhile looking for it."

      And if you wanted to buy a bow that was hand-made by someone else,
      you had plenty of opportunities for that, too. Glade Thompson of
      Spring Grove, Minn., was about 16 hours into the making of an osage
      orange longbow. Long curls of the wood covered the ground at his
      feet.

      "There ain't no greater thrill than to sit on that horse and carve
      your own bow and then go out and kill a deer with it," he
      said. "It's that simple."

      The competition occurred over two days. The top 32 scores on
      Saturday advanced to a shoot-off on Sunday. The shoot-off paired two
      shooters at a time, like in "Robin Hood tournaments of old," said
      Dale Klug of Merrill, president of Wisconsin Traditional Archers.

      Racine shooters did extremely well in the tournament. First place in
      the men's division went to Aaron Lamers of Racine, with Klug taking
      second.

      Nancy Hill of Racine took first place in the women's division, with
      Pam Prahl of Marshfield the runner-up.

      For the other competitors who left without ribbons or trophies, the
      opportunity to connect with the sport's past was reward enough.

      "I feel like a kid every time I shoot," said Dave Ziegut of
      Oconomowoc, who has shot compound bows and traditional equipment at
      various stages of a 15-year archery career. "I don't know why I ever
      left traditional shooting.

      "It's so much more fun."

      TRADITIONAL ARCHERY AT A GLANCE:

      Traditional archery is the segment of archery that utilizes a wooden
      bow without any cables, cams, wheels, stabilizers, releases,
      elevated arrow rests, and sights. There are three basic types of
      bows used: longbows, recurves, and selfbows. A selfbow is made of
      one piece of wood without laminations. The interest in traditional
      archery is growing, according to Dale Klug, president of the
      Wisconsin Traditional Archers, as shooters increasingly appreciate
      the simplicity, challenge and fun of shooting an old-fashioned
      wooden bow. The Traditional Archery Supply Web site
      (http://www.oldbow.com) lists 106 traditional archery clubs
      throughout North America.

      The Wisconsin Traditional Archers was formed in 1992 to promote
      responsible and ethical bow hunting practices, to bring together
      people with a common interest and appreciation of traditional
      archery equipment, to help knowledge, skill, and enjoyment of
      traditional archery, to support activities that preserve the hunting
      and traditional bow hunting heritage and to ensure continuation of
      the traditions and skills passed down by previous generations.
      Wisconsin Traditional Archers sponsors various shoots and meetings
      each year, including the Wisconsin State Champion Shoot and
      Rendezvous held each summer. For more information on the Wisconsin
      Traditional Archers, see the group's Web site at
      http://www.wistradarchers. tripod.com or call club president Dale
      Klug at (715) 536-8640.

      Racine County has been home to one of the state's largest
      traditional archery clubs for more than 50 years. For more
      information on Racine Instinctive Bowmen, visit the group's Web site
      at http://www.ribarchery.com or call (262) 835-4975.

      Racine Instinctive Bowmen has four outdoor ranges, including an
      elevated tree stand range, a clubhouse and an indoor range on 192
      acres of land. The club is located at 14403 50th Rd. in Yorkville.
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