Father’s Day Tradition

19 Jun

If you have read my About page you know that one of my other passions is Traditional Archery/Bowhunting. You may be asking, what is traditional archery?

Here is the quick and dirty answer which will not satisfy the archers out there but will give the rest of you some insight. In today’s world of high technology, archery has not been left out. Typical archery equipment today consists of a compound bow made of aluminum and titanium, with cams, cables, fiber optic sights, stabilizers, bubble levels, carbon fiber and foam core limbs, carbon fiber arrows with plastic vanes, and arrow speeds of 300+ feet per second. These machines are very accurate. However, with so many moving parts, a lot can go wrong. Traditional archery is a throwback to an earlier time and is sometimes called a stick and a string. Longbows, recurve bows, and selfbows are typically made from wood with a Dacron string. Arrows can be carbon, aluminum, or more traditionally wood. The fletching consists of turkey feathers. There are no sights as the shooting is done instinctively, like throwing a baseball. It takes a lot of continued practice to reach a high level of proficiency.

Every year, over Father’s day weekend, my archery club, Rapids Archery Club, sponsors a traditional archery shooting event. For our Father’s day shoot we set up three sets of targets. Each set has twenty targets. The targets are life-sized three-dimensional foam replicas of animals that are legally hunted in North America and Africa. The targets are placed throughout the woods and fields that make up the 70 acre archery compound. We try to make the target sets look as real as possible.(See Slideshow from pervious shoots) Shots are taken from seven to thirty yards which, is within the effective range of the archery equipment being used. Set up usually takes all day on Friday with the shoot being conducted on Saturday and Sunday. Typically, we will have 300-500 shooters over two days. Though most shooters travel from neighboring states to join us here in Minnesota, some travel from as far away as Florida, Hawaii, and Alaska to join in the fun.

We encourage families to participate and we have separate divisions for youth and cubs (little kids). It is something special to see the look on a five-year-old girl’s face after she shoots her little pink arrow into a foam target of a life-sized moose. She can’t even reach up to retrieve her arrow. So, her proud mom or dad has to pull it free. It truly is a good time for the whole family. This was the twenty-second year we put on this shoot and each year it seems to get better. It is something that, those of us who help put it together, love to do and love to participate in. When it’s over and the targets have been torn down and stored away, we sit around drinking something cold. We  discuss the results and how we can make the event better for next year. With tired smiles we leave the archery compound and say to ourselves, “Only twelve months until next year.”

How did you spend your Father’s Day weekend?


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2 responses to “Father’s Day Tradition

  1. annewoodman

    June 20, 2012 at 8:34 am

    One of my favorite units in middle school P.E. was archery. I had no idea how to continue on as far as future learning, but it made me feel very medieval! It’s cool to hear that you are helping others enjoy the sport. Nice tradition!

    • Dennis Langley

      June 20, 2012 at 9:15 am

      Thanks. It is a great way to relax and clear the mind of unwanted stress.


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