USA Archery, the sport’s governing body in America, reported a 20 per cent jump in membership in 2012. Noticing that the demographic with the largest growth was young girls and women, USA Archery sent a thank you note to The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins for helping making the sport cool again.
In fact, books and, in particular, movies, have been credited with helping grow the sport in the past. About a decade ago, as the Lord of the Rings movies were released, numerous archery associations reported an increase in popularity. A decade before that it was Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
If movies are helping youth get interested in archery, the Yukon Aboriginal Sport Circle (YASC) will take it.
The YASC, which is the governing body of archery in the territory, is trying to grow the sport as major competitions approach.
The Sport Circle organized the first annual Indoor Archery Yukon Championship hosted by the Whitehorse Archery Club at Takihini Elementary School last weekend.
“It’s part of our strategy to develop archery to the competitive level because the Canada (Winter) Games are coming in 2015 – the age group is under-21 – and they will be shooting indoor,” said YASC executive director Gael Marchand. “So that’s why we need the kids and the adults to get used to this format to this competition. Not just Canada Games, but most competitions are target, like PanAm Games, Olympics are target archery.
“That’s why we want this tournament running every year.”
The inaugural championship featured 600-point rounds, match play and team rounds on Saturday and 3D target shooting on Sunday, with about 30 archers competed over the two days.
The championships are just one of a multi-pronged effort to grow archery in the Yukon.
YASC trained 38 new coaches last year and plans to host more coaching clinics in the future. The Sport Circle got archery into phys-ed classes at Yukon schools and two – Porter Creek Secondary and Elijah Smith Elementary – have introduced archery clubs as an extracurricular activity.
In addition to the Whitehorse club, the YASC has helped established clubs in Beaver Creek, Teslin, Dawson City and Ross River.
The association also plans to hold three outdoor competitions through the summer, including a Yukon 3D Outdoor Championships, possibly in September.
“Our goal is to have two championships in the communities, a north one and a south one, most likely in Dawson City and in Teslin,” said Marchand.
In addition to the Canada Winter Games, the YASC has received invites to compete in archery at the North American Indigenous Games next year in Regina, Sask., and at the B.C. archery championships this summer.
To make sure the indoor championships were as legitimate as possible, the YASC even invited B.C. Archery president Ron Ostermeier to officiate.
“Ron is the president of B.C. Archery, and that’s why I flew him in as a head official and he’s helping train our coaches and officials,” said Marchand. “If we meet the regulations from Archery Canada, they might invite people from everywhere (in the future).”
Pre cub – bare bow
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