Archery takes you places

ArcheryOnce you decide to become a competitive archer you will need to start planning to travel. Traveling is a big part of competitive archery, and the higher the level of competition, the further you need to travel.

Indoor archery can take you all over the planet at the upper levels however most competitions can be “mailed-in” because the conditions are controllable. For indoor archery, I have had the pleasure of visiting Louisville, Kentucky a couple of times for the NFAA Indoor Championships and Las Vegas, Nevada for the World Indoor Championships.

bb45s5817Since, hosting any outdoor archery tournament requires a fair amount of space, in Canada, you will need to travel a lot. Canada is the world’s second largest country by total area and stretches about 5000 KM (3000 Miles) from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean.  Since 2009 to participate in the Canadian National Outdoor Championships I have visited Laval, Quebec; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Delisle, Saskatchewan; Victoria, British Columbia and this year our family will travel to Woodstock, New Brunswick.

Even competing at the provincial level requires a lot of travel since the province of Ontario is larger than Egypt, Spain or France and therefore even for Provincial competitions you will have to travel a lot. I have visited London, Sudbury, Ottawa, New Market, Petawawa, Caledon, Athens, Peterborough, Toronto and Sault Ste. Marie. All this and I do not participate in every tournament.

Budget is a large factor in participation; our family uses our family vacation budget to participate in tournaments. Unfortunately, only the highest level of Canadian archer receive funding to help pay for travel, lodgings, tournament fees and equipment. For the rest of us, it often falls on us or our parents to help fund those Olympic dreams.

So if you are planning to venture in the realms of competitive archery, I offer the same advice that was afforded to me when I started. “Start saving now” however be assured that it is a worthwhile investment.

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Arrow – The TV Series

Have you watched the new series Arrow available on The CW in the US and CTV in Canada. The series is about a playboy millionaire ( played by Stephen Amell ) who was shipwrecked on an island for 5 years before returning home a changed man. Upon his return to civilization he plans to right the wrongs his father shared with him on the doomed voyage and becomes a hooded vigilante with a bow and arrow.

The series follows Oliver Queen, billionaire playboy of Starling City, who spends five years stranded on an island following a shipwreck that claims the life of everyone else on board, including his father, Robert Queen, and Sarah Lance, the sister of Oliver’s girlfriend. Upon his return to Starling City, he is reunited with his mother, Moira, and her new husband, Walter, the former CFO of his father’s company. He is also greeted by his younger sister, Thea, and his best friend, Tommy; Oliver tries to reconnect with ex-girlfriend Laurel Lance, but she blames him for her sister, Sarah’s, death. Oliver and Sarah were having an affair at the time of the accident.

During the day, Oliver plays the billionaire playboy; at night, he becomes a green-hooded vigilante, following through with his father’s dying wishes to right the wrongs of the Queen family, fight the ills of society, and restore Starling City to its former glory. Oliver’s vigilante persona becomes the focus of Detective Quentin Lance, father to Laurel and Sarah, who is determined to arrest him, unaware of his real identity. Oliver is also constantly flanked by a bodyguard, John Diggle, who suspects Oliver is hiding something under his playboy persona. Moira is also hiding some secrets, as she knows that the family yacht was actually sabotaged.  Wikipedia

The series is based on the fictional superhero Green Arrow created by DC Comics.

Green Arrow is a fictional character, a superhero that appears in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Morton Weisinger and designed by George Papp, he first appeared in More Fun Comics #73 in November 1941. His real name is Oliver Queen, and he is a billionaire who formerly served as the mayor of the fictional Star City. Dressed like Robin Hood, Green Arrow is an archer who invents trick arrows with various special functions, such as glue arrows, net, explosive, time bomb, grappling, fire extinguishing, flash and tear gas arrows, as well as cryonic arrows, and even a kryptonite arrow. Green Arrow was originally developed as an archery-themed analogue of the very popular Batman character, but the writers at DC have developed him into a voice of left-wing and progressive politics very much distinct in character from Batman, with his own supporting cast. Wikipedia

This series is another example of how Archery is gaining popularity. Check out the HD trailer on YouTube and be sure to program your PVR to watch an excellent series.

2012 Ontario Target Championships

This past weekend, Algoma Rod and Gun Club in the Sault Ste Marie hosted the Ontario Provincial Target Championships. Sault Ste Marie is situated in Northern Ontario on the eastern point of Lake Superior and 12 hours away from Kingston. Wow, what a long drive for my family, and to give some perspective, in Europe you could travel from Rome, Italy to Frankfurt Germany in the same amount of time. Although it was a long drive 85 of the top archers from around the province travelled to compete in the two-day tournament with a FITA 1440 on day one and a FITA 720 on the second day.

Upon return from the National Championships in British Columbia, I finally received my amazing new bow from Cartel Doosung.  With only two weeks of practice, typically you wouldn’t change anything however this bow is perfectly suited for me; possibly the best bow I have ever shot. Since this is really the last competitive tournament of the outdoor season, I decided to use it.  In my opinion, it was a very good decision. The winds were extremely tricky; flags on targets beside each were other pointing in opposite directions. Every one was having troubles with them. For only two-weeks practice I feel I shot extremely well, perhaps the best I have shot all season, and was able to capture the Bronze medal.  I know this will translate into success in the upcoming indoor season and next year’s outdoor season.

This tournament was also a complete family event as all my siblings participated. My sister Sydney competed in the female cadet recurve division finishing fourth. Joshua competed in the Male Cub Recurve division finishing second, even though he could not complete the tournament because of a shoulder injury. Last and not least, my youngest brother Cole competed in the Male Pre-cub Recurve Division also capturing silver.

It was a great successful tournament and a great family trip since we camped at the KOA campgrounds. I am already looking forward to next year’s family tournament trip.

I’m Back…

Just got back from this year’s Canadian National Field and Target Championships held on beautiful Vancouver Island in British Columbia. This year I travelled with my coach Kathy Millar from South Nation Archery Supply and without either of my parents.

The Field Championships were hosted by Cowichan Bowmen Archery Club which is considered the best field course in all of Canada. The course is both beautiful and challenging with large rocky hills, angled trees, and other mind illusions. According to my coach it is pretty close to world level field tournaments. I also had the honour to shoot with my World Indoor Championships teammates Virginie Chenier and Caitlin Northey and I was fortunate enough to placed third.

The Target Championships were hosted at the West Shore facility consisting of both a FITA 1440 on day one and a FITA 720 on day two. Day one was not the best shooting day for me; the wind was tricky, I was not feeling the best, and I had an equipment failure where my arrow rest came off. On day two, the FITA 720, I was still a little shaken up from the FITA 1440, but I had a much better shooting day. Although I did not medal, I did come back with a lot more mental experience and a lot of fun memories.

The National Championship trip also provided me with a HUGE surprise.

In 2011, the Gunter family established an annual bursary for Canadian junior archers to be awarded at the National Championships. The WW Gunter Memorial Bursary is awarded annually to a Canadian Archer between the ages of 15 and 20, who has competed or will be competing for Canada at a World Championship or international archery competition such as the Youth Olympic Games, and who is planning to continue their education at the post-secondary level. The archer must conduct themselves in a manner that is a credit to their sport, their country and always maintain a sense of dignity and sportsmanship in victory and defeat.

To say I was surprised when they announced that I would be this years recipient would be a massive understatement. I was in such disbelief, my coach, Kathy actually had to nudge me to go and receive the award. I am humbled that the Gunter family would endow me with such an honour and I thank them enormously.