NORTHMORELAND TWP. — There are a lot of reasons why 55 kids and adults turned out for an archery shoot hosted by the Northmoreland Sportsmen last Saturday.
Some used the event for a tune-up for the upcoming archery season. Others turned out to get in some additional practice before competing at the Pennsylvania Bowhunters Festival in Forksville in September.
And for others, they came out simply for the fun of it.
“I like everything about it,” said Kaitlyn Shaver, 13. “It’s about the competition and challenge, and archery is a fun, family activity.”
The shoot was held at the Northmoreland Baptist Church and featured archery ranges for beginners and adults. The church also hosts the Centershot program, which combines archery and faith in weekly events open to everyone.
Matt Johnson, who is the director of the Northmoreland Baptist Church Sportsmen Ministry, said the program is similar to Centershot because it brings families together to learn archery or, for those with experience, compete.
“This is the second year that we’ve held it and we plan on making it an annual event,” Johnson said. “We might move it closer to fall for the archery hunters, but it’s really open to anybody from those who take lessons to experienced shooters.”
Many of the kids at the event already were experienced archers thanks to the Centershot program last winter. After spending the winter months shooting indoors, they were happy to hone their skills on an outdoor range.
“I started shooting a while ago and it’s not hard to learn,” said Caleb Hubbell, 11. “Just shooting a bow is the fun part.”
At the adult range, archers spent the morning competing in rounds at targets of different distances. Each competitor fired 60 arrows in all and the competition, while it was all for fun, was pretty serious.
Jimmy Belles, who is an avid archery hunter, said there is one thing more important than points during a competition.
“It’s about being with everyone, and being together at the church. That’s the end goal,” he said.
Johnson said as long as the interest remains strong the event will be held every summer, in addition to the Centershot program at the church during the winter months.
Centershot volunteer Jeff Hadsel, though, said there is a bigger goal than turnout.
“It’s about getting people out here for fellowship, and archery is the common bond,” Hadsel said. “It’s open for everyone to come out and just give it a try.”