Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Feb. 4, 2002

Prairie Archers Club takes aim at adding new members

By Ryan Gueningsman

The interest of young people is something the Prairie Archers Club in Lester Prairie is taking aim at.

Formerly located in Winsted at the basement of the city office building, the club decided to move to Lester Prairie last year, above Angvall's Hardware, for better facilities.

"It's just a little more accommodating," vice president Ron Greeley, of Winsted, said. "It's upstairs, which allows more air to get in, and the building can easily be renovated."

"This building has had so many different things in it," secretary Jim Richardson said. "There was a mortuary up here, they used to repair Model As, they'd bring them up in the elevator. It's been a dentist's office, a doctor's office, so there's been a lot going on here. We cleaned it all out, hauled Sheetrock upstairs and now all we want to do, yet, is finish up the ceiling and do some work on the floor."

Members of the club receive a key to the building, so they can shoot at their own convenience. Members also receive a monthly newsletter.

Currently there are 28 paid memberships ­ one-third of those being single memberships, with the rest being family, memberships.

"We're trying to promote archery to the family aspect and to the youth because that's the future of our sport ­ of any sport," Richardson said.

In order to promote the family involvement as well as youth and community, the club has set up several instructional sessions.

"Hopefully these sessions will allow us to get a lot more of the community ­ youth especially ­ involved in the sport," Richardson said. "You see some of those kids out there and they just have a heck of a time shooting."

Since the club relocated to Lester Prairie, it has also hosted a balloon shoot during Longhorn Days, which they are looking forward to hosting again.

Richardson has been involved in the sport since his childhood, although he didn't join the archery club until about eight years ago when his son also became interested in the sport.

"He told me ­ 'Dad, why don't you come along and shoot with me?' So I did, and we invested in a bow and everything and it's just been a blast," Richardson said.

It's a sport that can be done year-round, Richardson said. There are different areas of basic competition, including a 3-D shoot, and 900 rounds. A 3-D shoot is when archers take aim at a three-dimensional target such as a deer.

"A 900 round is 40 yards, 50 yards, and 60 yards, so you shoot 20 to 30 arrows at each distance and you score them all," he said.

"The 3-Ds we go to take place all over the state, from Fairmont, to Walker, Clara City, and some even go into Iowa and Wisconsin," Richardson said.

Richardson and the other members of the club enjoy traveling to these different communities because it promotes the sport in different towns, as well as brings a new respect of archery to these areas.

"Archery is a repeatable form," eight-year club member Rick Pichotta said. "It has so much discipline involved with it, and although there is a lot of physical involvement, it also takes a lot of mental involvement.

"To become really efficient, you need to block everything else around you out."

There are also four different state tournaments the group participates in.

Anyone who is interested in checking out the club is more than welcome to stop by, Richardson said. For more information, contact Richardson at (320) 395-2721.

"It's a great sport ­ I can't really brag it up enough," Richardson said. "It's just one of those things that you really get out of it what you put in."

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