3-D archery clubs welcome all ages
     2012-06-15      By Brian Hale    brianhale@geringcitizen.com
The recent 3-D Archery Wildcat Hills shootout hosted atop Old Stage Hill last weekend proved to be a challenge for archery enthusiasts who participated from around the area. The annual Wildcat Hills Shootout is a three-dimensional shooting event held each June, combining the efforts of the Scottsbluff and Alliance archery clubs.
Dan Anderson is the Alliance Archery Club president and also serves as a hunter education specialist for the Nebraska Game and Parks.

“Despite the conditions it was certainly worth it," said Anderson, referring to the extreme weather they had to endure. Saturday saw triple digit temperatures and very little breeze, especially down in the valleys. Sunday saw much cooler temperatures, but then the wind kicked up and Anderson was literally caught having to hold the fort down as their sign-up table and canopy nearly took off for the hills. With the gusty winds, one wouldn't expect great scores, but Anderson said, "As far as shooting goes, once you learn to adjust for the wind, it isn't bad."

As the name signifies, a 3-D shoot is three-dimensional, versus a flat target from a fixed distance. The 3-D hunts are set up like a real-life hunt with simulated animals placed throughout the hills, including deer, antelope, turkeys and other surprises. "These 3D shoots are what helps those who also hunt," said Anderson. "It's different than shooting at targets indoors," he said. The additional challenge with the 3-D courses is the climbing of some hills and the tread over rough terrain.

Ryan Sterkel, president of the Scottsbluff Archery Association has been shooting for only a few years, but he knows the importance of getting young people involved. “The more kids we get involved, the better.” The Scottsbluff club shoots in the basement of the Midwest Theater nearly every Tuesday and Thursday night during the fall and winter. Their shooting range just west of the old Eagles Club (now R&S Auto) is utilized during the spring and summer months.

Sterkel and Anderson share the goal of getting more youth involved in archery. Anderson started a youth archery club in Alliance that has grown to 30-40 kids each Tuesday night. He credited the schools for help in promoting the club to kids. Anderson said he just takes them a flyer and they announce it.

This year he said the indoor shooting nights will begin the first Tuesday in October. The youth archery club is free to youth, thanks to the club and its sponsors. Everything is paid for and they even supply a bow and arrows if needed. "We even have a big end of the year banquet for those in the 200 Club," said Anderson.

With the goal of building on their current success in promoting archery, Anderson admitted that, "It's going to take some younger leaders. I started shooting when I was 12 years old. A lot of guys out here started shooting when they were young."

Greg Wooden, who serves as Secretary/Treasurer of the Scottsbluff club, also emphasized the family nature of archery. As one who started shooting at a young age, he said, "I've been shooting since I learned to ride a bike."

Both groups were pleased that this year’s 3-D Shootout saw all ages participating, men women and youth.

The two clubs also use popular archery websites to post their events. Visit www.bowsite.com and www.3dshoots.com or www.huntsafenebraska.org as resources. The two local clubs can be found online at www.westernnebraskaarchery.com. For more information about the clubs, contact Ryan Sterkel at (308) 672-3200 or Dan Anderson at (308) 629-7041.

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