- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 19, 2014

GALVESTON, Ind. (AP) - Randy Davis stood with his feet shoulder-width apart and loaded his bow.

He pulled back on the string until the circular peep sight dangling from it lined up with the sight on the limb. He released the string and let the arrow sail into the target that hung 20 yards away.

“There’s not necessarily a right way or a wrong way,” Davis later said, “as long as you always do it the same way.”

He was one of 20 archers of all ages, quivers slung over their shoulders, shooting in respective lanes.

When the last shot was fired, someone yelled, “Clear,” sounding the go-ahead for the archers to walk across the wood-paneled floor to retrieve their arrows.

The scene was typical of what goes on several nights a week at the Galveston Archery Club, celebrating its 50th year on the floor above the town hall on East Jackson Street. Bags and cases line the floor. A rack holds the bows of those waiting their turn on the chairs behind the shooting lanes. One wall of the about 50-foot-by-90-foot space is covered in signed targets displaying perfect scores from tournaments held at the facility. The wall opposite those holds plaques commemorating members who have passed away.

Rocky Kline, president of the club, tells the Pharos-Tribune (https://bit.ly/1dcTaRG ) the club has about 60 members, many of whom participate in both indoor and outdoor tournaments all over the state. Some compete all over the country.

Kline, now 70, started at the club in its inaugural year of 1964.

“I wanted more and more and more,” he said of how his interest in the sport grew over time.

Davis said he started target archery about four or five years ago after starting bow hunting about seven to eight years ago. After visiting the club, he said he became intrigued by the “specialty rigs” members were shooting and decided it was something he would like to pursue.

“What better place to learn and take advantage of people’s knowledge?” he said.

Davis calls archery a “great family and individual sport” that teaches discipline, responsibility, coordination and strength.

“It promotes all things good in life,” he said.

And others are noticing.

Austin Hamblin, 9, has been participating in archery for about two years.

“All the guys support me and give a lot of good tips,” Hamblin said.

Six months ago, his mom, Tiffany Hamblin, picked it up. She praises the club for its “big family-type environment” that provides an activity requiring her son to focus.

Ted Pallada has been a member of the club since 1968.

“Everyone up here is a mentor willing to help you,” he said. “We can take anyone and have them hitting the target real quick.”

Terri Schmidt said her daughters got interested in archery after reading the novels in the “The Hunger Games” series, whose teenage heroine’s prowess with a bow allows her to survive gladiatorial competitions in a future dystopian society.

Now Schmidt and all of her kids shoot. She said she finds it relaxing.

“I come up here in a grumpy mood and by the time I’m done, I’m happy,” she said.

Schmidt went on to say the club provides a fun, supportive and affordable activity for the whole family.

“There’s just a wealth of talent here,” she said. “They do everything they can to help you. Everything you need to get started, you can find here.”

Part of that talent is Ed Landgrave, vice president of the club. He joined after finishing his military service in 1969. Having enjoyed bow hunting, he attended a club session with his boss at the time, who let him shoot his bow. Landgrave said he purchased his own the following day.

“It’s a challenge to shoot perfectly, to see if you can get them all in that bull’s-eye,” Landgrave said.


Information from: Pharos-Tribune, https://www.pharostribune.com

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