MADISON - Nearly 400 fourth through twelfth grade students are expected to participate in Wisconsin's third annual statewide target archery competition as part of the National Archery in the Schools Program.
The competition will take place at the East Junior High Fieldhouse in Wisconsin Rapids on Feb. 18 with the first shooters stepping to the shooting line at 9:15 a.m. Admission to the event is free.
The event is sponsored by Wisconsin Field Archery Association, Brennen Industries, Matthews Archery, Easton Arrows, Morrell Targets and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Concessions will be provided by East Junior High Athletic Boosters.
"It doesn't matter how big, how strong or how fast you are for this sport," says Wisconsin Rapids' Bruce Trimble, field director for the Wisconsin Field Archery Association and the organizer of this competition.
"The National Archery in the Schools program allows all students --regardless of athletic ability or gender--to participate in this sport together. What's really neat is that physically challenged students can participate.... Rules allow (students with disabilities) to have a helper and it's amazing to see how well they do."
Forty-five states have archery programs through the national program and the rest are expected to join soon. The National Archery in the Schools Program first came to Wisconsin in 2003.
Mary Kay Salwey, DNR state wildlife education specialist and the DNR staff person assigned to bring the archery program to Wisconsin, says the program's focus is strictly target archery where archers shoot at a bull's-eye target to score points. Hunting and conservation messages are not built into the curriculum.
"The DNR supports the program as a means to help students learn some basic skills needed for activities traditionally pursued in the outdoors such as target and field archery and bow hunting," she says.
Wisconsin now has a network of four program specialists and about 60 avid archers who are trained as teacher instructors. Teachers are trained in archery techniques, equipment basics and safety.
The archery program's school kits, including bows, arrows, targets and target backstops, are standardized so all schools compete with the same equipment. Schools have found various ways to fund the kits, which cost between $2,700 and $2,900. Schools have been able to find partners interested in starting an archery program through area conservation clubs and national sporting organizations.
Teachers interested in getting trained in National Archery in the School Program should contact National Archery in the Schools Program Coordinator Dan Schroeder at 920-757-5425 or 920-740-7528 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit National Archery in the School Program.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Kay Salwey, DNR, 608-685-3744; Bruce Trimble (NASP-715-421-9277