ELKWATER, AB – It was ready, aim, fire for archers in Elkwater over the weekend for the Medicine Hat Archery Club’s annual Outdoor 3-D Shoot.
Competitors scaled the hill at Elkwater’s Hidden Valley Ski Resort, shooting at pre-positioned targets and trying to obtain points.
There were four loops available to archers, along with a practice area and a pee-wee course for novice kids.
Barry Peters travelled from Delburne to compete in the Cypress Hills, and said he caught the archery bug with his daughter six years ago.
“Ever since then, she got into the competitive side and we've gone to just shoots all over Alberta,” said Peters. “We always know Medicine Hat puts on a great shoot, so the family likes to camp at Elkwater, so we came down for the shoot this year and it's always been a lot of fun.”
Targets throughout the park were made to resemble woodland animals, a nod to the hunting tradition in Alberta and a more difficult challenge that just a piece of paper stuck on a tree.
Mel and Joanne Corbett came to Elkwater from the Priddis area, and have competed in the local tournament for a few years.
According to Mel, an event like this is great not only for the province’s top archers, but also for the families picking up a bow for the first time.
“It's really good for the Medicine Hat clubs, all the clubs out there,” said Corbett. “The more people we get to come out and shoot these venues, the better off it is. And, the better it is for these clubs just to keep their doors open.”
Along with the target shooting throughout the weekend, many families brought their trailers and RV’s to the ski hill.
Seven-time provincial champion Dan David said especially locally, the archery scene is growing at a rapid pace.
“It's evolving steady, we got a lot of members,” said David. “A lot of people try it and fade out, but we still retain a lot of people.”
From the family atmosphere to the camaraderie between competitors, Peters adds it’s a community unlike any he’s seen before.
“I've been to a lot of places in Alberta, or even Canada, that I wouldn't have gone to normally without doing this archery stuff,” he said. “Meeting great people like Dan, Joanne [Corbett] and Mel, I've met all sorts of great people I would not have met if I hadn't been doing this.”
The Elkwater event was a marked yardage course, which meant competitors found out how far away the targets were, but often had long shots as a result.