HILDEN – Nestled away on a hillside on Irwin Lake Road, the boys at St. Mary’s Archery Club are preparing to host the 2014 Nova Scotia Provincial Archery shoot.
Kicking off on Sunday morning, Chad Harpell and Bruce Cameron are hoping to rope in more than 100 competitors and take the provincial championship to a higher level than years past.
The club placed a winning bid for the tournament at the annual general meeting for provincial archery clubs last year.
“We wanted to do something bigger with the event and take it up a notch,” Harpell said. “In previous years, numbers have been a bit low and interest has fallen off a bit. We want to change that.”
The first thing the St. Mary’s club wanted to do was eliminate the stigma that only the top shooters belong at a provincial meet.
“There will be a small group here who are shooting to win, but that’s not all it’s about,” Cameron said. “This is an event for anybody, young or old, experienced or not.”
There will be upwards of 37 divisions competing on Sunday, so whether a shooter possesses a Rambo-like vigor, or is just picking up a bow for the first time, there will be a category fit for them.
Door prizes will be drawn throughout the day, with thousands of dollars in prizes being handed out. Whether the best shooter or the worst, each competitor will have equal chance at taking home a big prize.
It’s all part of an effort to bring more attention to the sport, Cameron said.
“We just want to get people out here,” he said. “It’s a great way to spend a weekend – walking, shooting and being outdoors with friends.”
It’s also a chance to promote their club, the men said. Each Tuesday night is “club night,” where members gather to shoot. A $25 annual membership fee will get members access to the club anytime they wish to use it.
Sunday will feature competitions for still targets with fixed ranges in the club’s 70-metre field, and three-dimensional competitions in the backwoods behind the range. The 3D targets – shaped like bears, wolves and even dinosaurs – will be scattered throughout the woods. Shooters won’t know the distance between themselves and the target, making it a more skilled shot.
“That’s the trick to it,” Cameron said. “You need to be able to adjust and judge the distance and shoot accordingly.”
Harpell, a top competitor, won’t be involved in setting up the course. Shooters with the home advantage use the honour system, he said.
“Everybody knows a guy who will go golfing and tell his buddies he shot a six when everyone knows it was more like a nine. That’s not us, though.”
Registration will get underway at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, with the competition kicking off at 9.