Stillwater News Press

Local News

August 27, 2012

Young archers take aim in contest at the Payne County Expo Center

STILLWATER, Okla. — Young children and teenagers lined up and took their aim before going for the bulls-eye at the 4-H Archery Contest at the Payne County Expo Center Monday evening.

A group of talented young shooters were part of the lineup including 14-year-old Seth Minor. Minor achieved a big win this year as he placed first in the nation at the Archery Shooters Association national finals.

“It was a pretty big goal for me that I’ve had for a while and I just really succeeded in that one,” Minor said.

However, the road to a first-place win had been a long time coming. Minor began shooting at age 9.

“I actually came (to the Payne County Fair) to do an air rifle deal and saw this going on, found out when the next practice was, came out and tried it and next thing you know, we got a bow,” he said.

Originally, he had intended to use his acquired skills to become better at bow hunting, but then began entering competitions and having fun, he said.

Practice these days includes 1,000 arrows being shot a week. Some are naturally good at the sport, but it still takes practice, he said.

With his experience, having fun competing has been joined with a new hobby — assisting newcomers.

“Helping the younger kids getting started in it and all these competitions and shoots we go to, it’s just a lot of fun,” he said. “A lot of fun people to meet and it’s just fun to watch the newer kids get into it.”

Minor’s younger sister, Cassie, 10, is just beginning in the sport.

“I started competiting last year but I’ve been shooting toy bows and stuff since I was 7,” she said.

Watching her big brother inspired her to give it a shot.

“Seth, when I was little, I would watch him shoot all the time and I always thought it would be fun to shoot because he would do so well,” she said. “I thought maybe one day I could be as good as him.”

Many youth new to the sport may have been intrigued with bows through pop culture. Movies such as “Brave,” “The Hunger Games,” and “The Avengers” have brought archery to the mainstream.

“Actually, we’ve had several come into the archery shop here in town ... and I’m teaching a little girl right now; she went and saw ‘Brave’ and she wants a new bow, so we ordered one for her today,” 14-year-old Minor said.

Another archer, 16-year-old Brogan Williams, said the exposure from movies helps the sport.

“I think it’s a good thing too because it shows that we are out here and we’re shooting and it’s a popular sport,” Williams said.

Williams got her start in summer 2008.

“It was just something that I wanted to do,” Williams said.

“My brother was in Boy Scouts and they had some shooting stuff out at some of the camps he went to and I did that as a little kid and I decided that I needed to do it.”

She was pushed by her mom to attend an archery camp one summer.

She recently was part of a four girl team that qualified for nationals. Her team placed fourth out of approximately 20 other teams and 33 competing states.

She said she feels like she’s pretty good at the sport and enjoys it a lot.

“It’s kind of like there is a special patience that you have to have for it and I like the feeling of it,” she said.

State Shooting Sports 4-H Coordinator for Oklahoma Kevin Allen said he enjoys his role in it all.

“My biggest role is that I get to see kids involved in a sport that is a lifelong opportunity for them,” he said.

“They can start when they’re 9 years old and continue until they’re 70 and beyond. It’s just a great activity for them.”

Of the 6,500 kids involved in shooting sports in Oklahoma, he said many continue to pursue and practice because they love it.

“I think it’s a passion for them,” he said.

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