Archery expands to the club sport level at UCCS

September 25, 2018

Brian Blevins

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    Arrow-In-Arrow Archery Club, headed up by president Austin Blewer and vice president Zach Kinder, has upgraded its status with UCCS. Now, the group is an official club sport, that allows anyone with athletic eligibility and interest in archery to join.

    “Archery is new,” said Blewer, “so this is an opportunity to grow and embrace the school, the resources and our community. We’ve seen a lot of interest this semester.”

    When they both started shooting over a year ago, Blewer said he and Kinder were disappointed to find that there was no archery club at UCCS. So they took matters into their own hands and created Arrow-In-Arrow last spring.

    In a previous interview, Kinder elaborated on Arrow-In-Arrow’s purpose, stating that “the goal of the club is to provide students and members the opportunity to learn, compete, train and enjoy archery, along with meeting new friends and having a place to relax every weekend during the school year.”

    During that first semester, membership in Arrow-In-Arrow hovered around six participants (five students and one coach). However, on the club’s first meeting two weeks ago, Blewer said that eight students participated, with almost all of them being newcomers. So far, registration is still at six, due to issues with navigating the online system, but those who have voiced interest is around 16 total.

    The expanded roster also includes two new officers, a treasurer and secretary, who “have hit the ground running,” Blewer said, bringing their enthusiasm for the benefit of the club.

    The goal this semester, said Blewer, is to eventually be able to compete against archery clubs at other schools, all of which are under the umbrella of the Collegiate Archery Association (CAA), which is in turn monitored by World Archery. World Archery is “the international federation for the Olympic sport of archery,” and is headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland.

     The organization holds domain over all Olympic archery national governing bodies (NGB’s), as well as the United States Collegiate Archery Association.

    This time around, the event of the year is the 52nd annual Vegas Shoot, happening February 8 to 10, which is set to be the largest Vegas Shoot in history. More than 3,500 shooters have already registered, and the prize pool is already above $400 thousand. The winner of the freestyle open championship event will walk away with $52 thousand in his or her pocket.

     Funding is an issue, though, for Arrow-In-Arrow. According to Blewer, last year’s Vegas Shoot demanded roughly $3 thousand. This year, with the growing number of interested students, the demand has more than doubled. Students can be asked to pay their own way, but the preferred option is to conduct fundraisers in the coming months to try to ease the burden.

    Students interested in joining Arrow-In-Arrow pay a fee of $50 per semester, but this does little to nothing to contribute to competition fees instead covering costs of equipment and fees from UCCS and CAA.

    Regular events feature practice and shooting at the Archery School of the Rockies (ASR) under the supervision of several coaches. These coaches are certified level 3, a recognition made official by USA Archery. One, however, is certified at level 4, and actively coaches some of the most elite shooters in the world at the Olympic level. Blewer himself is trained as a level 2 coach, and is working on becoming certified.

    “We do have coaching available,” said Blewer, “and it’s for everybody.” According to Blewer, if you are an experienced shooter, or if you can barely nock an arrow, “we can definitely get you the coaches.”

    Another hopeful event is practice at an outdoor 3-D shooting range, where shooters walk through a range, shooting at targets in a more real-world environment. Targets here range from flat circles to foam animals.

    The first night of shooting is scheduled for Sept. 25, beginning at the ASR at 5:30 p.m. Equipment is provided and can even be rented out by students who do not have their own.
    “If you have no idea, come on in,” said Blewer. “Come shoot.”

    “If we build and we do it well, it gives our school a really good opportunity,” said Blewer, in regards to getting the archery enthusiasts to come here, be trained and hone their skills with the Olympic Training Center right next door.

    Students who are interested in joining can contact either Blewer at [email protected] or Kinder at [email protected].