It was a beautiful weekend for a shoot, a 3D archery shoot that is.
While there were cool temperatures and gusty winds, in the thick forests surrounding the Williams Lake Sportsmen’s Association Clubhouse archers were saying conditions were great for archery.
Lee Jackman, the president of Cariboo Archers remarked how well the shoot had gone as he was finishing up the course on Sunday on what was a long-awaited return to the in-person fun event.
In previous years, a shoot in the spring has challenged archers with everything from rain to snow to thick mosquitoes, and this event thankfully had none of those. With targets mostly in sheltered areas of the forest, the windy conditions did not seem to be a problem for the archers either.
With two courses winding through the woods surrounding the clubhouse area, there were 3D targets which included a range of challenging shots.
Targets could be made harder by their placement near rocks, which result in broken arrows if an archer misses, reduced visibility shooting through thick forest cover, a target’s small size and even one custom-made target unique to the Cariboo Archers.
SpongeBob Squarepants is a high-value target made by past president Ron Rissanen. The majority of the target is made from metal, with a small foam target mouth brave archers can take aim at. While archers less daring with their arrows (which can cost as much as $300 a dozen) can opt for an easier target by aiming at the bear target next to SpongeBob.
However, those who do dare to shoot Bob can earn twice as many points for taking the chance on destroying an arrow, giving them a leg up on the competition.
About 60 archers came out to compete, including Miranda Sparkes, “One of the best longbow shooters in the world,” according to Al Campsall, one of the event organizers.
Campsall and Sparkes met while shooting together in Italy and France for the national team.
Sparkes was using a metal detector to try and locate a missing arrow after a missed target but still enjoyed the event.
“It was beautiful. I love coming out here, it’s a beautiful course,” said Sparkes, who lives in Logan Lake.
She said archery has given her the chance to travel and explore B.C.
“I probably never would have come up to Williams Lake or some other random small towns, like Cherryville,” explained Sparkes.
She is not alone in spending time in Williams Lake for archery, some out-of-town archers even set up camp on the Williams Lake Sportsmen’s Association property on Bond Lake Road for tournaments.
Campsall said this shoot had a lower than normal turnout and the group’s events can attract well over 100 archers pre-Covid, and many of the out-of-town competitors would stay for the weekend, either in the city or camping nearby.
Many factors may have impacted numbers as people slowly adjust to returning to in-person events, including gas prices and a shoot in Chase the same weekend drawing many southern interior archers.
But there were archers from 100 Mile House and Prince George among those the Tribune caught up with on the course. This included the Schafer family from Prince George.
Jon and Kristy Schafer were accompanied by their two small children Annabelle, five, and Finley, three, as well as Kristy’s father Glen Johnson.
With the course taking two to three hours to complete, Jon Schafer had a seat on his backpack Finley could ride on between targets to help him along.
Annabelle, however, was able to manage on her own. Both of the youngsters have their own bows, though they only shot them on Saturday and were just along for the hike on Sunday.
Annabelle, who has a compound bow, said she likes everything about the sport and her mom Kristy said the family had been coming to compete in Williams Lake for years, so it was good to return.
Cariboo Archers have not hosted a tournament since 2019.
Cariboo Archers finished as follows: Men Longbow – 1st Fred Streleoff, 2nd Ernie Schmid, Men Recurve – 2nd Kevin Trott, Masters 60 Recurve – 2nd James Benson, 3rd Al Campsall, Masters 60 Fixed Pins – 2nd Dave Cooper, Men Fixed Pins – 3rd John Walker, 1st Lee Jackman, Men Unlimited – 1st Dan Cooper, Ladies Recurve 1st Melanie McComber, 2nd Alexis McComber, Under 15 Female Unlimited – 1st Lili Fraser, Under 10 Male Fixed Pins – 1st Emilio Hillbert, Under 13 Female Compound – 1st Camila Hillbert, Under 13 Male Compound – 1st Kayden Trott, Under 10 Male Compound – 1st Hunter Cooper. There was also an Extreme category for both compound and traditional archers on the Saturday, with very technically challenging shots. Cariboo archers results ranking in this category were: Compound – 2nd John Walker, 3rd Adam Lyons, and Traditional – 2nd Ernie Schmid, 3rd Fred Streleoff.