Members of the Talladega County Bowhunters and Archery Club, which was formed in March, set up numerous three-dimensional targets for students from C.L. Salter Elementary, R.L. Young Elementary and Munford Middle schools to hone their craft.
Each student paid $10 to participate, which included the opportunity to shoot and a meal.
“These students usually are shooting at traditional round targets,” said club member Wes Patterson. “The 3D targets are a whole different ballgame. The student enjoys getting to shoot at these 3D targets, but don’t get much exposure to it.”
Students unleashed their arrows on the targets resembling many forest animals from deer to coyotes. The club spent approximately $4,200 on the targets.
“A lot of these kids love to shoot, but they don’t have anywhere to do it,” Patterson said. “We’re going to try to get some of these students and their parents involved with our club. We just want to get the kids outside away from the video games.”
The clubs offers membership packages — $25 for families and at $15 for individual shooters. Those who join the club receive unfettered access to the range at TOP Trails.
Salter archery coach and physical education teacher Mark Darby, whose team qualified for nationals but will not compete because of a state testing scheduling conflict, wanted to reward his students for breaking 3,000 points in the state competition, which was held April 4 in Montgomery.
“This team of shooters is the best team I’ve ever had,” Darby said. “We came out here to have a fun day after finishing second at regionals and sixth in the state tournament. Our students have never had a chance to shoot at the 3D targets, so it was a great opportunity for them to work on their skills.”
Salter sixth-grader Jermontez Cunningham has been shooting for two years and will continue to shoot when he progresses to Zora Ellis Junior High School in the fall.
“I just love to have fun and I love to shoot,” Cunningham said.
Chris Stephens, R.L. Young archery coach and physical education teacher, viewed the field trip as a great training opportunity for his students. The team qualified for nationals, but failed to reach the team goal of 3,000 points.
“This event gave the team another opportunity to shoot, especially for our less-experienced shooters,” Stephens said. “It allowed them to shoot at the 3D targets while experiencing the resources Talladega has to offer our youth. We appreciate the club for what they’ve done for the kids today.”
Jennifer Darby, a sixth-grade math teacher and coach of Munford Middle School’s newly formed archery program, commended the club and said it was a great experience for her shooters to interact with more experienced peers.
“My students were thrilled with the opportunity to shoot with schools that ranked so high in the state,” she said. “They were excited to be in the presence of the kids who shot well and learn something from them.”
Contact Shane Dunaway at firstname.lastname@example.org.