Amber Gilliland, Senior Reporter
The sounds of arrows thumping into targets could be heard resounding across a section of Skookum Archers Club and Range May 18 when 13 Pierce students were given a free archery lesson.
Recreation and Entertainment Coordinator Jesse Hamelin put together the event. He’d driven by the range on occasion and thought it’d be a fun experience for students.
The event was led by five instructors and began with a safety presentation. The students ate pizza while discussing parts of the bows, how to properly load and shoot arrows, how to safely carry the arrows, correct arm placements and whistle commands. Two whistle blows meant that students could pick up their bows from the holding racks, one whistle meant that it was OK to load and shoot the arrows and three whistles meant that it was safe to retrieve the arrows from the targets.
After finishing the safety presentation, students were fitted for arrows to determine whether their arm length required them to use long or short arrows. Arrows were then handed out and placed in each student’s holding container called a quiver.
The students stood in a straight line and once the arrows were placed in the quiver, the signal rang out to grab a bow.
The instructors asked that students keep their bows rested on the tops of their shoes while they waited to load them, in order to not scrape the bottoms of the bows. Director of Student Life Sean Cooke could be heard yelling, “Bows on toes” each time the whistle sounded for students to grab their bows.
The targets were placed at varying distances and included bullseyes, and targets with different animal pictures such as a turtle, beaver, duck and monkey.
With focused looks on their faces and bow strings pulled back to their noses, the line of students released their arrows. Each student was given three arrows at a time. After everyone had fired, the group was given the signal to retrieve their arrows and the process started over again. This cycle repeated itself for about an hour and a half.
After a few cycles, students began to feel more comfortable using the equipment. To make the event more interesting, one instructor walked onto the range with bright yellow balloons which he attached to the targets.
Cooke participated in the shooting and was able to shoot two balloons.
“I feel proud,” Cooke said. “I feel a little bit deadly. I feel more like Katniss Everdeen than I did a minute ago.”
When there was one balloon remaining, a contest was held between the shooters who had shot down the most balloons. Those who had shot three or more balloons competed to see who could eliminate the last balloon.
In the end, students left the event with smiles and a few sore arms.
“Next time, I’m wearing a hoodie,” student Brittany Wolfe said after her bow string hit her arm while shooting.
Bruises aside, the students still had fun.
“My favorite part was seeing how horrible I was,” Equity and Diversity Coordinator TJ Estes said.
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