© Nathan Liewicki
From front to back, Meaghan Cleave, Lane Moore, Hailey Cleave and Tyler Moore line up their arrows at targets at the Thunder Creek Archery Club's indoor facility Sunday.
Thunder Creek Archery Club has seen recent growth
Hailey Cleave received her first archery kit in May 2010. She hasn’t looked back since.
“In my opinion, archery competition will never override the fun of it,” said Hailey, 12, who has competed at the provincial and national levels.
Hailey is one of 48 youth and young adults age six to 20 that are members of Moose Jaw’s Thunder Creek Archery Club. In total, there are approximately 120 members, but more members are always welcome.
In the winter months the kids come out to practice at their indoor location – above Nit’s Thai Food – on Monday and Thursday evenings. While the indoor facility remains open throughout the year, in the spring and summer a lot of archers practice their skills with varying targets amidst a group of trees off Britannia Park Road.
According to Tyler Moore, the club’s president, the sport has seen increased popularity in the last couple of years. Although he attributes some of the local growth the sport has seen to recent movie releases Brave and The Hunger Games, Moore noted that archery has grown throughout the province.
“There are about 900 kids participating in the Junior Olympic Program in Saskatchewan,” said Moore. “Most clubs in the province are at capacity.”
Needless to say, archery has experienced exponential growth. And it’s not too expensive.
“You can get an entry level kit for about $600 and you can begin competing right away,” said Moore.
A basic archery kit comes with a bow, sight, release and arrows. While you can compete as soon as an archery kit is purchased, practice always makes perfect, whether it be for target archery, 3-D archery, or field archery.
Years of practice for Moore have brought with it numerous awards. He has collected 18 first place medals at the provincial level, a couple of top-5 finishes at nationals and a North Dakota State Championship.
Moore’s bow, with all of the accessories added to it, is valued at about $2,200.
Although he now competes in the upper echelon of archery – there are 22 levels – it’s also about coaching the youngest of archers.
Asked what the biggest key to archery is, Moore and Jason Cleave, a coach at the club, both said patience.
“When you get down to it and you know all the mechanics about archery, it’s 90 per cent mental,” said Cleave. “Mental patience is very important.”
Although patience is key when it comes to archery, so is posture. It’s one of the things Moore and Cleave have spent so much time coaching Junior Olympic Program competitors on.
“Posture is your basis for everything,” said Cleave. “We work with the kids on their position all the time.”
Whether shooting, for example, at a 40 or 60-centimtre wide target, 18 or 24 metres away, archery is something for the whole family.
“It’s the only sport I’ve found where your entire family can do it at the same time,” Cleave said. “They can all shoot at the same target.”
For Hailey and her younger sister, 10-year-old Meaghan, they enjoy competing alongside their dad. Hailey beat him in a competition last June and Meaghan is hoping to follow her sister’s lead.
Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks