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Archery quickly becoming popular American past-time

Archery as a hobby and sport began as early as the late 16th century, and while mainly a British sport, the popularity of archery has soared in recent years. Largely owing its resurgence to release of films such as "The Hunger Games," "Brave," an...

RoughRider Archers is an archery club that has called Dickinson home since the late 1970's. Its goal, to provide people with a safe and fun environment to shoot archery with other archers, continues to this day. Photo courtesy of RoughRider Archers.
RoughRider Archers is an archery club that has called Dickinson home since the late 1970's. Its goal, to provide people with a safe and fun environment to shoot archery with other archers, continues to this day. Photo courtesy of RoughRider Archers.
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Archery as a hobby and sport began as early as the late 16th century, and while mainly a British sport, the popularity of archery has soared in recent years. Largely owing its resurgence to release of films such as "The Hunger Games," "Brave," and "Lord of the Rings" - which featured protagonists adept at wielding bows - archery has become the 21st century's golf in terms of leisure.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, archery is one of the safest sports in the country for youth to participate in, featuring less injuries than soccer, golf, and baseball.

RoughRider Archers in Dickinson has both an indoor and outdoor range and allows members of the club to use the facilities at any time of their choosing.

The President, Steve Berger, says the sport is as challenging mentally as it is physically but that the sport is growing in popularity.

"Mentally, archery is very much more demanding than it is physically," Berger said. "You have to be aware of your surroundings, be able to repeat the same processes to get that arrow to go where you want it to, you have be able to think like that animal. The mental element of this sport outweighs the physical greatly."

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An archery club that has called Dickinson home since the late 70s, its goal remains just as it was when it was founded - to provide people with a safe and fun environment to shoot with other archers.

"I moved to Dickinson in 1988 and I joined the club in 1990," Berger said. "This is my third time as the club president, and today we have more than 160 members and growing. Just being able to go out and talk with the other people at the events is just really enjoyable."

Recently, the club hosted its annual Indoor 3D shoot in Dickinson on 16-17 March at the Dickinson State University indoor arena.

"We've hosted this DSU shoot every year for the last 25 years and are really appreciative of the support we receive from the university," Loren Adams, secretary for RoughRiders Archers Club, said. "It's a really popular event, but our most well known is by far our Medora event. We've had an outdoor shoot every year in Medora since we started."

Adams said that the club's events attract on average 100 to 250 people, and that when most people experience their first time releasing an arrow and watch it soar through the air they experience the magical connection to years past.

"Even if your arrow only finds dirt, the experience is thrilling," Adams said. "When it comes to the costs associated with starting out in archery, the options are endless and fit every budget, skill level, purpose and person."

The popularity of the events hosted by RoughRider Archery were evident at the DSU indoor arena, as throngs of eager shooters representing a wide array of ages and proficiency levels toed the line with hopes that their arrow would fell one of the 3D targets.

"This event at DSU today saw about 200 people. A lot of them are from out of town, we get people from Williston, Bismarck, Mandan and a few stragglers from all over the state," he said. "Archery is a leisure thing for most people who use these events to fine tune their hunting ability, but there are those that come with fancy equipment and are primarily tournament sport shooters."

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Adams said he wanted people to know that the events hosted by RoughRider Archers aren't sport tournaments, and that any scores kept are done by the individual for their personal uses.

"A lot of people, when they see a shoot like this, they think it's a tournament and they don't want to come and compete and perhaps look foolish or something," he said. "The thing is, it's not a tournament and no one keeping score. If they came and tried it once, they'd probably love the heck out of it and would come and shoot all the time."

For more information about RoughRider Archery, visit their Facebook page www.facebook.com/roughrider.archers .

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