New archery event at Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports State Tournament

Find out the newest archery event at the Michigan 4-H State Shoot that helps prepare youth for national competition.

The Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports State Tournament is an exciting event with over 500 participants, nearly 200 volunteers and hundreds of spectators, all of whom collectively add enthusiasm and even some drama to the event. Participants are nervous, volunteers are busy as ever and spectators are anxious to see their favorite competitor shoot their best.

Adding to the excitement in 2016 was the introduction of a new archery event, the “Archery National Tournament Class.” The event was geared toward better preparing Michigan youth for competition at the 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships. Ten Michigan youth attended Nationals this year with four participating in archery. This new offering allows youth to experience the national tournament format of archery competition in anticipation of attending Nationals.

The Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports Board of Directors approved this new archery class for the 2016 state shoot for contestants 15 years and older using compound bows. The class will require a combination of target and 3D archery skills, and serves as a pilot class for possible permanent addition to the state tournament event list. Youth shoot 12 arrows at a distance of 30, 40, 50 and 60 yards at various targets in a format similar to Olympic Games archery events. Next, participants shoot 12 different 3D targets on the 3D range at unmarked distances to a maximum of 50 yards.

The intended goals of the new event are to:

  • Provide exposure to and develop archery skills across a broader range of archery formats that are promoted by different national archery organizations.
  • Increase interest in applying for an archery team member to represent Michigan at the national tournament.
  • Support retention of older members by providing another unique option at the state tournament.
  • Increase 4-H shooting sports membership from non-4-H youth who participate in non-4-H affiliated archery events.
  • Serve as one of many evaluation pieces for possible future pilot class options that may include members younger than 15 years old or members who use recurve and longbows.
  • Identify and evaluate the level of coordination required along with the viability of providing multi-discipline archery opportunities at the state event.

Mike George, former Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports board member and archery event coordinator of the 2016 Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports State Tournament, said, “The camaraderie amongst contestants was the best I’ve seen in YEARS. Kids interacted, joked, supported each other, and get this: they actually helped one another! To me, it was almost like they were trying to get everybody to be the best they could be, and that was the proudest moment I’ve experienced in years. Granted, each wanted to do well, but I came away feeling that it was just as important to them that the others did well, too, and that is rare at that event. By getting them out of their comfort zone and pushing their boundaries, they bonded for the sake of ‘making the best better!’”

The Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports program continues to expand training and learning opportunities for youth and adults. This allows youth to discover new thresholds of experiences and learn in ways they are suited. Adults benefit, too, by matching their skills to be more effective in their engagement with youth. Michigan State University Extension encourages participation in new experiences that are safe and expose youth to science involvement with 4-H Science: Asking Questions and Discovering Answers.

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