In the last column I wrote about Ron Smith, a past member of the Prince Albert Timberland Bowbenders Archery Club. Ron passed away recently. Ron may not be with us now but that which he loved is still here for others to explore – archery - through the club he served.
To gather information for this column I interviewed two members of that club – Ron’s wife Shelley Smith and the club’s President John Cannon.
John Cannon and his son first explored the sport of archery in 2002. It was Ron Smith that assisted them that evening, and it was Ron’s wife Shelley that nominated John for the office of President in 2007. This past December John decided to step down and let, “new people takeover.” That lasted three months and John was pressed into service again.
“The volunteers of the club make it what it is.” John reports that the club, by everyone working hard, now has financial stability.”
That volunteerism enabled the club to host the Canadian National Outdoor Archery Competition in August of 2019. Over 600 competitors from across Canada gathered in Prince Albert enjoying fantastic weather, top notch facilities, fun filled fellowship and superlative archery. “It was a complete success,” says John.
John was then recognized as ‘Volunteer of the Year’ for Archery Canada. His response, “Others made me look good.”
Well that may be true John, but you and your club members also make Prince Albert look good.
And that ‘look’ continues. For eleven of the past thirteen years, due to the existence of fine facilities such as the Alfred Jenkins Field House, the Prince Albert Bowbenders have hosted the indoor Provincial and the Junior Olympic Program Competition, involving well over 600 participants each time.
At those competitions, Prince Albert archers have reached the medal podium numerous times including one year when eight of the Bowbenders dominated the competition.
Thanks to all of you that work hard to bring us the fun of Archery and the ‘challenge to be a straight arrow.’
Archery truly is for everyone – female, male, children, adults, seniors. I should know as I joined as a senior and found myself at the line beside ten year old Ian Pannell. Ian outshot me and several others that night – dang you Ian! But accredited coaches were there and were more than willing to help me recover. And they will be there for you too.
In my interview with Shelley Smith, she spent much time outlining the Junior Olympic Program. This program encompasses ages 6 to 21. Shooters compete not against each other, rather they compete to achieve badge levels. Everyone starts at the ten metres line, then progresses to the fifteen meters and on to the eighteen metres. As a result by challenging badge levels, not competing for trophies, one might find a youngster at the same line as a 21 year old. The name of the game is self improvement and learning self discipline under stringent safety rules and friendly coaches.
Shelley herself is a most accomplished archer. She has competed at the Provincial, National, and at the World’s where she placed second in the 3D event. She proudly told me her daughter Jenah ranked 6th at a World’s event in Utah, U.S.A.
When I asked Shelley how she and Ron first got into the sport, she smiled and said, “Our son, Jared, at the age of six back in 1995 wanted to try the sport. We took him to the range and soon he was bugging Ron and I to join him. To spur Jared on to develop the discipline the sport demands, we told him we would join him if he ever won a medal. He did. That same year he went to Provincials, and in his age category he won Gold. So it was pay up time. We entered the sport. It has been a love that became part of our family ever since, creating strong family bonds and much time together.”
Perhaps my wife’s reaction as she listened to our interview sums it up the best, “What a legacy. What a wonderful thing to be part of.”
To check out this great sport and the club that promotes it go to: www.timberlandbowbenders.ca