Archery surge targets public parks



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Posted on July 18, 2012 at 10:07 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 18 at 10:25 PM

PLANO — Though it dates back thousands of years, archery is hardly a relic.

"It is an old sport. It's right after sticks and stones," said Clint Montgomery of the Texas Archery Academy.

But bows and arrows are back.

"That's right," Montgomery said. "We get a lot of little girls who are jacked up about 'The Hunger Games.'"

The teenage girl from the "The Hunger Games"is an expert archer. The sport is also featured in the Marvel movie "The Avengers." In addition, it's a staple in the new Disney Pixar film, "Brave."

But it's not just girls, and not just children developing an interest in the ancient art. The crowd at the Texas Archery Academy's indoor range in Plano is quite diverse.

"We started not knowing anything about archery," said Rusha Kamal. She is originally from The Sudan, and started bringing her three children here to shoot targets with bows and arrows several months ago.

Even on Wednesday evening, two dozen people showed up for an Introduction to Archery class at this facility.

There's a push under way to put archery ranges back in public parks. Most cities phased them out 50 years ago. But the Texas Archery Academy is urging cities to reconsider.

Lewisville told News 8 that it is exploring the idea; so is Dallas.

"We're trying to develop 50 municipal archery parks across the State of Texas," Montgomery said.

This sport is no longer just an activity at summer camp.

Since 2004, Texas Parks and Wildlife has trained teachers in archery at 701 public schools, said Burnie Kessner, the agency's archery coordinator. That has exposed more than 40,000 students to the sport by teaching them concentration, discipline, and self-confidence, he said.

Archers are convinced the old sport can flourish again if cities eventually agree to allow new ranges in their public parks.