Archers of all ages have an opportunity to test their skills and compete in two different events at the 2013 Mountain High Games at the Payson Event Center. There will be Open Archery Range Shooting from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, May 31 and the 4-H 3-D Archery Tournament starting at 8 a.m., Saturday, June 1.
The Saturday event is designed to encourage families to participate together.
Bud’s Plumbing and Chasin’ A Dream Outfitters sponsor the 4-H 3-D Family Archery Tournament. Over the last several years the event has been very well attended. Last year the competition drew more than 100 competitors ranging from peewees to veterans.
4-H clubs, amateurs and professionals are all invited to participate. The entry fees are $30 for a family (immediate family members); $20 adult; $15 youth/cub; $10 4-H participant; and peewees are free.
Ken Crump organized the first archery competition at the games, then called the Sawdust Festival, four years ago, and has continued to help bring the event to the festivities.
“Archery is near and dear to my heart. My parents were both traditional archers (and very proud of their trophies) and I spent a good part of my childhood standing in front of three stacked hay bales, shooting arrows I’d made myself from a bow I’d modified to suit my left-handedness,” Crump said.
When he retired and moved to Payson he had the opportunity to teach archery to children in the NASP After School Archery Program. He said the children embraced archery and there was always a waiting list for the Payson Parks and Rec NASP sessions.
“Four years ago, Payson’s passion for archery led a group of parents and archery enthusiasts to propose Gila County’s first 4-H Archery Team. A group of four of us volunteered to coach the team. Since its beginning, the Northern Gila County 4-H Deadshots have dominated the Arizona State 4-H Archery Tournaments,” Crump said.
The same year the 4-H archery team was launched, Cameron Davis approached the team’s organizers about putting on an archery tournament for the Sawdust Festival.
“I told Cameron that I would head up the archery tournament project for the Sawdust Festival if he allowed me to make it a 4-H Invitational Archery Tournament as well. That was the birth of Payson’s 4-H/Family Fun-Shoot Tournament. We’ve held it four years, and it’s grown every year. It’s a lot of work to put on, and all of the hours required to set up the nearly 30 3-D targets, to run the tournament, and to tear it all down each year are volunteered by the Northern Gila County 4-H members, their parents, and the 4-H archery coaches.
“It’s a labor of love for all of us. Personally, one of my favorite parts of the tournament is watching the excitement about archery ripple through families. Often, friends, parents and siblings of the nearly 100 participants return the next year with bows and arrows in hand, determined to join in the fun,” Crump said.
All archers competing in the archery contest enter the Event Center from McLane Road. You will be directed by one of the course marshals over to your parking area. It is asked that you proceed with extreme caution, as there will be many people that are milling around getting ready for the other events to start.