By Tom Barker

The part of Texas roughly between Houston and Corpus Christi and over to the San Antonio and Austin area has one of the largest 4H archery projects in the United States.  Every year in the fall several of the small county clubs host invitational tournaments for the kids that participate in the project.  It all culminates in early December at the district championships.   2002 was a banner year.

We had over 300 kids sign up for the project and over 250 shot at least one of the eight tournaments through the fall.  Many kids shot multiple tournaments and in multiple disciplines.  All total there were almost 900 entries, of which almost 70% are under 12 years of age.  There were two young ladies with almost 30 entries between them.  Over 60 of the entries were what we call clover kids.  These youngsters are too young for 4H (less than 8) but we let them come and play for participation only.  In other words there is no competition, and they all get an award.

Another new and significant group this year is our barebow entries.  In 2002 there were an even 100 barebow entries.  Many kids after shooting their regular round with their recurve or compound will strip off their sight and then shoot barebow to challenge themselves.

About 30 of these kids will play year round in the TSAA and NAA events and another 30 or so will shoot 3D.   A fair number also use their archery skills to be accomplished bowhunters.

Several of the District 11 kids go on to compete at state, national, and now international events.  Several District 11 kids have gone on to outstanding collegiate careers and collegiate All-American status.

District 11 4H archery is a great place to learn archery and then have some fun with it too.

By The Numbers:

*We had 897 entries from October through December in the 8 tournaments
including Fort Bend and District (including two entries by a guest who
paid but didn't turn in his score sheet so it was not counted in the
individual tournament numbers.)  This represents over $4500  in
registration fees once you count the team entries.  If concessions are equal in
revenue to registrations that means the clubs grossed about $9000 in
revenue.
Summary
Entries By Clubs:
 
Entries Per Tournament:
Bee
35
 
 
Brazos
2
 
 
 
Calhoun
116
 
Calhoun
124
Colorado
87
 
Columbus
94
E Matagorda
133
 
E. Matagorda
118
Fayette
6
 
 
 
Fort Bend
32
 
Ft. Bend
84
Goliad
122
 
Goliad
92
Lavaca
22
 
 
LaWard
45
 
LaWard
114
San Patricio
6
 
 
Tiger Sharks
139
 
 
Victoria
84
 
Victoria
126
Wharton
65
 
 
(Guest Travis Cox
3 times)
 
 
Total Entries
897
 
District Entries
143
We had 51 “graduations” during the year!

252 different archers shot in these tourneys

 A more detailed look at the entries is also insightful
- Andrea Garner had the most entries with 14 with Kisha Acuff close behind with 13
- There were 63 clover kid (under 8 years old) entries
- There were 75 Senior compound entries
- We had an even 100 barebow entries
- There were 556 Sub-junior entries or 62% of the entries are the 12 and 
	under kids, even with the 60 arrow per day limitation


I am not easily impressed, but these numbers sure impressed me.  It is
amazing what happens when folks work together.  A couple of things that
we have done right jump out: the clover kids, the graduations, the focus
on the entry level archery (sub-juniors) and the barebow inclusion.  I
am also pleasantly surprised at the senior retention especially since
they really only get one entry per tournament and have so many other
things competing for their time  It is also apparent that the project is
still growing by looking at the new counties participating.  We are
doing something right!

Editor's Note: Please make notice of the number of barebow entries - 100 ! - There is a LOT of young archers learning to shoot without a sight, and doing quite well. Andrea Garner, for example, is at this point 5th in this world-wide  barebow mail-in tournament of adults (she is under 16!).  (http://www.lokostrelec.org/3wcbb/rw.htm ). Her score of 470 (on a 40cm target) from the A&M Indoor is admirable for most archers with sights! In this indoor season since the Aggie Indoor, she registered scores of 527, 503, 495, 532, 535, 517, 505, 504, 502, and 519, all on 60cm targets.  Obviously not just a flash in the pan and not bad for having first picked up a bow in 2001!  

During one of these tournaments, Garrett Poncik shot a 290, and then decided to shoot a 295 on his next 30 arrows, which he did. Thereby earning both an NAA JOAD Olympian award AND the rare SILVER OLYMPIAN.  Way to go, Andrea, Garrett, and all the kids of district 11!