The Mother of all Shoots

 

Beating 200 competitors, Jack McNalley of Cadogan AB shot the tube on this 
animal target.
 
Red Deer - On March 2, 3 and 4, the Red Deer Archery Club and Airdrie’s Big Horn Archery Club hosted the Mother of all Shoots, the largest indoor archery competition in Canada, sponsored by Hoyt Archery, a leader in archery products.  Archery includes bow hunting and target shooting and represents a multi-million dollar industry in Canada.  It is therefore no surprise that six hundred competitive shooters from Alberta, Saskatchewan, BC and the U.S. came to compete at this event, and shot well over 50,000 arrows over the course of the weekend at Red Deer’s Westerner Park!
Ten years ago, John and Pat Wiun of Red Deer came up with the idea of a large archery shooting competition. They named it “The Mother of all Shoots” or MOS, knowing that passion and archery skills would bring more competitors every year to their event.  As they were in the planning stages of the 10th anniversary of this successful event, John suddenly passed away: fuelled with a desire to make John’s dream of the “largest Mother yet” come true, Pat and their two sons forged ahead.  With a large contingent of enthusiastic volunteers and 600 shooters registered this year, they made it happen!
  Any visitor entering the Westerner Park and walking among the hundreds of competitors – of all ages, including women, children and teenagers!- had to be impressed with the huge variety of bows being carried and stood up on their little plastic stands on the ground.  From camouflage-themed bows of various styles to glitzy, brilliantly coloured and futuristic, high-tech bows, the six hundred compound and recurve bows on display were an impressive representation of this world-wide industry that designs and produces hundreds of styles of bows, tagged at a wide price range.  
A Leduc resident joined his two friends from Spruce Grove for a weekend of intense shooting and tough competition.  Jeff Vrolyk, of Leduc has been hunting with Ken and Albert Smith, of Spruce Grove for many years.  The challenges of bow hunting have been a shared passion in the twenty years of their friendship.  They have pursued improvement and excellence in their target shooting skills, and a large competition like this one would be a great opportunity for practice, and for evaluating one’s skill in a competitive environment.  
A trade-show stood shared space with the shooting range in the largest arena.  
Several interesting displays were promoting and selling bows, arrows and archery accessories and business was brisk.  Other displays showed off two American bow hunting TV shows such as “Nock On” and “Boneyard”.  A simple and colorful display promoted Camp He Ho Ha, a summer camp for individuals with disabilities and a corporate retreat.  Another display boasted large photographs of wildlife on behalf of the Alberta Conservation Association:  Diana Rung, a biologist with the Association, was enthusiastically answering questions about the various programs initiated by the ACA’s crown land management, its natural resource enhancement initiatives, such as fish stocking of Alberta lakes, the Wildlife Project, Species At Risk and the Report-A-Poacher program.  She encouraged visitors to visit their website, www.ab-conservation.com. To follow in the family tradition of most sports, the Regina SK Martin Archery’s busy booth was manned by Kerri Lovelace, whose dad founded the company nearly fifty years ago.  Keri now runs Martin Archery as well as Golden Arrow Archery in Regina, and represents many archery products and manufacturers.
The competition schedule was meant to ‘handle’ six hundred shooters, and was jam packed with activity.  After the Friday night provided a practice session, the three Saturday morning rounds of twenty-seven 3D animal targets began in earnest.  The first day of competition was intense and the Saturday evening saw the five hours-long Hoyt Pro-Am Competition where more than 150 shooters shot thousands of arrows in well-planned rounds meant to earn them points.  Simultaneously,  the Shoot For The Tube competition was taking place next door, where competitors of 18 and older had one arrow each to attempt shooting  into a one-inch tube placed in the flank of an orange pig target.  Out of 200 shooters,  Jack McNalley of Cadogan AB was the sole winner and had his choice of one of two big prizes, a Festival Ford new pick-up truck, or a Gasoline Alley Harley Davisdon motorbike.
Target shooters of all ages, men and women, joined bowhunters with a competitive streak .  Three young lads from Red Deer -Zone 4-, had just returned from the 2012 Alberta Winter Games hosted in Spruce Grove; Clayton Adams and Ryan Adkins shared a pride to have been competitors there, along with their buddy Nash Rowe.  At 12 years of age, these young lads already have a ‘track record’, having earned medals at the FITA-sanctioned shooting event at the Games (Federation of International Target Shooting) and at other provincial competitions.   Clayton recalled how he tried archery as a Cub, loved it, and begged his parents to buy him a bow, and here he was, not in his first big shoot….  Ryan earned a Silver Medal in a Provincial Competition in 2010 and most recently, did a presentation at his school in front of a large group of elementary students. He shared his enthusiasm for the sport, stating that having been a part of the Winter Games was a ‘big step’ in this sport that he loves and intends to pursue as an adult!  
A young international archery champion of 24, Ashley Wallace has already experienced the sweet taste of victory on a global stage. Introduced to archery as a child while in an after-school program, she has pursued excellence with a keen focus.  At the age of 16, she traveled to her first international competition in England, when she was ranked 7th in the world in her age group.  She has more recently competed in the 1st stage of the 2010 World Cup in Croatia, and continues to excel with her compound bow.  Archery is not an Olympic sport yet, but it is definitely alive and well on the international scene.  Now ranked as the World’s 17th Best Female Archer, Ashley’s performances can be viewed on You Tube.
Archery is still developing, and accepting new competitors. Dana Adolphson, a UofA nursing student, was introduced to the sport only four months ago, and already made her way into this huge archery competition.  Her mother Debbie Adolphson, a UFA director and a dressage athlete and her sister Marla came to support her and seemed enthralled by the various aspects of the sport.
The 2012 Mother of All Shoots offered other challenges: the Hoyt customer Barney Shoot-off was a fun event where the target was a large steel purple dinosaur.  The Sunday afternoon Grand Prix Cash Shoot-off and Hoyt Bow Shoot-off allowed the shooters more opportunities to win cash and Hoyt bows.  The Hoyt Team Challenge was a combined weekend-long scoring event.   There were also the Novelty Shoot, the Kids’ Mystery Shot event and the Trophy Book Archery Draw, another youth event.  At the conclusion of the weekend, John Dudley, the popular TV host of Nock On and a world-class bow hunter, was the fun MC of the Awards Ceremony.  All in all, the impressive success of the Mother of all Shoots was the proof that the sport of Archery is growing every year, and probably a serious contender to become an Olympic Sport someday… probably soon enough for the current junior shooters!

 

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