By Jesse Cosens
BLACKFOOT – Time to take aim at an ancient sport, known and practiced since the time of Egyptian Pharisees, Archery. Over the centuries it has evolved drastically but to this day one thing remains true, accuracy is everything. From ancient warfare to hunting and fishing archery has become a recreation for some, and a livelihood for others. Here in Blackfoot over the weekend there was a competition not unlike the days of old, but with a few perks of modern technology. The Blackfoot River Bowmen hosted the Iron Pot 3-D Archery Shoot and Dutch Oven Cook-off. Bringing back the days of old, it was a competition for the whole family. The kids started out the fun in the morning, warm-up began in the beautiful 10-lane 20-yard indoor range run by Kody Crapo the indoor range director. After a few warm-up shots the kids were ready to start the course.
For this event there was a private course setup especially for the kids' competition. Generally the three outdoor range courses are set up to foster family shooting with stakes set at different distances so kids and parents can practice as a family but also to cater to the different styles of bows the archers come to shoot. The kids' had a chance to challenge themselves on a course designed just for them. It was a tough competition with some amazing shots. The kids' competition finished with the 1st place shooter being Wyatt Crapo who won a trail camera, 2nd place was Brexton Borden who won a target and 3rd place was Tristen Butler who won a pair of binoculars. All kids participating in the competition got a ribbon. Some of these kids started shooting when they were four years old and come here on a regular basis with their families. It is not a dad sport any more; everyone is involved even, Moms. Nikki Denning was there with her family shooting and cheering on the kids competition as were many other Moms, wives and sisters. "The emphasis here is on family and making this a fun place to go and get out of the house, disconnect from the computer and phone. Just come here and be a family," said Daniel Davis, Marketing Director for the Bowmen.
The kids kicked off the morning then as the day progressed the grown-ups started making their way through the courses as the Dutch oven competition started to heat up, literally. You could smell deliciousness drifting through the courses as the players snaked their way thorough just maintained enough courses that made traveling easy, without taking away the realistic feel of the individual ranges. Shooting this course is like going on an actual hunt. With over 40 specifically placed life-like targets the only thing different is the animals don't move. Everything else is taken into consideration from the direction the animal is facing, and placement in the foliage, to line of sight from the shooting marker, and type of target. Most targets are made from cardboard butts and burlap but some are nasty steel targets with small soft target areas the size of a softball. The echoing "TINK" from a misplaced shot lets other archers in the area someone just broke an arrow on one of those dirty little targets, even the most jaded competitor winces at that sound. Over the course of the day there were dozens of registrants in the contest, including former ASA Champion Mark Denning, but there could only be one first place winner. Archery Idaho was kind enough to donate the following prizes for the Iron Pot Shoot. The Super Bow Tune winner was Travis Butler, The 2-Free Indoor Shooting Passes were won by Mark Denning, A Hoyt T and Mathews hat were won by both Darrus Martin and Robert Nii. Congratulations gentlemen on your hard won prizes.
The Dutch Oven Cook-off had some yummy entries. Nikki Denning was in the running with her fabulous bacon-wrapped meatballs and BBQ chicken, Gene Bates, President of the Bowmen had his bubbling peach cobbler, and last but not least was Kody and Amber Crapo with their delicious Dutch oven "taters". All entrants were too scrumptious for words but like all contests there has to be a winner. This year's Dutch Oven Champion was Kody and Amber Crapo, special thanks to Cal Ranch in Blackfoot for donating the Dutch oven and cookbook grand prize.
This facility is all about keeping the sport of archery alive and open, David said,"it's about keeping this aspect of archery alive, and getting the next generations keeping it going, we cook food and have the indoor range open 24 hours you can come here anytime and bring the family. It doesn't matter if there are 50 guys waiting to shoot, they are happy to wait and will usually give pointers and advice to the kids shooting. They even cheer them on." Currently there are three main courses on the property soon there will be an additional 68 acres on the back side that will be utilized. It is to some extent now but with the growing popularity of 3-D target ranges it will be used more in the future. To become a member with the Blackfoot River Bowmen it is only $45 per year, extra $40 for the indoor range key which gives you access to the indoor range year round. For non-members there is a two-dollar fee to use the indoor range. The outdoor range is always free to shoot, come out anytime provided no 3-D tournaments are scheduled at that time. If there is a tournament, members get a discount to participate and non-members pay $20 to register. The next scheduled tournament is August 3 through 4 for the Mosquito Shoot. Until then the range is pretty much open, "You can come out here 340 days a year for free, we only have a few shoots a year." In the past there have been leagues that play competitively against other archers in the area, while there are no current leagues running the possibility is there if someone wanted to start league play again. Sponsors are what make this, much like how many other places function. It is individual donors, members and local businesses keep this range going. Not to mention the amazing staff that make all this happen: Gene Bates "President", Nick Borden "Vice-president", Karla Bates "Secretary", Liz Fredrick "Treasurer", Kody Crapo "Indoor Range Director", and Daniel Davis "Advertising/Marketing Director".
There is not an age limit; anyone can go to the range and shoot. Of course minors need to be accompanied by adults. It takes practice to become good but with modern technology people don't have to have the strength of ten men to draw a bow anymore. With compound bows now days there can be minimal resistance depending how you set it up. Anyone can learn this age old tradition. Old, young, healthy, infirm, everyone is welcome at the Blackfoot River Bowmen. Tucked in between Rose ponds and the Snake River this is a slice of hunters' heaven right on the edge of town, here is how to get there;
- Take Rose Exit 98 and turn heading west
- Veer left and go through the Rose area
- Go over the overpass crossing I-15
- Immediately turn left at the Sportsman's access sign
- Take the first right and follow the road to the end
- Turn west on Airport Road
- Immediately turn right on Rose Road
- Follow road across the Snake River and turn right just before the overpass crosses I-15 at the Sportsman's access sign.
- Take the first right and follow the road to the end.