By Wyatt Squires
Kindel Virgin, 9, of Chandler stood frozen in her stance as she focused forward towards the target in front of her.
Virgin stood alongside teammates and competitors in the Scholastic 3D Archery indoor regional tournament hosted at Blackhawk Bowhunters Club outside of Boonville on Saturday. The competition is a qualification round ahead of the state and national competitions.
Virgin said her sisters were all participating in archery and she wanted to try it out for herself. She said she has been shooting since she was three years old.
"I wanted to join them and it was really fun," she said.
Now, Virgin is in her second year of competition and said she plans to shoot until she can't anymore. She said she enjoys practicing and competing and would encourage others to participate as well.
"For me, practicing is the best because you don't mess up when you practice a lot and you kind of just get to hang out with all your friends and teammates," she said.
Club member and Indiana S3DA coordinator Greg Ashley said the
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Blackhawk Bowhunters Club has offered a space for archery and bowhunting for more than 50 years. He said the club saw an opportunity when the S3DA program was initiated six years ago and joined in right away.
Ashley said S3DA was a way to bring in new membership while teaching a new generation about archery and bowhunting. He said the program has been successful for both the kids and the club.
"Our members have seen the benefit of having youth out there," he said. "They help out with events and with maintaining the grounds."
In addition, the club has sent several kids to state and even national competitions in the S3DA program as well as others. He said the sport is fun for the kids and teaches them skills they can use their entire life.
"It teaches them to do things with discipline and commitment," he said.
In addition to offering skills, Ashley said private colleges are offering scholarships to students who compete in archery. He said approximately $250,000 was given in scholarships in Indiana last year to contribute to the $3 million that was given through scholarships nationally.
While there are high school programs that introduce students to archery, he said those programs focus on one type of bow. He said the S3DA program integrates a variety of bows and styles to further prepare participants to advance to the next level of competition after high school.
Blake Brosmer, 17, of Chandler, said he always shot a lot when he was younger. He said he went to Blackhawk several years ago looking for another tournament, but stumbled on an S3DA competition. He was encourage to stay and has since grown with the program.
"I said sure and I loved it ever since," he said.
Now, Brosmer participates in national professional tournaments as well as other local shoots. He said he has a love for the sport and the program that has helped him travel to new places while doing something he enjoys.
"I just love to shoot," he said. "Anywhere there's a shoot,I'm going to go to it."
Brosmer said he would encourage others to try out archery and the S3DA program. He said he didn't think he would be as successful at first, but with practice he was able to win nationals two years ago and continues to compete while getting scholarships offers to continue shooting while furthering his education.
"It takes work and you have to be able to accept defeat," he said. "I see a lot of kids get discouraged. You have to accept it and keep moving forward."
Brosmer said he has his eyes set on a medical or law degree and a professional archery career.
"I know if I keep working hard enough I should be able to make it there," he said.
For information or to get involved in the program, visit Indiana Scholastic 3D Archery on Facebook or the program's website at www.S3DA.org.