Seven local archers are making noise in the world of archery and putting themselves on the map.
Based out of Cache Archers in Logan and Bear River Archers in Preston, Idaho, Riley Whiting, sisters Lindsay Argyle and Amber Christensen, father and son Kerry and Darrin Baird, and best friends Seneca Francis and Nicole Bassett have each left their own mark on the sport.
“We all shoot at the two local clubs,” Bassett said. “We all met there, though some of us have shot together for years. You meet some of the best people in the world. You can go to one meet a year, see those people once a year and it’s still big smiles and fun.”
Leading the way is recently-crowned national champion Whiting and national tournament participant Lindsay Argyle. At the 128th National Target Championships held on June 28 in Hamilton, Ohio, Whiting overcame a tough field of competitors to bring home the compound junior men’s title.
And while Whiting came home victorious, Argyle struggled at the competition due to illness. The 23-year-old from Weston, Idaho suffered from food poisoning the second day of the tournament, and struggled, losing her first match.
However, obstacles couldn’t prevent Argyle from a third-place finish at the Big Sky Open June 17 in Grand Junction, Colo. Argyle and Christensen teamed up with fellow club member and Cache Valley native Francis to sweep the podium in the women’s freestyle competition.
“If you shoot well, people are happy for you, even if you beat them. You get your score and they get theirs,” Baird said. “It’s awesome being on a team because you depend on each other, but in archery it’s up to you.”
Each of the archers got their start in the sport in a different way, but the group has grown to be friends both in and out of the arena.
Whiting said he got into archery because it’s something he can do together with family. He said he also enjoyed that it’s something he can always be improving at, and because of the competition.
Argyle and Christensen’s father, Benton Christensen, is a collegiate archery coach and started his daughters out shooting in the local clubs at a young age. It was through him that the sisters met the Bairds, with Bassett joining the mix about five years ago at one of the local clubs.
Bassett and her husband, Matt, originally from Utah but now living in Preston, Idaho, have competed in numerous national events and are sponsored by a shop in Wyoming – a place they travel often for tournaments and other organized events. The Bassett’s met Christensen shortly after Matt bought his first bow and got involved in tournament play.
Baird has been shooting ever since his uncle got him involved in hunting 35 years ago.
“My uncle was one of the best shooters in Idaho,” Baird said. “I met Benton when I started doing tournaments and getting serious about it. It just took off from there. I love going to the indoor circle tournaments because you meet a lot of people, it’s a lot of fun and you can make some money doing it.”
Baird introduced his son Darrin to archery at the age of eight, starting him on indoor targets and taking him hunting. Now 16 years later, the younger Baird said he enjoys the sport because he gets to travel and compete with the best shooters in the world.
Darrin currently works for Bear River Archers as an information officer, while Francis runs the website for Cache Valley Archers. Francis picked up the sport after her brother came home from scout camp and talked the sport up. She picked up his bow after he “got tired of it” and was encouraged to purchase different equipment and compete. She ended up making the junior world team.
Even though Whiting and Argyle are the only archers in the group to have competed with the U.S. national team, Christensen, and Francis have also traveled abroad to compete – including the countries of Turkey, Poland, England, Venezuela and Mexico.
All seven of the archers have competed alongside the best archers in the world – including world No.1 and current U.S. Olympian Brady Ellison.
Six of the seven archers – with Francis being the exception—are licensed bow hunters, and Francis said she plans on obtaining her license as soon as possible.
Christensen said that archery is a sport anyone got get involved in, and skill levels stretch from beginners at camps to a 4-stage World Cup each year – the third stage of which was held in Ogden in June.
“It’s kind of like golf here,” Christensen said. “You’re pretty quiet and cheer lightly. But in other countries they cheer really loud while you’re shooting. Until you actually shoot archery you don’t know what you’re missing out on.”
Baird said a good starting bow would run about $500 at a private dealership, but that the cost of equipment can quickly reach thousands of dollars as you compete and progress in the sport. Many of the nation’s best shooters hail from Utah and Idaho, which Bassett and Argyle said is because the two biggest bow manufacturing companies are located in Salt Lake City and Orem.
Bassett said archery is a good sport to get involved in because it is competitive but still relaxed, and because it’s a good way to meet and make new friends. The local clubs hold tournaments and competitions frequently, providing ample opportunity for Cache Valley residents to participate.
To learn more about the sport or to get involved, more information can be found at <a href=”http://www.cachearchers.net/”>www.cachearchers.net</a> or <a href=”http://www.bearriverarchers.org/”>www.bearriverarchers.org</a>.