Colorado and Bill Pellegrino’s Archery Hut

I’m just back from Colorado Springs where we visited family and attended my cousin’s wedding, although by this writing she and her hubby are somewhere in Mexico, sipping cold drinks and enjoying newlywed bliss.

While there we spent time exploring, hiking, catching up with family and getting some mundane tasks done that I never find time to do in my regular working life, like buy shoes, etc.

The family at Helen Hunt falls

Of course, I took my bow along. You can see a picture of my custom bow case below.

Custom bow case

I was glad to see everything in the “custom case” traveled fine and after reassembling the bow and getting my kit in order I looked around for an archery range. What comes up on the web right away is Bill Pellegrino’s Archery Hut, so I grabbed my bow and went.

Bill Pellegrino’s is on the east side of Colorado Springs, just east of Powers and Platte. I walked in and was impressed right off, the shop is clean, well stocked with bows and archery accessories as well as having a knowledgeable staff and a service pro shop where they were busy tuning bows for customers. I paid for range time which is a good deal at $ 7.00 for all day shooting. Your 7.00 bucks includes a paper target, your choice of style. I picked an NFAA indoor blue face target and walked out to the range.

The range is large with 29 lanes, quality Block brand target butts, floor quivers and plenty of bow racks, 10 yard, 18 meter and 20 yard lines are clearly marked. I could also see 3-D animal targets on the side of the range, so I imagine they have indoor 3-D shoots in the off seasons.

Well appointed 29 lane range

There is a separate section on the opposite side of the range where there are 4 close-range target butts. The staff is constantly using this area to paper tune bows, measure draw weights and help clients.  I also spied a chronometer set up in that area.

I was allowed to use this space (during a break in the action) to  blind bale practice, as I’ve been working on smoothing out my release and follow through.

A customer paper tunes his bow.

They also have a JOAD (Junior Olympic Archery Development) program on Saturday mornings 8-10:00 for $10.00 per session. Which by the way is a good deal for JOAD.

A young lad gets set up with a new bow, dad is in the background looking on.

Staff helps a client fine-tune his sight.

The shop appears to primarily be a compound bow shop. They absolutely have recurves and other types of bows and accessories for them but their bread and butter seems to be the modern compound bow, which makes sense given the popularity of compounds for target and hunting, which is huge in this area.

Overall my impressions were very good, this is a clean, well organized shop, with a great facility, reasonable prices and knowledgeable staff. They are definitely worth checking out if you either live or find yourself in the Colorado Springs area looking for a good shop.

Going public – Free archery range in Colorado Springs

While in Colorado Springs, Colorado searching for places to practice and release a few arrows I ran into a public archery range.

The range is located in Bear Creek Park which is in the foothills on the west side of the city. The park also boasts lots of other cool amenities like volleyball and tennis courts, horseshoe pits, horse riding trails, a community vegetable garden, and a place to release your dogs so they can cavort leashless with other dogs.

The range is an open outside structure, built in such a way to contain any errant arrows and keep other park users safe. Impaling someone’s pooch would just not be a plus for the sport…

The back line or furthest distance you can shoot, is separated into lanes by metal pipe spacers, these spacers have pipe quivers,  there is a big trash barrel and the furthest shooting post is roofed, which helps with the intense Colorado sun, broadheads and crossbows are not allowed. The range rules are prominently posted.

While I was there two young archers with their new Samick Sage bows showed up as well as a father and his son. We took turns shooting far and near so dad and son could accomplish their goals and we could revel at how much more fun it is to miss from far instead of near.

Young archers sporting their new bows, these guys unleashed a torrent of arrows!

Dad giving tips to his son. This is about 5 yards out.

Loosing those first arrows, just magic.

There are long sections of tough black rubber that span the range width every 10 yards or so which keep any stray high arrows from exiting the range, this same rubber material is also on the face wall of the range keeping missed arrows from being impaled badly into the wood. Most just bounced off or came off very easily.

From a distance I thought the butts were made from hay bales but upon close inspection found that it was a shredded wood bale. Seemed effective but I’d be curious to see how they would hold to a fast compound bow.

You provide your own target or be satisfied with just shooting the bale.

Bales were not hay, rather looked more like shredded wood.

While I have not read it I understand that there is an ordinance against shooting bows within the city limits, say in your backyard and so having this free public facility is a big plus, it is nice to know that when the archery budget gets stretched thin and the addiction of watching your arrows soar to their mark takes a hold of you that there is a free, safe place to go to.

I don’t know the origins of this range and how it came to be but I salute Colorado Springs for having it.

Archery inspiration

I liked this promotional archery video, so I thought I’d post it, many of the world’s top archers in it, find it below:

My first time in the field

I’m just back from the State of Maine National Field Archery Association championship held at Lakeside Archery in Yarmouth and also my first archery competition ever and I won my class!

The reality check though is that I was the only traditional shooter and the only person in my class, so it was a gimme, I’m still thrilled and happy about it though, and I felt like I shot well for a beginner field archer. (258 in the traditional class)

The highlight of the day though was that I got to shoot with Laird, who’s been involved with archery since the 60’s. He was a good companion and archer, shared some good insights and made it a very pleasant way to spend most of a day. Here are some pics:

This is Laird at 60 plus yards, I can see that the signmarker just ahead of him marks 64 yards

Here is a competitor, shooting the bunny hop which consists of targets at 35, 30, 25, 20 feet, a little trickier than one would think.

Me  at 50 yards.

The shoot was split into two parts 14 field targets and 14 hunter targets for a total round of 28 targets. The hunter targets differ from the field targets in that they are all black with a white center, like the ones below. The hunter round is also different in that you shoot uneven distances and there is a greater variety of distances.

Laird’s neat compound shooting on the right and my not as neat shooting on the left.

After the shoot everyone tallied their scores and Steve from Lakeside gave out awards.

This is what the award looks like:

NFAA medal, sticker and patch

I had a great day walking and shooting in good company, had a terrific introduction to field archery and I had a win, even if it was just me. I am also thankful to the organizers Pam Gallant, Brenda Cousins and Steve Dunsmoor from Lakeside Archery for putting it all together.

Can’t wait to do it again!

My intro to Field Archery

Archery took a hold on me from the very first arrow nocked, the first draw of the string, the first arrow loosed.

I started with a recurve but was quickly seduced by the speed and accuracy of compound bows, I was able to get pretty good with the compound relatively quickly, then I received my  father’s old traditional bows and found myself shooting them more and more, sucked in by the challenge of shooting a recurve bow well.

I have steadily been practicing for months and months now, working on my form, reading, getting advice, and starting to see it pay off. Five weeks ago I purchased  a good entry level ILF rig (Hoyt Horizon, Sebastien Flute limbs) and been beyond pleased with this bow. I could own another ten, it has been a very good and flexible platform for me to take this archery habit up a notch.

When I first started, my father, mentioned that Field Archery was a great way to practice and have fun with the sport. This has been lodged in the back of my mind and with work having let off a bit, I thought it was time to find out what it was all about.

I made inquiries at Lakeside Archery (Yarmouth, Maine) and found out that the state Field Archery championship would be on Sunday the 19th.

The state championship is probably not the best way to start but I thought what the hell. It will give me a great goal and I’ll focus all my practice time on it. I was also comforted with the fact that I would be shooting, what I am assuming, will be the smaller Traditional class and If I bombed it, I bombed it, I will still have learned and experienced.

The event will be governed under National Field Archery Association rules by the state of Maine Archery Association. I looked up rules and information and although not everything is clear to me yet, I knew that I would have to practice shooting out to eighty yards, so I measured out and staked my lawn every 5 yards out to 80 and started shooting the different distances. I can say that this has already paid off, I am far more comfortable and confident now shooting at various distances than I was just a couple of weeks ago. Am I shooting perfect groups and bullseyes at 80 yards? No way, am I seeing improvement nearly everyday? Absolutely.

If I can get off work a bit early today, I will drive down to Lakeside Archery and shoot the course. I can then find out in short order what I need to practice up on or If someone needs to knock on my head some and give me a reality check!

I’ll let you know the outcome.

Best, C.

2012 Olympic Archery Results

4 AM with steaming coffee wafting up to my eyebrows, has found me intently watching the live Olympic archery stream through my laptop. I didn’t see all of it live but did catch up with videos afterwards.

Here is a quick synopsis of the medal matches:

Women’s Individual:

  • Gold – So Korea – Ki Bo Bae
  • Silver – Mexico – Aida Roman
  • Bronze – Mexico – Mariana Avitia

This match was a bit of a nailbiter with South Korea’s Ki Bo Bae  and Mexico’s Aida Roman tied in set points after the 5th set, triggering a shoot-off with closest to the center claiming Gold.

Ki Bo Bae

Ki shot first scoring an eight leaving the door wide open for Aida Roman to take it for the Gold but with what must have been just incredible pressure Aida also shot an eight which was further from the center giving South Korea the win. Aida Roman did a great job and she and Mexico can be very proud of winning the Silver medal.

Khatuna Lorig

Competing for the Bronze was USA archer Khatuna Lorig and Mexico’s Mariana Avitia. Lorig who is a veteran archer in her 5th Olympics had battled hard for the USA team, being the only USA team member to make it to a medal round in the individual challenges.

Mariana Avitia just 18 years of age looked serious and composed and opened the first set with three 10’s. Lorig started with a 27 but in the ensuing sets had a combination of brilliant shots and some low scoring arrows (two sixes). Lorig opened the fourth set with a perfect bullseye which hit the hidden imbedded target camera and bounced off creating a moment of levity in the match. Avitia was able to pull through in the 4th set with a 9 on her last arrow which was enough for 6 set points and won Mexico the Bronze.

Mexico can be very proud of both Mariana Avitia and Aida Roman for winning the first two Olympic medals in Archery for their country.

Men’s Individual:

  • Gold – So Korea – Jin Hyek Oh,
  • Silver – Japan – Takaharu Furukawa
  • Bronze – China – Xiaoxiang Dai

China edged out the Netherland’s Rick Van Der Ven by coming from behind and forcing a shoot off. China shot first on the shoot off and scored a bullseye 10, Rick Van Der Ven was not able to overcome it giving Xiaoxiang Dai the Bronze.

Oh Jin Hyek

Shooting for the Gold were Oh Jin Hyek from South Korea and Japan’s Takaharu Furukawa. Oh looked relaxed in his shooting and in total control shutting out Furukawa in 4 sets.

Oh shot a total of 12 shots. Seven 10’s and five 9’s, never slipping out of the yellow. South Korea, which is an archery powerhouse, has not had a men’s individual gold. Oh stepped up and made it happen for his country and himself.

Men’s Team:

  • Gold – Italy – Michelle Frangilli, Marco Galliazo, Mauro Nespoli
  • Silver – USA – Brady Ellison, Jacob Wukie, Jake Kaminski
  • Bronze – So Korea – Dong Hyun Im, Bubmin Kim, Jin Hyek Oh

The Korean team beat Mexico to win the Bronze. Mexico’s team is composed of archers Luis Alvarez, Luis Eduardo Velez and Juan Rene Serrano. Serrano opened the match with a 5. This cost them as they were otherwise consistent in their shooting with 8’s, 9’s and twelve 10’s.

Korea kept a steady pace posting 8, 9’s and eleven 10’s for a total score of 224 to 219. One of the interesting comments made at the match by the commentators was that all the finalists teams, Mexico, Korea, USA, Italy, have Korean coaches.

The Italy – USA match is another cliffhanger as it comes down to one point. The USA starts their first end with a 52. Italy takes the lead shooting 54 on their first end, USA answers with a 54 on their 2nd end for a total of 106 but Italy is ready and shoots their strongest end with 56 points widening the gap with a score of 110 to 106.

Italian Squad – Marco Galliazo, Michelle Frangilli,Mauro Nespoli

The Americans rally hard in the 3rd end with a 57 to Italy’s 55 to make it a 2 point spread Italy of 163 to 165. The final end comes down to 218 USA – 209 Italy with one more shot to go. Michelle Frangilli has the final shot, he needs a ten for Italy to win Gold and he delivers making the final score Italy 219 – USA 218.

Congratulations to team Italy on the Gold medal. In their loss the American team are of course winners walking away with the Silver medal, the first medal for the USA in the 2012 Olympic Games and the first medal for the USA archery team since 2000.

Women’s team:

  • Gold –  So Korea – Hyeonju Choi, Bo Bae Ki, Sung Jin Lee
  • Silver- China – Ming Cheng, Yuting Fang, Jing Xu
  • Bronze – Japan – Ren Hayakawa, Miki Kanie, Kaori Kawanaka

South Korea is matched against China for some déjà vu action of the 2008 Olympic team final. The archers are all put to the test by having to shoot in the London rain which finally relents partway through the match.

Both teams score low on the first end with Korea 49 and China 47, Korea starts the 2nd end with a low 7 shot in the rain but comes back with energy to finish the 2nd end at 103. China has a strong 2nd end making the score Korea 103 – China 102.

China falls behind 2 points in the 3rd end for Korea 156 – China 154. The Chinese women close the gap in the last end shooting 55 points for a final score of 209. The Koreans are up and shoot a 9, then 8 in which the crowd oooh’s apprehensively. The last shot goes to Ki. The score is 201 to 209, she needs a 9 to win the match for Korea and in true Korean fashion clinches it with the 9 the team needs. Final score 210 – 209.

South Korean Women’s team – Hyeonju Choi, Bo Bae Ki, Sung Jin Lee

Japan beats Russia for their first women’s Olympic medal. Russia started very strong posting three successive tens in the 2nd end. Russia gets ahead 4 points 105 – 101 but  Japan makes a comeback to end 209 -207 and goes home with the Bronze.