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1948 – 2017
Club aims to carry on archery tradition
Submitted on Tue, 08/14/2012 - 12:00am
Way back in the 1940’s, the Delhi Archery Club didn’t have a permanent home.
In fact, a group of first generation Belgians would gather at various tobacco barns in the area to take part in a sport that’s near and dear to their native land.
Eventually in 1948 they did find a home at the Delhi Belgian Club and have been there ever since.
That tradition is carried on today, and while the club doesn’t get quite the same amount of people out, they do have three different leagues and a host of trophies to boast about.
“Some people really enjoy it and get involved in it and some people don’t even know that we exist,” said longtime club executive member Mary Ann Pieters. “A lot of them say, ‘we didn’t know this was here’ and we just look at them and say, ‘we’ve been here for quite a long time.”
The style of archery used is referred to as “Pop ‘n’ Jay” and involves shooting an arrow with a plastic tip from 65 feet away at a stand that includes a variety of targets.
The club takes part in three tournaments a year, the tri-county meet that features groups nearby, national and international competitions. They’ve traveled as far as Detroit to compete, and the Delhi club will play host to the national competition in April.
The season runs from October until May, months that include many of laughs along the way.
“Everybody has fun.” Pieters explained. “If you want to correct yourself, someone is always there to help correct you or showing you what you’ve done wrong, but it’s a fun night. We all have fun and joke around - we make everybody feel comfortable, even the newcomers that come in, we make them comfortable.”
This summer the club will open its doors to both the local 4-H club and Boy Scouts, something that tends to get a few more kids involved in the sport. The youngsters don’t necessarily find themselves in a different group as the adults either – accumulate enough points and you can represent the group at tournaments regardless of age or experience.
“If one person is 50 years old and you’ve got more points than him, you’re ahead of him to go shoot in that competition.” Pieters said.
The cost to take part with the club is a drop in a bucket compared to most activities. Just $5 per shoot and a $5 membership fee is all it takes, and that money can be recouped by hitting targets on club nights that win specific amounts of cash.
No prior experience — or even equipment — is necessary to join either.
“Just come out and get a feel for it and see how you like it,” Pieters said addressing the public.
“We give them one of our bows and our arrows to shoot and if they’re interested they’ll keep on for a while and we’ll try and find them a bow and some arrows or tell them where to go to buy one.”
Those interested in joining the club this season can contact the Belgian Hall at 519-582-1830. Jacob Robinson