Norsemen Archers On Target With 4-H And Adult Leagues

It’s a question of depth perception before the opening night of league bow shooting at Norsemen Archers in Portland.

It could be because there’s no lighting yet behind the targets, or it could be that the spaciousness of the new $300,000 archery club has some e ect. Regardless, the distance to the targets in 20 yards.

“That’s what happens when you’re in a big building compared to a little tunnel,” Ben Basol, archery club member, quips.

“The closer, the better,” says Tyler Good, who consistently finds the center X on most of his targets.

“It’s going to be fun to finally ing an arrow,” Ross Thykeson concludes.

Craig Klabo doesn’t have as far to travel as Berg; he lives about two blocks away.

With the minor distance matter settled, eight shooters load arrows from their quivers, take aim with their bows, draw back and release, the thud of the projectiles hitting near the bull’s-eyes echoing o the walls.

“This building is absolutely fantastic, especially with the 4-H kids coming every Monday. The place is full of kids,” Klabo said.

“I think it’s been since 2006, 2007 since we’ve had 12 teams for league,” Basol said.

Maynard Gunderson used to shoot on the old range at Viking Hall. He agrees the facility is “nice and big. I wasn’t a member, but now that I’m retired, I thought I’d get into it.” Someday, they may line up wall- to-wall.

Each of the shooters will re 60 arrows over 15 ends, taking about an hour before the next teams shoot. The targets are raised or lowered after each end.

If you’re aiming at the larger center ring target, the scores for the rings are the for the X (bull’s-eye), then four, three, two and one for the respective outer rings.

Experienced marksmen can fire at a card of the same-sized targets, the points for the X in the white, four points for hitting anything in blue.

Youth take aim

Funding to replace the former Viking Hall came from private and public donations, plus the North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund and North Dakota Game and Fish.

Basol estimates Norsemen Archers has hosted “quite a few social functions” in the new building since last spring, including four wedding dances. There’s been plenty of interest from adults and 4-H youth.

Angie Johnson, Steele County Ex- tension agent, told the Tribune there was interest in starting a 4-H archery program back in November for both Steele and Traill counties.

“We had such an overwhelming response,” Johnson said. “At our initial meeting, we had more than 40 kids and their folks who were interested. We don’t have a building in Steele County that has enough space or can guarantee practice.”

Some brainstorming with Marlene Motter, who teaches archery in the Hope-Page School District, led John- son to contact Norsemen Archers, who, along with the Finley Wildlife Club, donated money for equipment.

As a result, there are two lights of 4-H practice on Monday evenings, beginners taking aim from about 15 yards at 6 p.m. and senior youth at 7 p.m. More than 35 kids attended the first night, Jan. 9. Most of the youngsters can handle a 20-pound bow and about a half-dozen own their own. The kids receive coaching from about a half-dozen instructors.

Johnson said the Steele/Traill Archers will have their first competition Saturday, Jan. 21 in Bismarck.

These kids have fun,” Johnson said.”I can’t thank Ben, Ross and Greg (Thykeson) enough for their support. I’m so excited for this. 4-H is really growing. There are kids who’ll be ready for tournaments.”

Spacious building, small targets

Aaron Berg, who lives between Mayville and Hillsboro, expressed, “I love shooting here. It’s beautiful. I’ve been shooting a bow since I was eight or nine.”

And practice at Norsemen Archers makes perfect when deer hunting.

“Most deer that I’ve shot have been within 20 yards,” Berg said.

“The closer, the better,” says Tyler Good, who consistently finds the center X on most of his targets.

As Ted Nugent preaches, “Aim small, miss small.”

Craig Klabo doesn’t have as far to travel as Berg; he lives about two blocks away.

“This building is absolutely fantastic, especially with the 4-H kids coming every Monday. The place is full of kids,” Klabo said.

Maynard Gunderson used to shoot on the old range at Viking Hall. He agrees the facility is “nice and big. I wasn’t a member, but now that I’m retired, I thought I’d get into it.”

There are hopes of installing acoustic panels to absorb the echo plus polishing the floor, a five-figure expense according to Basol. They’d also like to replace their 3-D targets, which are red at from 30-to-40 yards.

There are membership rates for both individuals and families. Basol estimates Norsemen Archers has 70 members. Tuesday and Thursday adult leagues will last until the middle of March, then tournaments will be conducted for two or three weeks. Now if Ol’ Man Winter cooperates.

 

By James R. Johnson – Traill County Tribune

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Mayville City Auditor

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Portland City Auditor