One-day archery class draws interest at Trinidad State
Valley Campus / August, 2016 / Written by Margaret Sanderson
Any wife who has ever tried to learn a skill from her husband can probably tell you a story that doesn’t end well. At the day-long archery class Trinidad State hosted in July, one participant in the all-female class said, ”My husband wants me to shoot, but he doesn't know how to teach me. All he does is just make me mad!” After the class, she confidently said not only could she shoot better, but now she knows why.
Another student, who completed the Trinidad State Law Enforcement Academy last May, had never shot a bow. She said, “This is the coolest. I’ve got to get a bow. This is fun!” Jack Wiley, Dean of Instruction at Trinidad State in Alamosa, also attended the training. He explained, “With her recent Law Enforcement training this student was pretty buff. When the female instructor struggled to pull back a bow, the student took it, ripped it back and asked, ’Now what do I do?!’”
Many people know that Trinidad State has a premier gunsmithing program in Trinidad. Gun enthusiasts from all over the world have studied there. But, what about archery enthusiasts? Would it be viable to offer archery on the Alamosa Campus? To investigate that possibility and become more informed about the sport, two Trinidad State Valley Campus administrators attended the Archery Trade Association (ATA) meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, last spring. “They had every kind of bow and arrow you can think of,” said Wiley. Encouraged about the potential for archery instruction at the college, Wiley proposed a one-day archery class to help determine the level of interest. He felt the test drive on July 23 was good enough to warrant trying it again in the fall.
“Hunting is big business,” said Wiley. “In addition to bow and arrow knowledge, bow shop owners, as well as their employees, need to have marketing and business skills, be able to operate a computer and build a spreadsheet, order and stock shelves and track inventory.” One complaint that Wiley has heard in bow shops is the difficulty in finding trained bow technicians. “Bows are expensive,” he said, “and serious bow hunters want to take their bows where they have confidence in the technician.” In the past, Valley bow hunters had to take their bows out of the valley for service. Now they have a choice.
On February 1st Bud Howard, who relocated to this area from Texas, opened the Bucks N’ Bulls Archery Pro Shop in Monte Vista where all types of bows are serviced (tuned). They also make arrows and sell four different brands of bows – Hoyt, Mathews, Elite and Bear.
While in Louisville, Wiley connected with Brian and Patrice Siravo, a husband and wife team from Denver who volunteer teach with the Archery School of the Rockies. On the Rockies’ website Brian Siravo said, “I want to help others find enjoyment, growth, and passion through archery as it allows people of any age or physical ability to achieve their goals and find ways to say “yes I can!” It’s about something greater than just shooting arrows at a target.” He has trained participants from four to 89 years of age, some with severe physical limitations – in a wheel chair, missing an arm and even a blind person. “I believe every person can participate in archery despite physical limitations,” Siravo said. “Go online and read about “the armless archer” who was born without arms. He uses his feet to shoot a bow and holds the world record for the world’s longest archery shot.” He said archery helps kids focus better in school and improves their behavior.
The couple competes in and teaches archery nationwide. Wiley was pleased to have such creditable instructors. He said they were very organized. They spent about five hours in the classroom before the students ever touched a bow. Students then shot the traditional Long Bow, the Olympic recurve and compound bows. Siravo said there are over 21 million archers in the United States who are members of archery organizations and many more who are not. The sport is rapidly growing in popularity.
His wife, Patrice, said, “Archery has been a breath of fresh air (literally and figuratively). Indoors or outdoors, young or old, strong or “getting stronger”, it doesn’t matter - everyone can enjoy the sport of archery and improve their performance, while enjoying a family-friendly, positive environment.”
According to Siravo his twin thirteen year-olds are better shots than he is. For the Siravos archery is a family affair.
The Siravos were impressed with the Piedra Vista Archery Range where the class practiced. They plan to bring life size 3-D targets if they return to teach another class. “It was a neat place to be – up Rock Creek in the mountains,” said Wiley. “We appreciate the use of the range.”
Wiley explained that bow hunting is generally practiced from 15 to 50 yards from a target whereas rifle practice requires much greater distances. He also said that many hunters feel it is a safer hunting sport, partly because bows simply don’t have the range that rifles do and bow and rifle seasons do not happen at the same time.
For more information or to express interest in future archery classes, call Jack Wiley at 719-589-7064.