Three Terrace Whiskey Jack archers head to B.C. Winter Games this weekend, and say they are nervous but excited to compete, make friends, and learn.
“It feels good [to be able to go to Winter Games] but I think I’ll be nervous,” said Craig Durando, one of the three archers selected to go.
“I’ve never shot in front of people like that before.”
Durando has been with the Whiskey Jacks since Grade 3, six years ago, and said his interest in the sport was peaked as a little boy when he watched his neighbour Jaco Fourie, club president, shooting in his backyard across the street.
“I was just watching out of my window, and then one day I had enough money and went out and bought my own [bow]. I went over and he showed me how [to shoot],” Durando said.
“I just thought shooting things would be fun,” he said of what drew him to the sport, adding that now he likes improving his shots and being able to shoot farther.
At Winter Games, Durando said he is most looking forward to the chance to make new friends and meet people who share his interest in archery.
Kailey Halvorsen, who is also going to the games, said the same.
“[I like] meeting new people who are doing the same thing I am doing, and learning from them,” she said.
“I like to see how I do against other people,” she added of competition.
“It’s nerve wracking, but I’m excited… It’s fun as long as you ignore the anxiety and just do your best,” she said.
Halvorsen joined the Whiskey Jacks three years ago after her sister picked it up and got the family interested.
“It seemed like a fun sport… I like how it’s technical, it gets you going,” she said. “I enjoy learning different things about my bow and knowing the different things.”
The other special part of the sport is how it has involved her whole family, and become something they do together as a family, she said.
Hannah Stewart is the third Terrace archer going, and said it was family that got her involved in the sport as well, with her dad prompting her to try a summer archery camp four years ago.
“I went and fell in love,” she said, adding that she first joined the Prince Rupert Eagle Eye Archers, and last year moved and joined the Terrace Whiskey Jacks. She says she enjoys the concentration of archery and knowing how to use a bow so she can hunt if needed.
Of Winter Games, Stewart said she especially looks forward to the archery itself at the games, since she loves the sport.
“I’m a bit excited, a bit nervous,” she said.
The Terrace archers were selected to represent the northwest zone with two archers from Prince Rupert and one from Prince George.
Assistant coach Norm Halvorsen said they have been putting in extra practices to arm themselves for the games in Penticton Feb. 25-27.
He said the quality of an archer’s bow makes a big difference, but the key is calm and steady concentration.
“Everybody is a little different. It’s a matter of keeping calm, so you are not jumpy. You find that spot where you are comfortable so you can let that arrow go and it’s consistent,” he said. With that as their aim, archers will shoot 10 ends (rounds) with three arrows at targets 18 metres away.