Meridian, Miss. The stretch of the bow, the whoosh of the arrow piercing through the wind, and the thump as it makes contact with its target. These were some of the sounds heard at the 2014 State Games in the Archery Competition. Archery is a sport that requires patience, accuracy, form, and a love for the sport. It's these skills, plus many others learned along the way that makes a good archer.
"I've been shooting ever since I was 9 years old. I first joined Queen City Bow Club, it was a lot of inspiration, especially from the guys," said Chris Yates of Philadelphia. They really taught me a lot about archery and I ended up going to Livingston, Kentucky for the World Champion. I learned a lot and I just enjoy it."
Whether young, old, rookie, or amateur, there's fun to be had all around in the games. Semi-pro archer Dickie Dewitt, says not only does he hope to go pro one day, but the State Games allow him to come out and enjoy doing what he loves.
"Been shooting archery a long time, really enjoyed it," said Dewitt. "I just enjoy the competition and camaraderie with all my friends and fellow archers, you know just shooting together."
Participants in the archery competition shoot in the field category where they can shoot a target up to 60 yards away, as well as 3-D targets with stuffed animals placed throughout the woods at Bonita Lakes. It's this family fun atmosphere that brings many to the state games every year and for some their first year like Amy Yates of Philadelphia.
" Well like me, it's our quality time, we spend time together," said Yates. "Our kids aren't quite into it yet and we like being outside."
Whether participating for the fun, to learn new skills, the thrill of shooting, or for the competition, one could argue that being behind the bow as you release your arrow is the greatest feeling of playing the sport.