by Susan Michaud
When looking for an activity that can be enjoyed by young and old alike, any time of year, and with little investment, Boyd and Carol Wild have just the answer.
Introduced to archery in the early ‘80s, Boyd had no idea that it would become an integral part of his life and that of his family. Boyd started his adventure into archery with a traditional stick bow and came to love the sport. Bowhunting became a family activity that he and Carol are now passing down to their grandchildren.
In his effort to serve the archery/bowhunting community, Boyd opened his shop, Archery in the Wild, in Longmont, selling bows, arrows, and related necessities as well as providing custom-made strings and other services to his customers.
After operating for 20+ years on the Front Range, Boyd and Carol moved to the Kremmling area where most of their children live as well. He continues to help archers and bowhunters, working with 4-H’ers and most anyone who has an archery question. And archery continues to play a big part in their family. Their children are all archers and hunters, and as they grow, the grandchildren are being introduced to the sport also.
Boyd’s love of the sport is contagious, and many young people in the Kremmling area have been introduced to archery through him.
“I want to get as many kids involved [in archery] as I can. They are the future of the sport,” Wild enthuses. “The first time they hit the bull’s eye and their eyes light up…it’s so awesome!
“And archery is not just a guy’s sport. Everyone can learn and enjoy it,” he continues, “There are bows available for all ages and for women as well as men.”
With a bow and a handful of arrows, families like the Wilds can learn a sport that will not only entertain but also promote confidence, patience, hand-eye coordination, communication skills, focus as well as great exercise.
For any age, getting out in the fresh air and sunshine and moving is a good idea. Drawing back a bow, practicing balance and breathing, and practicing correct form all come with additional physical benefits everyone needs.
Archery is an easily adapted sport that most people of any ability level can enjoy. Some very successful archers are missing limbs, so the opportunity exists for anyone to learn the sport and enjoy a feeling of success, regardless of physical capabilities, with correctly applied adaptations. Archery is also a sport that can be enjoyed year-round, indoors or out, which allows for the flexibility that families need to work around jobs, school, and other sports activities.
Children are ready to participate in archery when they can follow safety instructions and physically drawback and shoot a bow. To compete, they also need to know how to focus and set goals.
Archery can also lead to many exciting opportunities as children get older. According to collegescholarships.org, “Surprisingly, there are a number of archery scholarships now handed out by various schools and private organizations. There are at least three areas of special interest pertaining to the art of shooting a bow: it is viewed as a competitive sport, as a style of hunting, and also as a traditional woodsman’s skill, part of the Native American legacy.”
And for those whose skill and passion lead them to the ultimate sports challenge, the values of the USA Archery organization are right in line with those we hold dear here in Grand County. Archers who hope to become Olympic and Paralympic competitors must adhere to the U.S. Archery High-Performance Ethos, which is quite impressive. On the usarchery.org website, the organization states, “The USA Archery High-Performance Ethos defines the culture that USA Archery wants to represent through our behaviors. We strive for these behaviors and values in our athletes, our coaches, our staff, our programs, our teams. Ultimately, we believe that living out these behaviors and values will make us more successful as an organization and in return develop more successful individuals.”
In this high-level US Archery culture, wins and losses are a team event. It is not about one great archer but about how a team functions together and demonstrates the following values:
- Honest, timely, and transparent communication
- Respect, Integrity, and Humility
- Trust and Standards of Excellence
- Duty, Legacy, and Team Player
- Engagement and Support
- Priorities and Follow-through
- Success – which is defined as not only winning but winning well by fulfilling their Ethos.
Due to the highly adaptable nature of archery, it is a sport many take into retirement as the Wilds have. Seniors find archery to be a fulfilling social outlet, and when it becomes a family sport, they can gain more time with their extended families. It is rare to find a sport that multiple generations can all enjoy and compete in.
In Grand County, the Grand County Archer’s Association (GCAA) offers a free, 3D archery range from June through October as a public service for all to enjoy. According to their brochure, “[the] range is located on the Mary Jane side of Winter Park Ski Area in the Arapaho National Forest. The 3D range starts at the Utah Junction parking lot and traverses its way up the mountain. Unlike other archery ranges, the GCAA range starts at 9,800 ft. and is made up of 28 life-size 3D animal targets. The range is designed so that there is something for all levels of archers and ages. Being on the Mary Jane Mountain, our hike-through course [provides]… plenty of challenging shot opportunities that will surely test your archery skills and prepare you for your next bowhunting adventure.”
GCAA also offers a sight-in range with targets placed at 20-60 yards, youth archery clinics coordinated with Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District, monthly 3D archery shoots, Thursday night members’ fun shoots, and a spring and fall mountain clean-up. More information is available at grandcountyarchers.com.
At the YMCA of the Rockies’ Snow Mountain Ranch, archery is available year-round with both indoor and outdoor ranges. Sessions are 45 minutes long and cost $8 per session with a limit of 10 guests per session. Participants must be 5 years old or older. Signing up is easy at snowmountainranch.org/activities.
As far as the Wilds are concerned, families looking for an activity that includes everyone need look no further than archery, and Boyd Wild is willing and able to answer archery questions and give some sage advice. He can be reached at (720) 652-9100.