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September 15, 2014

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Archery’s Hollywood revival is on target

Using a bow is badass, especially for female characters

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Merida takes aim in Brave.

I keep seeing headlines like, Movies make archery cool again, and I have to laugh, because archery has always been cool to me. I discovered the sport at age 9 at camp. It didn’t involve running in the heat of the summer. I also discovered I was decent at it. I went on to become an archery instructor in my college days and still teach the occasional lesson.

Friends tried to convince me to read the Hunger Games trilogy, and I initially resisted but became interested once I saw the trailers for the first film, featuring Katniss Everdeen and her omnipresent bow. In the past decade, movies like The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Avatar and The Avengers have helped popularize the sport, but now, thanks partly to Katniss, it is finding a whole new demographic: female archers.

Archery has become badass and women who can shoot are being looked at as role models. With the popularity of Hunger Games, people are reminded that archery is not a male-dominated sport. Most competitive archery is done with compound bows, which work on a system of pulleys that bear most of the weight, creating a more even playing field for men and women.

In the early trailers for The Five Year Engagement, the lead character’s young niece gets a hold of her uncle’s crossbow and says, “I’m Katniss,” as she shoots her aunt in the leg. The line was later changed to, “I’m Pocahontas” for the film, but it still goes to show the spreading appeal of modern day archers, even to younger girls.

Teen girls, the target demo of the Hunger Games novels, gained a new hero in Katniss, who uses her bow to hunt and defend herself from enemies. Now younger girls can look to Merida, the archer protagonist from Brave, Disney/Pixar’s newest flick. The fiery redhead defies age-old traditions in the film and uses her archery skills to get out of trouble.

From Hollywood to our hometown, the trend is spreading. Seventeen year-old local archer Christiana-Marie Wilburn from Las Vegas Academy is Nevada’s female student archery champion, who represented our state in national competition this year.

If you want to hop on the bandwagon, there are several places to shoot locally, including Bass Pro Shops at The Silverton, the Silver Bowl Sports Complex behind Sam Boyd Stadium and the Clark County Shooting Complex on North Decatur Blvd. Just remember to always keep your bow pointed at the target or the ground, and don’t shoot your aunt in the leg.

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