Always on target: Thirty years of Summer Archery League at Willow River Rod and Gun Club
Area outdoorsmen have a nearby haven at the Willow River Rod and Gun Club.
One of the long-standing activities at WRRGC reached a milestone when the Summer Archery League held its 30th season. The season was completed on Sunday with its annual league shoot-out on Sunday. One hundred twenty league members took part in the 30-target shoot.
With four divisions, archers of all skill levels compete in the league. There is an impressive group of archers making up the A League. Eric Gibson finished the year as the top scorer with a 291.5 average. A perfect score is 300.
There are a handful of members who've been to nearly every one of the league shoot-offs. One of them is league chairman and tournament coordinator Ron Roettger. He's competed in the last 28 years of the tournament and he's been the chairman and coordinator for the past 27 years.
Roettger said when he joined the league, there were seven teams involved. This year there are 34 teams competing and the number of teams has reached as high as 40.
The league shoot-off has developed into a weekend event. League members spend Friday setting up the course, which is made up of foam animal targets ranging in size from quite small to moose and caribou. Competitors shoot at targets marked on each animal. They can receive a maximum of 20 points if they hit the vital area of the target on their first shot. Scoring descends down from there, based on the proximity to the vital target.
The shooting is based on a handicapped system by distance. Flags are set for the shooters, with the top shooters taking aim from the furthest distance away. Archers of all age ranges compete. The youngest archer in the competition Sunday was 6 years old, while the eldest was in his mid-60s.
The league draws from a large geographic area. Roettger said there are competitors from four counties, drawing a number of archers from the Twin Cities and eastern Minnesota, along with up and down Wisconsin's western border.
The champions in each division were:
First - Brady's Brewhouse: Eric Gibson, Tory Johnson, Steve Warren and Kelly Cook
Second -- Lange Decorating: Mark Lange, Todd Larson,Roger Rivard and Pat Cloutier
Third -- Tombstone Creek Outfitting: Jim Obermueller, Dan Hastings, Dan Nagel and Toby Smith
First -- JDS Remodeling: Josh Simon, Ben Simon, Dustin Frank and Cole Johnston
Second -- Fatal Attraction: Casey Quinn, Kyle Quinn, Aaron Forrest and Doug Wendt
Third -- DEY: Scott Smith, Chris Schaeffer, Ray Langness and Rob Schmidt
First -- BBC&P: Dennis Sharp, Brad Sharp, Collin Sharp and Brad Coulter
Second -- M&M R&S: Dennis Miller, Hayden Miller, Sean Richardson and Arne Skatrud
Third -- MKustom Knives: Mitch Kittel, Arlen Kittel, Kristin Thompson and Cory Thompson
First -- Prime Time: Dave Kieckhoefer, Billy Kieckhoefer, Rick Flandrick and Megan Flandrick
Second -- High Impact: Ashley Kieckhoefer, Jenny Kieckhoefer, Kathy Kieckhoefer and Mike Kieckhoefer
Third -- X-Ring: Greg Carlson, Guy Carlson, Karrin Carlson and Carrissa Carlson
After the competition on Sunday, the competitors held a long-range shooting event to show off their marksmanship. The winner of the event hit the target from 80 yards away.