By Russell Sellers, Army Flier staffMay 3, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- In a time when the Army encourages Family resiliency, Josh and Stacie Newman have found an activity they can enjoy together here - the Archery Club.
Josh has been an archer for more than 20 years and recently convinced his wife to give it a try.
"I was a little apprehensive about trying it at first but now I love it," Stacie said. "I've been hooked ever since I hit my first bull's-eye."
When possible, the couple also tries to bring along other Family members for a variety of reasons.
"This is something we can do together as a Family," Josh said. "It's also a great and unique skill-building exercise. We love it so much we even bought a bow for our 8-year-old daughter."
The Newmans aren't alone in their love of the sport. The Archery Club is a fast-growing pastime for many Soldiers and their Families. Membership has been steadily increasing over the past few years. The total is up to 150 so far this season.
"We're doing really well so far," Howard Beeson, founding member and former president of the Archery Club, said. "This is the beginning of a new season and we've already got 21 new members."
Beeson, a National Field Archery Association certified instructor, has worked with the club since 1974 and still loves to train new members.
"We work with them to teach them the basic skills they need to start shooting," Beeson said. "I've been shooting all my life and it's my goal in life to pass on the knowledge and skills to as many people as possible."
The club, located off Whittaker Road at Lake Tholocco's East Beach site, offers a variety of challenges for members. There is a 28-target range, which uses 3-D targets at a variety of distances through a scenic patch and a practice range which has targets at 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 yards away from a covered pavilion.
Current club president Larry Cornell is expecting to see even more people becoming interested in the club as the season progresses.
"Things usually take off as we get closer to deer season," Cornell said. "We started a little later this season due to the weather, but now that things are moving along, I think we're going to get even more people interested in giving it a try."
Some of the new members quickly discovered how much there is to do with the club and plan to be regulars at the weekly club shoots. Shoots occur Thurdays at 4:30 p.m. and cost $4 per member.
"The terrain and the course here is great," James Frost, who recently transferred from Fort Campbell, Ky., said. "Fort Campbell was nothing like this."
Frost also plans to bring his Family to the club to let them experience the course with him.
"The kids will definitely be coming with me when they get here," Frost said. "This is a great activity for all of us to do together."
Membership to the club costs $20 but children under 16 participate in the club shoots for free. For more information about the Fort Rucker Archery Club, call 389-6135.