By Margaret Gill
Looking for something to do with your Saturday? Check out El Dorado Archers! For only $5, you can rent a bow and arrows and start learning archery basics from certified coaches. It’s the perfect opportunity to try something new and meet new people.
It also makes for an excellent family bonding activity. “Our classes are considered family oriented so that the whole family can participate,” explains AnneMarie Riggle, the President of El Dorado Archers. The safety and beginner levels are open to all ages, so everyone can join in.
Coach Tod and his daughter, Nausikaa, are the perfect example of how archery can become a lifelong family pastime. They started taking classes together when Nausikaa was only nine years old. “We came, we took our safety class, and, after that, my daughter was hooked,” said Tod. It wasn’t long before the other coaches recommended that Tod become an instructor, since he was spending so much time at the range. But it was Nausikaa who truly had a knack for teaching others. Only a year or so after she started taking classes, she was already giving pointers to much older archers. “She was really observant and would pick up on all the conversations I had. She started speaking like she knew what she was talking about, which she did. She was really respected, and people really listened to her as a teacher of archery, not just a ten year old.”
Nausikaa became a certified coach as soon as she was legally able to at 15, and, although she’s now away at college, her legacy continues at El Dorado Archers. Her work as an instructor has inspired other children to help coach, as well. “Kids do a better job of teaching kids,” Coach Tod explained. Having younger archers assist the adult coaches makes archery a lot less intimidating and a lot more welcoming, especially for children.
But the classes at El Dorado Archers aren’t just for families, and they’re certainly not just for kids. Take club member Jack, for example. He started taking classes at El Dorado when he was well into adulthood. “I drove past the park everyday on my way to work, but I never stopped,” he said. It wasn’t until his research on Mongolian history led him to seek out a bowman that he finally took a class. He fell in love instantly. “Archery is the only sport I’ve ever been involved in where I enjoy practicing,” he said. Even now, at 79 years old and recovering from lung surgery, Jack is still at the range every Saturday. His genuine passion for the sport shows how archery can become your new favorite hobby at any age.
Although archery can seem a little intimidating, the coaches and club members at El Dorado Archers make new students feel comfortable immediately. Their hands-on teaching methods ensure that you’re always safe and constantly improving. Taking the safety class can make for an exciting one-time experience, but you’re more than likely to find yourself falling in love with archery.
New students must take the safety class first, held every Saturday at 9:00 A.M. Sign-ups start at 8:30A.M the day-of. Classes fill up quickly, so be sure to come early! After taking the Safety class, you can move onto the Beginner level, where you’ll learn scoring and form. The Advanced level is open to archers who successfully pass the Beginner class and teaches tournament rules and games. The range is located at 7550 E Spring St., and El Dorado park charges an $8 entrance fee. Check out their website eldoradoarchers.com, Facebook page, or Instagram (@eldoradoarchers) for daily updates and more information.