The Southern Illinois Archery Club is preparing for a Tri State Qualifier competition this Saturday and Sunday at the outdoor range in rural White County. The range is located off the Herald Blacktop at 404 County Road 1125 East near New Haven. Ricky Sauls (co-founder of the club with Doug Nelson) says he started the organization mainly for his kids and just as importantly so he didn’t have to drive them 2-3 hours to the nearest competition. Bradford Sauls, Ricky’s oldest is an accomplished shooter. His first year of competitive archery, Bradford was ranked 9th in the nation among college age archery participants. His second year he finished 5th. He is entering his third year and would welcome the opportunity to compete at the Olympics and make a career out of archery.
Ricky says he expects more than 150 folks to descend upon the archery range in rural White County over the weekend, most hoping to qualify for their state competition in Illinois, Indiana or Kentucky. Sauls is also planning to bring the Scholastic Archery Association to the region. It’s a young program only in it’s 4th year and was started in Eastern Kentucky. Sauls says he loves the after school program because it doesn’t depend on how fast competitors can run or how high they can jump. It’s an activity that anyone can enjoy and participate in.
The club also recognizes the benefits through potential scholarship access. This year at the national tournament, to be held in Metropolis, IL, more than a million dollars in college scholarships will be at stake, Sauls estimates. He’s also been named the Illinois Scholastic 3D Archery State Coordinator and he hopes to help the sport continue it’s growth pattern. He’ll be visiting with Norris City schools in the near future and he expects to follow up with Carmi and Hamilton County.
Learn more about the Southern Illinois Archery Club by typing it out in the facebook search bar. You can also email [email protected].