SPEARFISH — Each morning before the first bell rings at Spearfish Middle School, students are in one of the gyms shooting their archery equipment at targets.
The school’s archery program began four years ago, and has seen its membership grow significantly, especially since last year.
During the 2019-2020 school year, around 20 students participated. This year, around 70 kids are active with two-dozen showing up on any given day, said Kelly Singer, who along with his brother Dale Singer, coach the team.
The club has students from sixth grade through high school participating Mondays through Thursday mornings.
“Dale and I are both archery shooters. We just wanted to something positive for our kids to come in and do, and kids involved in shooting sports is the big thing,” Kelly Singer said.
And Saturday marks the state tournament.
Typically there are two state tournaments — one using bulls eye targets, and the other a 3-D shoot. This year, due to COVID restrictions, both tournaments will be hosted at individual schools throughout the state and the coaches will submit the scores.
The students use Genesis bows — the same bows used in the PE program. The bows are shot without sights.
“So having 600-plus middle schoolers and high school shoot PE, and then throw in 70 kids a week shooting four days a week, our equipment gets used up pretty quick,” Singer said.
Both Singers started shooting in grade school and remain avid archers since then.
Students are taught how to shoot safely.
“You teach the student to respect the equipment,” Singer said. “ Neither a bow or a gun is inherently bad, so we teach them proper etiquette with them, what they are meant for, and what they’re used for, and hopefully that builds a better outcome in our society in the long run.”
When weather is nicer, Singer said the students will shoot at the walking range located on Christenson Drive.
Some of the Spearfish students have seen competitive success in the program making it to the national competition.
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