New Ag Expo archery range now open
By Kerri Bartlett, Assistant Editor
Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson looks on as Macy Hall, 12, prepares to draw back her compound bow.
Finally archery enthusiasts can now hit the bulls-eye safely in Williamson County at the new archery that just opened Thursday, June 20 nestled adjacent to the Ag Expo Park, 4215 Long Lane, Franklin.
Archer Macy Hall, 12, a student at Columbia Academy, launched her first shots bright and early Thursday morning at the free outdoor half-acre grassy range with 10 stations, ranging in distance from 10 to 60 yards.
The “Katniss Everdeen” in training has been honing her skills in the sport for about three years already, and is glad to have a new facility where she can practice.
“I like how you can come out and shoot for as long as you want,” Macy said.
“I feel powerful,” she said when she plays the sport, which is gaining interest in communities across the state.
For a sport that has been growing since the 1970s according to Jeremy Hall, owner of The Archery Den, archery has seen a resurgence in popularity.
“Many schools are adopting archery as a school program or club across Tennessee. Throw in a few movies and 'The Hunger Games,' and it’s cool now,” Hall said.
The National Archery in the Schools Program supported by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency offers archery programs across the nation and the state of Tennessee has seen much participation. Lipscomb Elementary houses an archery program as well as several other schools across Williamson County.
The new archery range is located adjacent to the Ag Expo Park, 4215 Long Lane in Franklin.
Hall’s shop is located across the street from the Ag Park, and he said that archery sales spiked when the movie "The Hunger Games" movie was released last year.
“It’s a sport that was previously dominated by men, but now we are seeing interest in the sport more evenly between men and women,” Hall said. If you have the heart or desire to pursue the sport, anyone can succeed.”
The county and the TWRA partnered to bring the range to Williamson County, and the Ag Expo Park seemed to be the ideal place.
“The Ag Expo Park is a part of the fabric of the community, and we are blessed to have it. This activity [archery] will grow, and it’s a good example of how the county and the state work together to provide a service for the people of Williamson County,” County Mayor Rogers Anderson said at the range dedication.
“Some are hesitant to try it because they think that archery is a dangerous sport, but it’s actually very safe. The only sport safer than archery is badminton,” Hall said. “We have all kinds of people shooting now, even people shooting out of wheelchairs.”
Kenny Wallace, executive director of the Ag Expo Park, believes that the range will draw a new crowd to the park and will satisfy a growing interest in the community.
“We are all about community and drawing in a different bunch of folks. We want to have something for everyone,” Wallace said. “The construction of the archery has spread by word of mouth, and I think it’s a great partnership that brought the range here.”
Julie Schuster, Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commissioner, District 6, said that she thinks archery is a productive sport for kids.
“I think it’s important for youth to show passion for the outdoors. With so many of our youth playing video games indoors, this gives them an opportunity to start growing an appreciation for the outdoors early. We are now seeing a resurgence in the sport,” Schuster said.
Posted on: 6/20/2013