Second Annual Congressional Bow Shoot

 

We did it again!  The archery and bowhunting community brought first-rate equipment, professional industry and 3-D shooters as instructors, and lots of good humor and old-fashioned family fun to the U.S. Congress. And the collective effort was a bull’s-eye.

 

Despite an extremely busy election year schedule, 13 Congressmen, 1 Senator’ and several Congressional and Capitol Hill staff families – some flew in their entire family from as far away as California – enjoyed the Congressional Family Archery Night and the 2nd Annual Congressional Bow Shoot.  These events, sponsored by AMO, Pope and Young Club, NFAA, SCI Bowhunting Chapters, and the Archery Shooter's Association, continue to provide our Capitol Hill guests with a chance to meet the best shooters in our business as well as 1988 Bronze medallist and 2000 Olympic team member Denise Parker of Hoyt and 1988 individual gold medallist and team silver medallist Jay Barrs of Easton.  Throw in bowhunting celebrities Dwight Schuh, G. Fred Asbell, Dr. Dave Samuel, and PSE’s Pete Shepley, and add world-renowned trick-shot artist, Byron Ferguson for entertainment, and you can see why the Bow Shoot has become a can't-miss event for many in the Capitol Hill political crowd.

 

Of course top-notch equipment makes the job of teaching easier and introduces our guests to the many small-businesses that make up the industry that supports all archery and bowhunting.  Companies that contributed to the effort were: Easton Technical Products, Precision Shooting Equipment, Mathews Archery, Hoyt USA, Parker Compound Bows, Seneca, Bear/Jennings, Golden Eagle, Darton, Custom Shooting Systems, Game Tracker, Sure Loc Archery Products, Cobra, True Flight Arrow, API, Delta, McKenzie Targets, Morrell Targets, Scout Mountain Equipment, Neet Products, and Pape's Archery.  PSE and the Archery Shooter's Association provided on-site pro shop service while the staff of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, assisted by the AMO staff, handled the logistics for the events as well as for all the guests.

 

The recreational shooting day was capped off with a reception on the Rayburn House Office Building that was well attended and was a chance for our Congressional friends to thank the archery community for their efforts.  Many of the professional shooters, industry representatives and bowhunting leaders enjoyed an impromptu tour of the Capitol, including a visit to the Chamber of the House of Representatives, guided by Congressmen Brian Bilbray (R-CA) and Duncan Hunter (R-CA).

 

"The purpose of these Congressional shooting events has been to expose Members of Congress to archery, teach the Members to understand why archers and bowhunters do what we do, and, finally, to lead these influential policymakers to accept our sport and become advocates for the great recreational opportunities afforded by archery and bowhunting," said Jay McAninch, former Executive Director of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation and new President/CEO of the Archery Manufacturers and Merchants Organization.  "Unless you actually can be part of the event, see the faces and hear the comments," said McAninch, "Most in our sport couldn't imagine how much the Congressional Members and staff are impressed with the spirit of the people representing the many small-businesses and mostly family-owned industries in our sport.  Many Members go away with warm feelings for the people who make up all aspects of the archery family."

 

By another measure, the Bow Shooting events have been a success.  As the Congressional Bow Shoot celebrated its second year, Congressman Don Young (R-AK) (who has become a great friend of bowhunters), has shepherded a bill that would put several million dollars into hunter education and shooting ranges through the House Resources Committee on a unanimous vote and through the entire House of Representatives by a 417 to 2 vote. Clearly, we have found that making good friends on Capitol Hill can be advantageous to our sport.  More importantly, we have learned we don't have to spend thousands of dollars lobbying for votes – we just have to be ourselves and introduce people to archery and bowhunting.