In mid-January, Bridgette, Melissa and myself traveled to Indianapolis to the ATA show. It was 3 days of nonstop networking, product searching and fun! On the drive home, I knew that I had to share my passion for archery with others. I know so many women who have never touched a bow, or think that they are simply not strong enough to try. On a whim, I reached out to Genesis. I explained Wildlife Women to them, my passion and love for archery and my desire to get more women involved in the sport. The response I received just confirmed I was on the right track. In less than a week, I received 2 Genesis bows at my front door! So, I set the event on Wildlife Women and called it “Sticks and Strings and Pretty Lil’ Things”.
Like all events, I need somewhere to host it. What better place than O’Brien’s Archery in Ashland, KY. A locally owned and operated bow shop, who sells a variety of Mathews and Elite bows and houses an indoor shooting range. Junie was happy to accommodate my group. We chose a date and time that worked for both our schedules.
I’ve been shooting archery since I was 10, but I wanted someone else to teach so I could enjoy the event too. I asked one of the most knowledgeable archers I know to be our Guest Speaker. Tom Huff, a family friend and a mentor of mine, was excited for the opportunity to share his love of archery with a group of new and experienced archers.
The day of the event, the weather was crappy. We were expecting severe thunder storms and possibly hail and damaging winds. I arrived an hour early to set up the Wildlife Women display and prepare with Tom. My niece, Madison was the first to arrive. I may or may not have bribed the college student with a home cooked meal to get her there, but she showed up nonetheless. She had never held a bow or considered shooting one before this night. Tom’s wife and youngest daughter, Lisa and Emily, came out. Lisa thought she was just there to support me, but I insisted she participate. She is the only one in her household who doesn’t shoot. Emily, a former NASP archer, prefers a crossbow but was excited to refresh her compound skills. Two of my co-workers, Tammy and Vaishali, were hesitant but curious about my passion and came to check things out. Lastly, another co-worker, Kara came after her husband heard about my event and shared it with her. She and I both were surprised we shared the same passion for archery.
Tom led a very informative seminar about archery basics and safety. We lost power for a split second but no one even considered leaving. He had made string bows for everyone in attendance. As each girl watched and took everything in, the anticipation to shoot was growing for us all! As we lined up on the range, each girl was given a bow or used their own and the first arrows flew. The excitement was contagious. As Tom and I walked the line and offered encouragement to each shooter, I couldn’t stop smiling. As our time began to wind down, we had a shoot out to give away door prizes. Everyone got 1 shot to hit a very small target in round 1. Three out of six moved on to the second round. Two of those three were first time shooters. The winner of the shootout was Vaishali. Lisa also got a door prize for her second place shot. Both winners were first time shooters!!
I was so pleased with this event. My turnout was amazing. Tom did an amazing job instructing. I was on such a high after leaving I could hardly sleep. Just thinking about the smiles on those girls faces, the squeals when their arrows hit the bullseyes, the overall experience I got to share with them was life changing. If you have ever wanted to learn to shoot a bow, I encourage you to find your closest Wildlife Women chapter and express your interest. I am planning to host another archery event for women later this summer so keep an eye out for that!
Special thanks to Trina from Genesis for the generous donation of the bows, Junie at O’Brien’s Archery for opening his business to us and Tom Huff for preparing and executing a wonderful seminar for the event.
By: Erin Stump
O’Briens Archery Inc.
7120 US Route 60
Ashland, KY 41102
Follow O’Brien’s Archery Inc. on Facebook at
Special thanks to Genesis Bows for the donation of Bows to Wildlife Women so we can Educate, Inspire, and Encourage more women to get into the outdoors and enjoy it.