Traditional archery is a growing sport

8th annual Howard Hill Southeastern Classic hosts different traditional archery shoots.

It wasn’t too many years ago that if you shot a bow — a compound bow — you were among a select group of hunters who loved the pursuit of that extra challenge. It seems now the trend is even going one step farther. More and more archers are taking up the sport of traditional archery.

No release, no rest, no sights, just bare bow and instinct. The challenge and, consequently, the reward, doesn’t get any better than that.And if you’re not convinced of this, come out to the 8th annual Howard Hill Southeastern Classic to be held June 1-3 at Tannehill State Park in Alabama. In 2011, there were 520 in attendance, giving this event well over 500 participants for the past four years.

You’ll find some of the top names and vendors in traditional archery such as Black Widow, Slidell’s own Acadian Woods, Byron Ferguson, Northern Mist Longbows, G. Fred Asbell, Yumi Bows and many, many others.

In 2011 there were 14 states represented there, including all the states surrounding Alabama, and some long-distance travelers, too.  Pennsylvania, Indiana, Arkansas, Michigan, Missouri and Oklahoma had participants there. There was also a father and son from Australia who made the trip specifically to compete in the event. This was the second year there had been traditional archers from Australia.

The Howard Hill Southeastern Classic is a multi-round format, meaning one can shoot unlimited rounds over the course of three days, and the highest score counts.

For the competition of the Howard Hill Southeastern Classic, there are 10 classes with first-, second- and third-place awards in each class. These include Men’s Seniors, Recurve, Longbow and Selfbow, as well as Women’s Recurve, Longbow and Selfbow.  For the younger group, there’s a Junior Class, ages 12 through 15; a Youth Class, ages 8 through 11; and the Cubs Class, ages 7 and under.

In addition to the regular multi-round competition, there’s also a Men and Women’s Championship Shoot-Off held late Saturday afternoon. The first-round top 32 scores of all men and women from Friday and Saturday will compete

It’s a person-against-person competition, and the winning man and woman receives a custom Howard Hill Longbow.

There’s also the “ONE SHOT-ONE KILL” competition in honor Howard Hill. The competitor must use a Howard Hill or Howard Hill Style, straight-limb longbow that meets certain specifications to be able to compete. There is a special stake placed at each target on the main course, and the competitor gets only one round to compete.  A very unique plaque is awarded to the winner in this competition.

In essence, the Howard Hill Southeastern Classic is really three tournaments in one: The Classic, using your best score; the Shoot-off, using your first score; and the One shot–One Kill.

The most important thing you need to know about this shoot is that everyone has a place there. It might even be your first day with a recurve or longbow, and you’d be sure to find countless invitations for camaraderie and shooting advice.

Traditional archery is alive and going strong.