Some could be kindred followers of Robin Hood. Or Lara Croft, Tomb Raider. The ancient Greek Amazons. William Tell. Ishi of the Yahi tribe. The mischievous Cupid. Hunger Games hero, Katniss Everdeen. Or local archers, Cascadian Bowmen.
But who are they really, these modern-day archers? And from whence did they come?
Well, popular local lore puts the Cascadian Bowmen in Springfield in the late 1930s where they did target shooting on property surrounding a local timber mill. They were a group of hunters and hobbyists; men and women with wooden bows and arrows. They formed an archery club and practiced their shooting skills at small gatherings until 1950, when they lost access to the mill grounds. A few years later, 5 club members put their houses up as collateral on a 14-acre wooded parcel bordering the Long Tom River near Noti, and so began the second era of the Cascadian Bowmen.
Today, the original club grounds stretch over 53-acres of beautiful, wooded river land that the National Field Archery Association has rated as a 5-star facility. Marked shooting trails—including the wheelchair accessible Cougar Trail. Campgrounds and barbecue shelter. A 100-yard covered target range plus a top-flight indoor shooting facility and clubhouse. It’s no surprise that Bowmen membership has grown to 200 family-oriented shooters with few pretensions. Their archery skills span the spectrum from youthful novice to aging pro. As member Bob Cockrum puts it, “Archery? It’s a lot like playing golf. You just get yourself a group of friends and come on out!”
And get on out they do. Club grounds are open 24-7. But the nonprofit Bowmen also hosts organized, monthly activities that often draw in regional participants; like the summer’s signature event, the Greater Oregon Safari, or “trained to hunt” competitions—endurance events with shooters running trails carrying 50-pound packs on their backs.
It’s good, healthy fun, says club president, Jim Steele, and he welcomes new shooters of all abilities into the fold. Cascadian Bowmen, he says, has plenty of room to grow. “We could double our membership. And that would be fantastic!”