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Archery club to host bow tournament April 11

NATCHEZ — Vidalia resident Derrick Dungan has his sights set on the target, and is ready to release the string of the bow.

On Sunday, April 11, Dungan will oversee an archery tournament at Natchez State Park. The tournament is part of Dungan’s aim to revive the Kanahal Archery Club in the Miss-Lou, and he plans on targeting as many bow enthusiasts as possible to garner their interest.

“Me and a friend of mine, Will Reeves, opened the club back up last summer,” Dungan said. “We both shoot together a lot, and one day I said to him, ‘Why don’t we open it back up?’

“He told me it’d be worth a try. The interest is still here. I don’t know if it’ll be as big as it was before, because of people’s schedules. We used to have 200 to 300 members eight to 10 years ago. Last summer, we had about 30.”

Dungan said the tournament will have eight targets on the practice range, which are anywhere from 10 to 80 yards away from the shooter. There will also be 14 bagged targets in the field, ranging from 20 to 60 yards away from the shooter.

“We’re going to try and host at least two tournaments a month,” Dungan said.

Dungan said his vision for the club tournaments is to have an outlet where friends can go shoot together, as well as generate interest among children.

“I have a son and a daughter, and they’re just now getting into archery,” Dungan said. “The future of the sport is in the kids’ hands.”

And that’s why the club is partnering with the National Archery in the Schools Program, Dungan said.

“If we get it into the schools, and kid in the program can go to the range with their instructor and shoot free of charge,” Dungan said. “They host regional, national and world tournaments.

“Here in Natchez, we don’t have it in the schools yet. Is it possible to get it in? We don’t know, but we can try. All the school authorities can do is say ‘no,’ so we’re really trying to push this thing and see what happens.”

The reason the club shut down about a decade ago, Dungan said, was due to big businesses in the Miss-Lou closing. Even though those businesses aren’t here anymore, Dungan said he still hopes to eventually see the same level of interest he saw when the club was huge.

“International Paper was still here, and a lot people left when it closed along with Fidelity Tire and Johns Manville. When those people were forced to move away, we lost a lot of people into archery and bow hunting altogether. The club was hit hard and just went downhill from there.

“I’m the bow technician at SportsCenter when I’m not working at the fire department, and I talk to people about it every time I’m there. I see their interest being there, we just have to get it back to what it was.”

Dungan said shooting starts at 8 a.m. Sunday. Participants are free to arrive anytime between then and 2 p.m., but no one can register and shoot after 2. The tournament should wrap up around 5:30, when trophies and plaques will be presented, Dungan said.

“That will give people who go to church time to get some lunch, come out and shoot,” Dungan said.

The entry fee is $20 for ages 15 and over, $15 for ages 12-15 and $10 for ages 11 and under. For more information, call Dungan at 601-870-2365, or Will Reeves at 601-431-3383.

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