Tradition Archery Competitions

Archery is an activity that has been around for numerous years in all parts of the world and has made many technological advances. Despite todays compound bows and use of fancy metals there still exists a smaller group of archers that are a throwback to the older styles of archery. Known as traditional archery, the bows used are usually made of wood or other natural material that is bent and drawn by a sinew or plant based bow string that is attached to both ends of the bow.

To keep the sport or style of traditional archery alive there are many competitions around the world throughout the year that celebrate the use of hand crafted archery equipment. One of the different types of competitions is called Beursault. This particular competition is a northern French and Belgian challenge. The teams of archers shoot at two round black and white targets that are opposite of each other with the same arrow, which is theoretically the best one built. The archer on the opposing team would then shot the other target.

Another traditional archery competition is known by two names, Popinjay or Papingo. This contest is well known in Belgium only, and it is not very well known anywhere else. The archer would stand at the bottom of a 90ft post and then they would shoot almost straight up with arrows that had a rubber cap on the front, these are called 'blunts'. The point of this is to try and free one of the birds that were made of wood. Each of the types of birds represent a different amount of points.

There are two other big competition types involving traditional archery, one of which is called Roving Marks. The Roving Marks type competition is one of the oldest forms of archery sport competitions. In this particular competition archers will shoot at mark, and from that target they will aim at the next and so on in succession as they shoot a few more marks. Once the mark is shot, which is usually a flag, a rope or something of that nature, the arrows contact or nearness is used for scoring the amount of points for that target.

The Wand Shoot is one of the last leading traditional archery competitions, which is by tradition an English archery contest. In this version of archery competition, the archers take turns in which they shot at a vertical piece of wood, which is called the wand. The wand is normally about six feet high and about six inches wide. The archers get points for hitting the wand. The archers do not get any points given to them for misses, no matter how close they are.

Traditional archery competitions play a vital role in archery culture in that they are often elaborate events which ignite the imagination of the next generation of young archers. Often these events are medieval type events that involve not just archery but costumes and role playing. And there are many events that teach not only basic archery skills but introduce children the the art of bow making. Here they learn first hand how to craft their own bows and arrows from natural materials. Often these handmade bows and arrows are used in competitions or games at the end of the event to show off the students achievements.

By: Christian Miller

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