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HomeAt Home & BeyondThe Citrus Archery Club: All About Family

The Citrus Archery Club: All About Family

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Upcoming Archery Events in July!

In the month of July, the Citrus Archery Club and club President Dave Ireland are holding a pair of events in Hernando County. The initial competition is their Annual Youth Day Tournament which takes place on the first of the month. The second of these, which is on July 22nd, is their Annual Club Day and Bob Jones Memorial Tournament.

For the Youth Day, check-in is at 8:30 AM, with the start time being 9:00 AM. Children between the ages of seven and 18 are permitted to enter. With the tournament taking place at the Citrus Archery Club, which is at the corner of Irving Street and Smithfield Avenue in Spring Hill, it is recommended that eventgoers park outside of the range fence. This includes parking on the right of way on the north side of Irving Street or on either side of Smith Avenue.

The entry fee is $20 per participant, and the competitors will be taking aim at a variety of target types: paper animals, three-dimensional, and field targets. The distances will range from 15 to 40 yards, and the top three contestants in Barebow, Bowhunter, and Freestyle will receive awards. There will also be a Sponsor Team Award where the top two scores are taken of each represented group for three team awards.

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While the location and parking arrangements are the same for the Club Day and Memorial Tournament on July 22, the other details feature a few changes. The start time for this event is later in the day at 4:00 PM, and competitors of all ages are free to take part in the festivities. The contest will be comprised of two rounds: the first is a double elimination archery battleship, while the second is a modified 600-round shot from 40 yards out.

The profits from the event will go to fund the Bob Jones Memorial Scholarship. In fact, the organization itself is all non-profit. The club has been around since 1978, when it chartered with the National Field Archery Association, and is in its third year at its current location. For President Ireland and other members such as Patrick Herbert and school teacher Ellie Parker, everything the club does is for the children. According to Ireland, they are a family organization.

“To us, it’s all about the kids, if anything,” Ireland said. “Even our club here, being a family club as most of the members here are. I get a few guys here that want to practice and get their equipment worked out. A couple guys want to bow hunt. That’s fine. They’re loners, they’re on their own. Most of the club members, things are all family oriented.”

Ireland and company want to make sure people of all ages have a place to go to hone their archery skills. Without the one-acre plot of land the club operates out of Hernando County, families, and enthusiasts would have to travel all the way to Gainesville or Sarasota for the nearest field club. While the club’s president would like to increase the number of public school participants considering all but one are home-schooled, Ireland is pleased with their “little hole in the wall operation” with a member count of “about 45 members.” Ultimately, he is most excited to see the children’s interest in archery and their growth over time with the sport.

“It’s like anything else,” Ireland said. “You bring somebody along in their skills; hopefully, everything else will come with it. So, try to put in little lessons. For example, if you look at this end target, you see that little orange dot. That’s what I have these girls working on… So you have little exercises that just basically are going to bring their habits in alignment. Then, you don’t have to think about anything. It becomes natural. Then the rest is enjoying it.”

Two of the children Ireland was referring to were Vera and Gina Regazzi, who, along with their brother Vincent, won gold medals in female youth freestyle, female youth bowhunter, and peewee barebow, respectively. Even more impressively for Vincent, the seven-year-old had never shot a bow before and came away with the top prize in his division in May. That is quite a way to be introduced to archery.

The club president shared other such anecdotes outside of the youth program as well, like that of a 70-year-old semi-retired veterinarian winning the target championships two years ago. These are just a few of the unique stories that can come from these clubs. Ireland ultimately feels that the kids’ program is the most exciting thing going on for the organization and is looking forward to the pair of events the club will be hosting in July.

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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