Archery hits the mark at the Lakota Nation Invitational

RAPID CITY, S.D. — For the third year, Porcupine Archery Club and Oglala Lakota County School District set up compound bow and arrows at the Lakota Nation Invitational.

Tim Villa helped organize the archery competition, and was excited to watch kids from around the area participate in a traditional but still competitive sport.

“My goal as the coordinator was just to make it nice and relaxed, organized, fun,” he says. “If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right.” 

For many of the student shooters, the fun didn’t necessarily come from hitting the target.

“It’s the sport and my friends,” says Autumn, a shooter at Lakota Tech. “They support me a lot and they help me.”

Archery competition at LNI

Organizers say that the sense of community and belonging is just as important as the discipline.

“Even though it’s an individual sport, you’re working together as a team, setting up the equipment, taking down the equipment, it’s a lot of work so making them work together as a team, they feel like they belong to something,” Villa adds.

Archery also teaches lessons in perseverance and focus.

“You aren’t trying to necessarily get better than the person beside you, you’re just trying to get better yourself so it takes a lot of self-discipline,” says Villa.

Although modern equipment is used, the sport remains rooted in tradition.

“We are shooting compound bows instead of the traditional Lakota style bow, but what that does is gives all the kids the exact same equipment so they can compete fairly.”

The friendly contest helped the students share their passion for their culture with friends and competitors alike.

“It is cultural,” says Villa, “a lot of kids say, ‘It’s in my blood,’ and it really truly is.”

The top 12 shooters are seeded in an elimination bracket to end the competition.

Categories: Local News