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Archers take aim at cancer

May 30, 2004|By BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

GREENCASTLE, PA.

Archers of all skill levels are spending the Memorial Day weekend walking through the woods, practicing their skills and helping to fight a deadly disease at the same time.

The Greencastle Sportsman's Club is the site of this weekend's 29th annual Cancer Memorial Shoot. More than $152,000 has been raised in the past 28 years. All proceeds go toward the detection and treatment of cancer.

Tim Varner of Fayetteville, Pa., president of the Conococheague Archer's Club, said some people camp out at the sportsman's club all weekend.

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"Most come back year after year after year and spend Memorial Day weekend with us," he said.

About 230 people had registered to shoot by mid-afternoon Saturday, the first day of the three-day event.

Jason Cotton of Greencastle is president of the outside activities.

"The club spent a month cleaning the trails to make it nice for people to walk around," he said. "It takes a whole group effort to prepare and know where it's safe. We push a lot of safety with the youth."

A growing number of young people come to the shoots, he said.

"Quite a few families shoot," Cotton said. "It's not just for hunters. Some people do it just for fun, to walk out and enjoy the day."

Scoring is optional, he said, although trophies are awarded for the highest scores in several classes.

Replicas of exotic animals such as cheetahs, lions and buffalo, as well as animals native to Pennsylvania such as deer and bear, are nestled in various places in the woods. Distance markers are set up in front of them.

"We set them up in varied terrain so hunters can practice real-life situations," Cotton said.

A javelina, or wild pig, was nestled in the bushes at the end of some tunnel-like foliage. A bighorn sheep stood across a path near the edge of the woods.

The animals are set up in four sections of 10 targets each, Cotton said.

Isaac Warren, 10, of Levittown, Pa., came to the shoot with his father, David. Isaac neatly shot an arrow into a bighorn sheep as his father and uncle, Bill Warren of Shippensburg, Pa., looked on.

Bill Warren said he shoots with traditional equipment, which he makes.

Isaac said his archery instructors have been "mostly my Dad and Uncle Bill."

Monday is the Fun Shoot, with 30 targets set up in "almost impossible situations," Cotton said.

"We tell people to bring their bad arrows because they're really going to bust them up," he said.

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