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story.lead_photo.caption Jason McClain, vice president of Twin City Bow Hunters, takes aim at a target. Photo by Junius Stone / Texarkana Gazette.

A group of about 80 bowmen and women stalked the archery course out at Rocky Creek USA this weekend.

The competition, organized by Twin City Bow Hunters, tested the marksmen in a series of targets whose scoring is not dissimilar to golf.

"When you shoot at a target, your scoring is based on your arrow hitting a designated area or ring on the target. There's a larger ring you can hit for a set amount of points, and an even smaller ring within that that gets you even more," said Jason McClain, vice president of Twin City Bow Hunters. "Your score, like golf, can be above, at or below par, depending on how well you shoot."

The hobby of competition archery, for a time, seemed to be entering a period of decline in public interest. But in recent years, local enthusiasts have noticed greater attention being paid to the sport as well as more entrants participating in it.

"For me, originally this was just for fun," said Hunter Smith, president of Twin City Bow Hunters. "But since I began competing I've been traveling, picking up sponsorships and it has become true competition for me. I've competed in places like the UK, Japan, the Netherlands. Its even bigger in some other countries than it is here."

Shane Jewel, a competitor in the weekend's competition, has been shooting for 32 years. As a regional coach for the Scholastic 3-D Association, a civic organization that encourages archery activity among youth and works with high schools on their archery programs, he actively seeks to help young people enter and enjoy the hobby. Jewel participates in this sport with his son Jesse and his girlfriend, Melissa Hodges. He said archery is an ideal family activity.

"I love teaching this skill," he said. "But even more than teaching young people how to do this and enabling them to enjoy it, it is even more about engaging them with the outdoors and getting them to appreciate conservationism. We ensure there are future competitors coming up in the sport as well as kids who know there is a world beyond computer screens."

Shane and Jesse Jewel are both experienced archers. Hodges is a newcomer to the sport, having begun in May. But she was doing well, leading the Women's Novice category.

"I love it," she said. "I've wanted so long to do this. Shane and I, we both work strenuous jobs and this works as therapy. I run a plant and it is good to get away from all those people and it just be me and my target."

Bowdacious Archery is on Facebook.

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