Their inspiration comes from all over.
Kiera Jay was fascinated by the main character in her fantasy novel.
Luke Greenwood was bummed he missed an opportunity during a Boy Scout trip.
Christian Lee — well, he just likes to try new things.
As for Tiger Mountain Archers Club director Pat Moore, he’s simply glad he can provide the platform for kids to learn about a sport he’s loved his entire life.
“For me that’s what it’s all about, giving the kids an opportunity to experience (archery) because it was a lot of fun for me when I was a kid,” he said.
Moore, an information technology administrator in his professional life, has operated the Tiger Mountain Archers Club for the last five years. He took it over from founder Jerry Pfeifer, who launched the program 10 years ago in his back yard. Since then, there have been a few changes — most notably the venue.
When he took over the club Moore immediately searched for a place other than his friend’s back yard. An inquiry to the Issaquah Sportsmen’s Club drew a quick response.
“The first time I’d met with them they basically said ‘here’s the keys, show up on Wednesday,'” Moore said. “They’re very pro youth.”
For the last five years, the group has met every Wednesday, November through August, at the Sportsmen’s Club located in the woods behind Issaquah High School.
More hasn’t only invested a large chunk of his time teaching and constructing target stands from scratch.
“I’m a sucker, so I have a whole bunch of equipment that I let the kids use,” he said, pointing to a table full of compound bows, recurve bows and targets. “I looked at it as I can go spend $1,200 on a new bow, or I can spend $1,200 on an entire youth program’s worth of equipment.”
Moore’s generosity, mixed with is willingness to teach the sport to anyone interested and a handful of parents who are also certified instructors, makes Tiger Mountain Archers Club a rarity in King County. There is only one other archery club in the county, located in Kenmore, and it focuses more on training elite archers.
As a result, kids come from all over to be a part of the Issaquah group.
Jay, 14, makes her way from Auburn once a week to spend three hours honing in on targets. She’s only participated since October, but is already hooked.
“I enjoy the challenging part of it,” she said “The tournaments have also been really fun, so I like the competition.”
Lee, 15, is from Issaquah. He was always interested in trying archery, so he was pleasantly surprised to find the club so close.
“I love it,” he said. “It’s definitely something I knew I wanted to stick with it before I even started.”
Then, there are phenoms like 11-year-old Luke Greenwood from Bellevue. Disappointed that he missed out on a Boy Scout trip where he would get to fire a bow, Greenwood was determined to give the sport a try. One trip to the range last fall and he was not only hooked — he was a natural.
“He has no idea how good he is,” Moore said. “I said, “you’re our ringer,” and he said, “what’s a ringer?”
Greenwood has won all five competitions he’s participated in, most recently taking the Washington State 4H Archery Junior Championship at the end of May. He shot a perfect score and ended the weekend with 35 bullseyes to also claim the junior Sharp Shooter award.
Greenwood will next compete at the Easton Junior Olympic Archery Championships July 11 in Sacramento, Calif.
The secret to success?
“You just have to listen to what they’re saying and it works,” he said, smiling.
Of course Moore realizes not everyone will become the next star. But, that’s also not the most important thing for him.
“Just seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces, it’s just fun,” he said. “Why wouldn’t you want to do that?”
The Tiger Mountain Archers Club is currently a member of the 4H program, which requires kids to be 8 years and older. Next year the club will likely go to Junior Olympic Archery Development, which doesn’t have age restrictions. Fees currently run $35 a year. Equipment for those wanting to try the sport is available onsite. For more information on the club, call 425-392-3311 or go to the Issaquah Sportsmen’s Club website at issaquahsportsmensclub.com.