First-ever mounted archery competition in MI happening in Berrien Springs this weekend

NOW: First-ever mounted archery competition in MI happening in Berrien Springs this weekend

BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich. -- Have you ever shot a bow and arrow? How about on horseback? You’ll have the chance to try it out or watch experts do it in Berrien Springs this weekend.

The Niles-based group ‘Ground Zero Mounted Archers’ has partnered with the Mounted Archery Association of the Americas to host Michigan’s first-ever mounted archery competition at the Berrien County Youth Fairgrounds.

17 competitors from around the country – from as far away as Texas and Arizona – have come to Berrien Springs to race down a new course on horseback at they try to land a bullseye.

“We see lots of people that have the passion here in our area for mounted archery,” said Jennifer Dawson, who organized the event with her husband Scott. “We just wanted to be able to say, ‘Hey, we’ll kind of head things up and bring it here.’”

Jennifer and Scott have been teaching archery in Michiana for almost three years.

In addition to planning this Memorial Day Weekend competition, they’re preparing to open Ground Zero Archery in Niles this summer.

“I would like everybody just to know that anyone at any level can participate in this sport,” Scott said. “And once you come out and try it, you’re going to be hooked and you’re going to enjoy it.”

A practice day, that is open to the public, will take place on Thursday at the fairgrounds at 9 a.m.

The competition will begin Friday and last until Sunday, starting at 9 a.m. each day. The public is invited to come watch and admission is free.

Some of the nationally-ranked mounted archers participating in the event will be representing Team U.S.A at a competition in Hungary this summer.

Mounted archery is growing in popularity across America and the world – roughly 30 countries now have teams that compete and interact internationally.

“Any time we come to a new community, our goal is for growth,” said Greg Ogburn, the U.S. representative for the International Horseback Archery Alliance, who traveled from Arizona to compete in Berrien Springs. “We want to expand the sport. We want to expose the sport to as many people as possible.”

“Everybody always reacts just in awe,” said Serena Lynn, the chapter liaison for the Mounted Archery Association of the Americas, who traveled from Texas to compete this weekend. “And it’s a wonderful thing to come out here and meet everybody who wants to do it and help get people started in it. And I like turning that awe into, ‘You can do it, too.’ So it’s definitely fun to be out here and help.”

During this weekend’s competition, the Mounted Archery Association of the Americas will also be debuting a new youth division.

The division, which will be for kids 18 and under, will compete on Saturday at 3 p.m.

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