Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Melfort archers Kentucky bound

- By Darren Zary

A team of archers from Melfort’s Maude School are set to embark on a historical trek as the first non-American team to compete in a national shoot May 8-9 in Louisville, Ky.

The school team captured gold a few weeks ago at a provincial competitio­n in Regina, resulting in an invite to Kentucky but also leaving the group scrambling to raise funds.

Lori Constant, whose daughter is on the team, has been working non-stop to put things together in such little time.

“This is really huge,” Constant said Wednesday. “We’re the only non-American team, so that’s a really big deal.

“Our kids are going to be carrying the Saskatchew­an and Canadian flags down there. That, in itself, makes me get all emotional when I think about it.”

This is Maude Burke’s first year in the Archery in Schools program. The National Shoot is expecting between 3,800-4,000 archers and more than 4,000 spectators. Constant says she has become a converted believer in the sport.

“Mark my words: It is just going to spread, like wild fire,” she said. “When this first came to the school, I was kind of, ‘Well, that’s nice because it’s kind of a different activity, something the kids will enjoy.’ It was first introduced to the kids through the phys-ed program and every child in our school can do archery. There aren’t too many sports that you can say that about. That’s what I, personally as a parent, love about it.

“The kids have really taken to it; they love it. It captured them and they want to do it all the time. We have a lot of kids on our archery team who are maybe not involved in hockey or in another team sport. This is an opportunit­y that they can be part of a team and everybody succeeds.”

The Melfort school division has approved the trip but the students have to raise the money — about $1,500 per student and $25,000 overall — for the trip.

“We’re small but we’re mighty,” said Constant. “We’re taking 20 kids down to Kentucky, so it’s a relatively small parent group working on this, but our community has really stepped up and our surroundin­g communitie­s are really helping us, too.”

She said a number of fund-raisers have been held and are ongoing, and donations have come in from the business community.

“I just know we’re going to reach our goal. People can appreciate just how historical this event is for the kids and it’s going to strike a chord with them.”

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