Archery Contests

Comanche Trail Council

Archery contests were very popular in the early days of Scouting.  The Scouts would make their own bows and arrows and then compete against each other and against other troops.

Archery Contest - 1929

Archery in 1929Archery was a popular activity during this time with Scouts making their own bows and arrow.  The new Oil Belt Council held an Archery Contest in Eastland on December 16, 1929, at the old race track grounds.  Scouts from Eastland, Carbon and Gorman participated in this popular event.  The next archery contest was held at the Field Day Meet in 1930.

J. Arthur Thomason of Brownwood said that very few boys and girls in the 1930’s had enough money to buy equipment.  “We would make our own equipment and somewhere in my collectables I still have my bow that I made.  It is made of lemon wood.  We would buy two inch square and about three foot long (wood).  We would take a rasp, with something to look at, and help from an older Scout, to shape the bow.

“To make the bow curve, we would take a waxed kite string and either knit it or twist it and hang a rock on it to stretch it.  And as we stretched it we would to out each day to wax it with bee’s wax.  My memory was getting that string made was the hardest work of making that bow because when you put it (the string) there (on the bow) and it wasn’t stretched right and wasn’t made right the minute you pulled it back it stretched out and wasn’t any good.”

An archery contest was held in February 1931 as part of Boy Scout Week activities by the Pecan Valley Council.   They roped off North Broadway Street and the posts holding the ropes were decorated with American flags and Boy Scout emblems.  A bugle called the Scouts together, and they were divided up into teams of five to the target, shooting at three targets.

They used hay furnished by one of the local feed stores to mount the targets on.  To protect the visitors, they  had Scouts keep the crowd back behind the shooting area.

They shot the American Junior round at 50, 40 and 30 feet.  All bows and arrows were hand made by the Scouts, and some shot as many as ninety arrows before the event was over.

The winners were presented with gold, silver and bronze medals.  Some won a dozen arrows while others won a half dozen arrow tips.

Material for this story was taken from "Ninety Years of Service," by Frank T. Hilton, 1999

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