Archery range hits bull's-eye

GLEN DAWKINS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:10 AM ET

The first time that Mano Navarro saw the inside of the vacant Department of National Defence warehouse on Taylor Avenue, he felt like a kid let loose in a candy store. He could see all the possibilities in the 160,000 sq.-ft warehouse, empty since Kapyong Barracks closed down.

Navarro is confident the archers at this weekend's Spitz 3D Canadian Indoor National Archery Championships will share his wide-eyed amazement.

"I just saw the potential with the size of the building (and) the way the building was laid out," said Navarro, responsible for transforming the former DND Building P2 into an indoor archery range as the competition's director of shooting.

"But the challenge was to set it up the way you see it right now."

Led by two-time 3D world champion Derek Hird of Winnipeg, 150 archers will take their best shots at four separate competition courses with 20 life-sized animal targets in each and lined with as many Christmas trees they could get their hands on. The targets range from deer, moose and bear to an alligator and a couple of dinosaurs.

"If you haven't seen that animal before, there is a greater degree of difficulty determining where the shot should be placed," said Navarro, the Archers and Bowhunters Association of Manitoba vice-president for athlete development and high performance committee chair.

The first round begins tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m., with the second and third rounds taking place in the afternoon. Following the fourth round Sunday morning, the competition wraps up with a grand prix round as the top eight compound and top eight traditional archers battle it out.

"I wanted them to see some difficulty and some shots that hopefully they've never seen before," said Navarro, whose crew of volunteers have been setting up the courses for the last three weeks including putting in eight-hour days since Tuesday.

"It's going to be a challenge," said Winnipeg archer Brad Gould, who will do double duty this weekend as one of the competitors and as president of the host Red River Archers club. "We've simulated so many realistic hunt situations (for the archers)."

The local club bid on the Canadian championships following last year's 3D indoor nationals in Regina. Almost immediately, Gould and ABAM vice-president for events Jeff Hawley began searching for a suitable site. They even took aerial photos, looking for a facility large enough for their needs.

The Winnipeg Convention Centre would have been ideal but there wasn't enough money in the budget for the rent. Eventually, they were able to strike a deal giving them access to the vacant DND warehouse for as much time as they needed.

"It worked out so much better (this way)," said Gould.

Admission is free.

TOUCHING TRIBUTE: The organizers will have a piper play Amazing Grace during the opening ceremonies tomorrow as a tribute to Calgary archer Allan Woolridge, who was registered to compete this weekend but passed away suddenly last month.


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