LAC LA BICHE - The Lakeland Archers club will be hosting a national archery competition in Lac La Biche County in a month’s time.
The 2022 Canadian Indoor 3D Championships will be coming to the community from April 15-17 after the original host community in Nova Scotia had to cancel due to pandemic restrictions.
Lakeland Archers President and international archery judge Rene Schaub heard about the cancellation and quickly submitted a local bid to Archery Canada. He knows its short-notice, but after hosting several large archery events in the community, including the 2019 World 3D games, he's confident about the project.
“Usually it takes two years to plan one of these events but because we’ve done it a number of times and the county is always really good to work with…I can make it happen.”
Past experience hosting
The World 3D Archery Championships in 2019 drew more than 300 athletes from 25 countries to the community to participate in the week-long competition, and the club has also hosted indoor events on the provincial and national stage using their own indoor shooting range at the Herb Erickson Shooting Range near the Lac La Biche Airport and at the Bold Center recreation complex. At one point recently, the Lac La Biche-based archery club had the second largest membership list in the province.
“As far as archery, we are known worldwide…we put Lac La Biche on the map,” Schaub says, explaining that the community was the smallest to ever host a World Archery Federation event.
“Before we brought 3D Worlds to Lac La Biche, the smallest community that ever put it on was around 120,000 people, and we put it on with 9,000 at the time. We showed the rest of the world that it can be done,” said Schaub, adding that the success of that local event and the track record of other events keeps the Lakeland Archers on the call-list for events.
As plans continue to be developed for the April event, Schaub says the pressure of the timeline is something the local organizers can handle.
“We've got lots of things happening that we're planning…everybody in Canada knows that if anybody can do it's Lakeland Archers,” he said with a grin.
The upcoming national event isn’t the only competition Lakeland Archers will be hosting this year. This June the community was selected to host the Team Canada qualifiers for the 2022 World Archery 3D Championships that will take place in Italy in September, he said.
While there are three club members from the Lakeland Archers who will be qualifying for Team Canada, one Lakeland Archer has already been selected.
“I’m also chosen to be the manager and coach for Team Canada to go to Italy,” Schaub said with a smile.
Happy to be part of the team that will represent Canada, Schuab is hoping to see other members of his hometown shooting club make the trip as well.
The local athletes are practicing multiple times a week to prepare for the qualifiers, he said ... and they have to.
“The competition is fierce. It’s hard enough to get on Team Canada, never-mind when you hit the world stage. They're training all the time,” he says.
An archery enthusiast for decades and a skilled shooter, Schaub was asked if it was tough to go to the events, plan them, coach the athletes ... but not shoot. He doesn’t see it as picking one thing over the other, saying he’s comfortable behind the scenes.
“Being an organizer is a full-time job. There are some people who try to shoot and organize but it shows in their performance…you can’t do both,” he told Lakeland This Week. “I’ve always said that it’s better to put on a good shoot than to try to do too many things.”
More to come
The Lakeland Archers are aiming at more targets on the horizon, putting in a bid to host the 2024 World Field Archery Championships as well. They will be notified on their bid result for that event at the end of April.
For Schaub, putting a bullseye around his home community, drawing attention and pointing arrows at the region for its natural beauty, its people, culture, history, sports opportunities and the economy, is the added bonus of promoting the sport he loves.
“Anything that we can do to make our community known out there, we would love to do it,” he said.
Any residents looking to support the upcoming archery events can contact the Lakeland Archers through their social media pages or comment in the links of the online version of this story at www.lakelandtoday.ca