If you’ve ever driven into Hutchinson’s west side along State Highway 7 and gazed down at Odd Fellow’s Park, you may have wondered, “What’s the deal with those large hay targets?”
They’re gone now, replaced by square wooden structures with pitched roofs designed to hold and shelter modern archery targets. And there may be no better time to check it all out than this weekend when the Little Crow Archery Club hosts the Little Crow Archery Park Grand Opening from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, June 15, as part of the Water Carnival festivities. Children and adults are welcome to try the sport — and the new targets — with bows provided by the club.
“We’re a family-oriented organization,” said Matt Mackedanz of the Little Crow Archery Club. He was at the park Thursday with a team of volunteers setting up the targets. Work continued over the weekend.
The club had already constructed the target frames at its indoor archery range at the McLeod County Fairgrounds with financial assistance from local clubs and businesses. The former artificial bales didn’t hold up well against Minnesota winters. At times it was hard to retrieve arrows from the bales, while other times they offered no resistance to arrows flying straight through.
“The range has been around a number of years, but it’s been in tough shape,” Mackedanz said. “We figured it was time to update the range and give the community a better place to shoot.”
The indoor range is for club members, but they know there are many bow hunters in the area who do not want to join a club, and others looking to dip their feet in before making any commitment.
“This is open to the public,” Mackedanz said of the park.
When the club decided to move forward with the project, it contacted the city with a plan. Following approval, members went to Simonson Lumber for help drafting a final design and parts list.
The club will have 12 bows available this Saturday, and like the park the event is free.
“Anyone is more than welcome to come down and give it a roll,” Mackedanz said.
Robert Piehl, club president, said he finds the sport “relaxing, fun and a little challenging.” He likes to help teach about archery and safety by instructing with the 4-H shooting sports program. The club helps foster the sport among area youth by volunteering to help Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts earn their archery badges.
Mackedanz, who enjoys the competitive side of archery, started in high school. The sport also provides family time for him.
“I spend time with both of my boys,” he said. “One is off to college, but it’s something he and I can share.”