A Kurdish proverb says, “Do not throw the arrow which will return against you,” but that did not keep some 25 archers from competing Saturday in the inaugural American 900 in El Centro.
The National Weather Service determined there were gusts up to 41 mph in the Imperial Valley, something that kept most but not all of the event’s participants away.
“The weather and maybe the border crossing has kept most of the 70 people we expected away,” Imperial Valley Archery Club assistant instructor Amparo Gomez said. “But we still had 25 show up.
“The wind is kind of affecting them, but they want to compete, even when the weather is like this,” she said.
The first-ever outdoor archery event in the Valley featured several age groups competing using either compound or the more traditional recurve bows.
A beginner’s group for any age competed at 20 meters, with eight other divisions separated by age.
Each division was given 90 arrows per archer for three targets at different distances respective to the age group.
For instance, the bowman group of 10-12-year-olds shot at distances of 20 meters, 25 meters and 30 meters, while the cub group of 13-14-year-olds shot at 40-, 30- and 20-meter targets.
“It’s good today,” 11-year-old Seyong Choi of Imperial said. “Even though I get some arrows wrong, it’s fun; you get to meet new people.”
Having used the bow for just five months, Choi is already adept at countering poor weather to hit his targets.
“I have to aim more into the wind to hit the mark,” he said.
Looking ahead for next year’s American 900, Gomez already said she wants to change the date to avoid poor conditions.
“We’re trying to change the date for next year because of the weather,” she said. “Maybe it will be either sooner or later in the year.”
Saturday was the second outdoor competition for 13-year-old Karen Kim. The Imperial girl started with the bow last summer.
“It’s pretty OK today,” she said. “My shooting isn’t as bad as it would be, especially with the high wind.
“You learn how to compensate with the wind speed and the different weather changes,” Kim said.
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