Weekly Spotlight: Owls Archery Club

Archery club boasts a casual environment with “some of the best archers on campus.”


The Owls Archery Club meets Fridays and Sundays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Photo courtesy of the OAC’s Facebook group.

Brittany Ferrendi, Features Editor

Welcome to the Weekly Spotlight, where you can learn about on-campus organizations in one easy place.

This week we spoke with James Chandler, president of Owls Archery Club at FAU. He’s been an archer for the past two years and enjoys meeting up every weekend to practice, teach members and meet new people interested in the sport.

The club meets on Fridays and Sundays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

UP: What can you tell us about Owls Archery Club?

JC: We’ve been around since 2012. I took over as president this year. We’re still a kind of small club, we have about anywhere from 30 to 50 registered members, and then we have maybe several more, 10 to 20 maybe, that show up every now and then. We’re constantly growing, though. Per week, on average we have about 12 [active members].

One thing I like is that we’ve had several people, since joining the club, buy their own bow and have actively gotten into it. We do a little thing at the end of every semester — we do a points system for participation. If you come to practice, if we do tabling, you do tabling, if we do a work party at the range — we have an outdoor range — if you show up you get more points. Whoever has the highest number of points, they get $150 towards a bow. We give them $150 credit and they can buy a bow, arrows, pretty much whatever they want for $150.

UP: Can you tell us about the field that your club practices on?

JC: We have a field over in Delray, 441 and West Atlantic, called Gold Coast Archery. They’re a private range, but they allow us to go there and shoot. It’s a good deal there, pretty big range where you can shoot anywhere from 10 yards to 90 meters, and the range length wise is about 70 yards, maybe 80. They also have little alleyways further back where they have 3D animals.

There’s several types of tournaments. There’s what’s called a field range, a field tournament. There’s your typical indoor, where you shoot about 18 meters usually. They have 3D animal shoots. It’s just big foam animals, like compressed compacted foam. They have anything from a little coyote, deer and they have anything to a big white polar bear.

UP: Does your club regularly meet at the Gold Coast Archery?

JC: We go there to practice. If we have an officer meeting we might go there or might just stay here [FAU]. … We have recreational [meetings], where people come out once or twice a week when we meet, Friday and Sunday [4 p.m. to 6 p.m.]. Recreational, if you just want to come out and shoot, we teach you. We have some of the best archers on campus. I know that’s egotistical, but there’s not many archers on campus.

UP: What types of competitions does Owls Archery Club enter?

JC: The last competition — I didn’t compete in it, but two of our members did — was at the beginning of February. There was a shoot down in Miami. And prior to that we went back in October, we went up to Gainesville. We shot in this complex called Newberry, and personally? Amazing, it was one of the best things I’ve ever experienced, because they had targets set up in a forest, and they had lanes in the forest. They assigned us a lane and … we went to the forest, big trees and everything. It was awesome.

The club participates in competitions all across Florida. Photo courtesy of the OAC’s Facebook group.
The club participates in competitions all across Florida. Photo courtesy of the OAC’s Facebook group.

UP: Are there any hopes of getting a shooting range on campus?

JC: Recently last year we joined the Sports Club Council. By the end of the semester, [the range] should be set up. In between the tennis courts and a field over there … in between there is a patch of land, and that land is devoted to us. And it’s a good size land, we can get anywhere from 10 yards to 50 yards. … So we have targets, the only thing we really have to do is figure out storage and build little target stands for our targets. And we also might get an indoor ranch. … [The Sports Club Council] actually [has] a basketball court that we can use on certain days in the evenings, maybe on the weekends. And that’s perfect.

UP: Do you have anything exciting planned for this semester?

JC: We’re actually talking with FIU’s archery club and we’re going to do a little collegiate fun-shoot. In the coming months we’re going to have a little collaboration with FIU. Anyone can show up and just shoot. We might even put up funny targets or something — dinosaurs, zombies, whatever. We had one on Halloween, little zombie targets, we shot little pumpkin things, skulls. Holiday comes around and we normally go ‘Hey, let’s do something fun.’ We made burgers, everything. We had a little barbeque, it was awesome.

UP: We noticed on your club’s Facebook page that one of your members has the Owl Archery Club logo as a tattoo. Can you tell me more about that?

JC: Yeah, Justin [Kirke]. He’s our vice president. When we made the logo last year, he decided, ‘Hey, I’m going to tattoo this on us,’ and we’re like, ‘Yeah sure, sure, okay.’ And then he shows up later, skin right there — just shaved off — with a tattoo there. And we’re just like ‘Alright, you actually did it.’

He’s very devoted. He joined the club last year, same time as me, beginning of last year in January. I’ve done archery a year before that and I quickly started to love it even more. He just started and he has a bow and everything right now, and he’s actually doing better than our former president who used to teach him.

Club Vice President Justin Kirke tattooed the OAC’s logo onto his leg. Photo courtesy of the OAC’s Facebook group.
Club Vice President Justin Kirke tattooed the OAC’s logo onto his leg. Photo courtesy of the OAC’s Facebook group.

UP: Other than archery, what’s the most unique thing about Owls Archery Club?

JC: I think it’s just how casual we are. You show up, we’re very laid back. I think some other clubs, other sports clubs, they may get a little competitive or something. You show up and you’ll see that we’re not yelling at each other, we’re not like, ‘Hey, fix this, fix that, right now.’ It’s just like, ‘Hey man, how’s it going? You want to shoot? Okay, we’ll teach you.’ … We’re not very aggressive. You want to have a fun time, show up, shoot a couple of hours. You don’t even have to stay for the whole practice.

UP: What can new members expect on their first day of practice?

JC: I think just immediate hands-on. A new member shows up and we give them papers, waivers of course. It may be a little annoying at first because they have to sign like five different waivers — us, the ranch, FAU’s waiver. It’s just liability, like if something happens you can’t blame us.

After that, we’re gonna ask you a couple of things. What handle are you? We have to find out to give you a right or left-handed bow. And we just go, ‘Okay, here’s a bow. Here’s a set of arrows. Alright, I want you to shoot an arrow.’

UP: What’s the membership fee like?

JC: At the moment, per semester it is $20. Our annual is $40 or $45, we recently changed it. And we meet year round … Pretty much every single week we meet except for Christmas weekend, or Thanksgiving weekend, or something like that. If you have the annual you’re allowed to come by in the summer.

UP: Is there anything you would like prospective members to know about Owls Archery Club?

JC: Just come on out. I think you’ll be surprised how easy it is. People might think that archery is a little complicated, but I think you’ll realize it’s actually kind of easy.  You’ll meet new people, really cool people — eh, Justin’s a little intimidating, but he’s a soft heart. He may be intimidating with his goatee and his tattoos, but everyone’s cool, everyone’s friendly. It’s just a friendly environment.

Brittany Ferrendi is the features editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet her @BFerrendi.