ON TARGET: Samuel Draper of Gladstone takes aim during the North Burnett Field Archers' traditional weekend.
ON TARGET: Samuel Draper of Gladstone takes aim during the North Burnett Field Archers' traditional weekend. Jake Finnigan

Field archers make their mark during traditional weekend

COMPETITORS from as far away as Newcastle and Far North Queensland converged on Gayndah over the weekend for the North Burnett Field Archers' Traditional Weekend.

"The weekend is for the group of archers to get together and have fun,” said Pauleen Dakin of the North Burnett Field Archers.

"We do have trophies, so there are winners, but the whole point of the weekend is a family-type event where we can get together, have fun, have a few laughs, and enjoy our sport,” she said.

This year's Tradional Weekend is the fourth held by the North Burnett Field Archers since their formation in 2010, and saw more than 60 people staying on the club's grounds, with another 20 or so in town.

"This weekend we had 51 shooters, but we've probably got up to 60-something people staying on the grounds, and with the people staying in town it makes about 80 people all up,” said Mrs Dakin.

Mrs Dakin said those visiting would contribute positively to the club as well as the North Burnett town's economy.

"They support us by supporting our canteen, and of course they all buy fuel before leaving town” she said.

Mrs Dakin said whether or not archery was becoming a more popular sport was a "difficult question.”

"Younger people reach that age where they move away for uni, they go away and have their families, and come back later on,” she said.

"Our club's gone through a downturn where a lot of our Year 12s from last year have moved on, so we have gone down in numbers at our club itself, but in other places clubs and archery more generally are expanding in a big way.”

Mrs Dakin said despite the downturn, the club was starting to regain numbers.

"We're just starting to come back, we've pulled a few new members, and we had a 'come-and-try' day, and 12 new members have joined since then,” she said.

Mrs Dakin said the sport of archery was a good choice for young people, especially those who didn't fit into or enjoy other sports.

"We had one child who used to come out here, he was very withdrawn, very quiet, didn't want to interact, couldn't play football because he wasn't that sort of person, but he got into archery and three bows later he's still in the sport,” she said.

"It's a great sport because you're not competing against anybody else unless you're doing a competition like this.”

"When you come out here to our club days, you're competing against yourself, so you improve yourself.”

Mrs Dakin said the youngest competitor of the weekend was 8, and the oldest was 73.

"We try and cater for all ages and all abilities” she said.