Missouri State University’s archery club sport is preparing one freshman for national competitions, as well as  the world’s largest archery tournament.

Christian Clark, freshman business marketing major, received his first bow at age 8 and began competing at 12.

Now vice president of Missouri State’s archery club, Clark is preparing for national tournaments, including The Vegas Shoot, the world’s largest and most prestigious archery tournament. The tournament will be held at South Point Hotel & Casino Feb. 3-6, 2022. The first place winner will receive $56,000. 

In the coming months, Clark will also compete in Iowa, Alabama, Louisiana, Indiana and Kentucky.

Archery is not a National Collegiate Athletic Association recognized sport, so student archers can compete professionally. Clark began competing professionally, with sponsors, a month ago. His sponsors include Down Range Optics and Onestringer Arrow Wraps.

While Clark is financially sponsored, Missouri State’s archery club does provide tournament travel funding.

Archery club President Kendra Betz, a senior agriculture business and marketing sales major, said the club allows national travel and local education; they welcome new and experienced archers.

“You have the opportunity to travel literally wherever you want to go, or if you want to stay local and learn something new, we do that too,” Betz said. 

Clark said he doesn’t think he would have competed professionally if not for joining the club at Missouri State.

“I didn’t understand how big target archery can get and how much opportunity there is in it,” Clark said. “Before, I shot and I was pretty good, but now I’m shooting at such a high level. A year ago I was not shooting like this at all. It’s crazy that the people around you can really elevate your game.”

For Clark, it is the people that make archery special.

“Archery is one of the most (kind) sports out there,” Clark said. “I’ve been at pro events and saw pros help other pros, even if they’re competing against each other for $50,000.”

Betz said what makes Missouri State’s archery club unique is its partnership with the Springfield Archery Complex at the Davis Property. 

The complex is located at 5780 S. Farm Rd. 141, and the complex’s head coach Amy Francka also coaches for the club.

Archery club membership dues are $50 per semester, which includes open access to the complex and free use of their equipment during practice. However, members are also able to use their own equipment during practice.

Practices are held once a week at the complex on Monday evenings. Betz said while the environment is educational, she also tries to make them fun with music and pizza.

Students can join the club at any point during the semester, but Betz recommended joining at the start of the semester to get the most of their membership dues.

To learn more, visit the Archery Club CampusLink

Follow Greta Cross on Twitter, @gretacrossphoto

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