LUBBOCK, Texas — To shoot arrows at deer, dragons and dinosaurs, you don’t even have to leave Lubbock County.
You just have to head to the South Plains Archery Club near Buffalo Springs Lake. The club is Lubbock’s only outdoor archery club, and it’s run by husband and wife duo, Bobby Brooks and Becky Woodell.
“[We have] mostly foam animals, deer, cats, bears, dinosaurs,” said Bobby Brooks, South Plains Archery President.
“We have a Sasquatch,” added Becky Woodell, South Plains Archery Treasurer.
After shutting down due to the coronavirus in February, the club reopened in May. South Plains Archery is known for its monthly “3-D hunts,” where archers compete by shooting arrows at foam animals scattered across the property.
Brooks and Woodell said that on average, they see about 60 to 70 shooters per “hunt,” and since reopening they’ve had the same turn out. However, they added that their latest shooters have been comprised of new members rather than returning ones from before the pandemic.
Because the outdoor grounds are so large and built “like a golf course,” the couple said that people can spread out tens of feet apart, allowing for social distancing without issue. They’re also now limiting group size to aid in social distancing.
“We are keeping our groups in groups of four,” Brooks said.
In fact, even pre-coronavirus, they said that the way their range is set up would have likely allowed for social distancing.
“The next animal probably is 40 or 50 feet away … We felt like it’s a safe environment,” Woodell said.
However, for those that doubt the veracity of archery as a “real sport,” the couple emphasized that while fun, it takes a great deal of practice and concentration.
“It takes a lot of mental game. It’s not just pointing an arrow at a target and letting go of a string,” Woodell said.
They added that unlike football or soccer, the sport is something that the whole family can learn together and enjoy.
“You can come out and shoot with your kids, shoot with your parents, shoot with your grandparents,” Brooks said.