FALCON ARCHERS SHOOT THE RIBBON DURING GRAND OPENING AT SIC
With a soft start in October, the Indoor Archery Center at Southeastern Illinois College held its grand opening celebration on Dec. 15.
More than 30 people attended the event, including Rep. Dale Fowler, Sen. Natalie Phelps Finnie, Hardin County High School Archery Team, community members, SIC board members and a number of students, coaches, faculty and staff from the college. The ceremony was opened by SIC President Dr. Jonah Rice.
“This facility provides an outlet for our region, whether that be community members who want to improve their skills or students who major in outdoor recreation. It also serves as a part of our mission for economic development and tourism,” said Rice.
Rep. Finnie said, “SIC is where I started my education, and I couldn’t be more proud. There was no better education or harder teaching staff than what I had right here. This is just another example of how awesome SIC is, and Archie Blair and Alli Armstrong, your hard work has paid off. This is a great facility.”
Finnie also gave a nod to her hometown Hardin County High School’s state champion archery team, who came out for the occasion.
Rep. Dale Fowler kept the mood light when he took the podium.
“These grand openings don’t get old, do they? Seems like every year or every few months we’re having a ribbon cutting about this great college,” said Fowler. “It’s an honor to be here and congratulations.”
Receiving a number of accolades from many in attendance, long-time SIC employee, Archie Blair, founder of the archery team, who led the team to national success for the past six years spoke about the inception and growth of the archery team.
He also praised new head coach, Alli Armstrong, one of his former national champion archers and talked about the four national awards won by the Falcon Archers this year under her leadership. He reminded the crowd that SIC archers are facing competitors in Division I schools like Purdue, Michigan State, University of California, University of Wisconsin, etc.
Head Archery Coach Alli Armstrong took the podium to talk about the new facility and about how the Falcon Archers will next compete in the indoor archery category thanks to the campus facility that allows them ample opportunity to practice and be competitive in the Division I sport. Armstrong thanked archery coaches Darrin DeNeal and Roger Snodgrass, who have also been with the team since the beginning, as well as Blair’s continued leadership.
“We are so thankful for this range and for the opportunity to let people who have so much talent here in southern Illinois really shine at what they are good at,” said Armstrong.
She introduced two of her Falcon Archers: Eli Bond of Thompsonville and Garrett Lane of Hardin County. The pair ended the ribbon cutting event by putting an arrow through the ribbon.
“As an SIC archery member, this facility gives us year-round practice time no matter the weather conditions, and I’m excited about the upcoming competition,” said Lane. “I think it’s great for the community – for kids that are starting archery, for adults wanting to come practice or all the generations who want to shoot their crossbow. It’s an option for everybody here. I think it’ll be a great asset for the community.”
The Indoor Archery Center at SIC is available for use by all ages, and includes two handicapped accessible lanes. The walk-in cost is $5 per half hour or $8 per hour. Children 13 and under pay only half price, as do veterans and seniors. Package deals and family memberships will also be available, and those who like some competition will have an opportunity to join a league starting in January for men, women and high school students, dependent on interest.
Since October, SIC has had over 100 archers use the facility, many who received instruction from SIC’s national award-winning coaches. Armstrong expects at least that many for spring.
Targets are provided at the facility, but archers should bring their own bows and arrows with field tips only. The facility is located on the east end of the campus in the Chuck Hearn Outdoor Educational Complex with entry directly from the main campus or from just past Falcon Field.
Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 6-8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Sunday 1–5 p.m. Opportunities for instruction are also available. The Indoor Archery Center will be closed for the holidays while SIC is closed from Dec. 21 through Jan. 1. The center may also be closed during tournaments and big hunting weekends, so patrons are encouraged to call or check the website to verify hours of operation.
SIC is the only college with an indoor archery range on campus amongst Division I US Collegiate Archery Association (USCAA) teams, and is also the only college with an outdoor 3D archery range on campus. The nearest indoor range to SIC is currently in Ava, Illinois, on the southwestern side of the state.
This is the inaugural year for SIC’s indoor archery team. The team will compete at the Division I level against varsity squads from major colleges and universities across the US in the USCAA South Regional Indoor Archery Tournament Jan. 19-21 in Madisonville, Kentucky. Winners will advance to the USCAA Indoor Archery National Championships Feb. 9-11 in Las Vegas.
For more information about the center, leagues, teams or advertising sponsorships, visit www.sic.edu/archery or contact Alli Armstrong at (618) 252-5400, ext. 2104, firstname.lastname@example.org, or (618) 841-9553 during archery hours.