By Claire Smith, Capital High School Intern to Thurston Talk
That’s exactly how I found Lucky Shot Archery in Chehalis, Washington. As we drove over the wooden bridge, crossing a river, my heart skipped a beat. Fog had settled into the valley, and floated around the building and outdoor targets.
Once you enter the Lucky Shot building, it feels like home. Taxidermy animals line the walls, and even spill out on to the floor. Countless pelts and antlers line the rafters. In the bathroom, old hunting bows are hung up on the ceiling, and antlers hold the toilet paper. No detail has been left undone. There’s even a small wood fueled fireplace by the door that leads to the indoor range. There’s so much here, you forget it’s a shop and not a home. The counter has dozens of bows and arrows. Hunting points, targets, and many other items are cleverly scattered around the rest of the room.
This man has one-upped Katniss’s dad’s cabin. Upon further investigation, there’s a rock that has the words Lucky Shot Archery with a stag engraved in it. Below the stag, the words Psalm 37:4. The verse reads ‘Seek you happiness in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desire.’ I make a mental note to ask about it later.
When I meet the owner, Theodore Schindler, it turns out I don’t need to ask about the rock. He’s very friendly, and not afraid to share that this haven was God-inspired.
“Like everybody, I’ve had hard times,” he shares as we sit by the fire. “God helped me, and this is all for Him. Sure, it was scary, but He was there for me through all of it.”
And it’s truly something. Lucky Shot will reach it’s eight year on the second of April. Schindler tells me that he didn’t even know how to bow hunt when he started his own business. Lucky Shot has since evolved into a massive community. People from nearby come down and shoot with one another, church groups come out, and sometimes people on school trips. Even people from out of state come to shoot. There’s nothing else quite like it, as most other places even slightly similar offer rifle shooting as well, but Lucky Shot is exclusively for archery.
When asked if The Hunger Games franchise has helped business at all, Schindler laughs. “It brought out a lot.” Seems like this is the perfect training center to go to if you even needed to start drilling yourself for the games.
When we enter the indoor range, I couldn’t help feeling the same anticipation that Katniss felt in the training room at the Capitol. Several people are lined up shooting, including a tiny girl, who’s easily firing her arrows with more accuracy than Katniss could ever have hoped to at her age. We watch for a little bit, before Schindler starts to talk about the events they offer.
“Once Christmas is over, I set up the Christmas trees people no longer want as 3D targets, and let archers shoot at them. Every week, we set up more trees and keep track of the high scores.” It’s like going into the overrun wilderness by District 12 without having to go outside.
Schindler then points out a window to a trail I had missed earlier when I arrived, and talked about how he’d set up his 3D targets out there in May, and people can journey up the trail and shoot the targets.
When Schindler offers to let me shoot a couple rounds, I can’t refuse. He measures my draw length, and prepares a bow for me while I chat a bit with some if the other trainees at Lucky Shot. When asked about Lucky Shot’s reputation, one of them doesn’t hesitate to say that Lucky Shot is the best place in the state for anyone interested in archery or bow hunting. And I think he’s right. If you needed to take down a squirrel to feed your family, or another tribute to save your life, I couldn’t think of a more perfect place to learn how.
Schindler returns and allows me to use the private room to shoot. It’s connected to the main facility, but is hidden in case you are afraid of embarrassing yourself. It also has a lot of mirrors so you can learn correct posture.
To my dismay, I discover that my skills are much more like Glimmer’s from District 1 than the “Girl on Fire’s”. Still, Schindler is extremely helpful, and shows me correct posture and how to ‘paint my face’ after the release of the arrow. I’m able to leave with the knowledge that I could make it a day or two in the games, if I had the blessing of getting my hands on a bow at the Blood Bath.
I thank him for everything, and leave slowly so I can look at everything one last time. As we drive away, I can’t help hoping that I’ll be able to return sometime in the near future.
407 Coal Creek Road, Chehalis, WA
Tuesdays thru Fridays from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m.
Saturdays at 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.
If you don’t have time to crawl under the wire before Catching Fire premieres, November 22, journey to the Olympia Timberland Library on November 15 from 6 – 8 p.m. for a training day. Get full details here.