Every year the Thurston County Fair brings with it food and fun for everyone in our community. Members of local 4-H clubs work hard all year to get their projects ready to show at fair. This year, the Thurston County Fair will have 4-H archery for the first time and Levi W., a local 4-Her, is excited to show his skill.

“I think it is exciting to do something new,” he says. “I’ve never competed at fair.”

Levi, who will be entering the fifth grade in the fall, has been in 4-H for just 10 months. He is part of the Thurston County 4-H Shooting Sports/Archery Club. His 11-year-old brother, Sheldon, also belongs to the club.

But Levi has not just been shooting a bow for 10 months. It’s a family hobby, in fact. “My dad and oldest brother Tyler have shot archery since I can remember,” he shares. “I think I started at age 7. Now all my brothers and Dad shoot together.”

Levi posing with his bow resting on his upper thigh and his other hand on his quiver full of arrows, he is smiling at the camera in a field
Levi is excited to be in the first 4-H archery contest at the Thurston County Fair on July 26. Photo courtesy: Amy W.

Archery is of course a very old sport, dating back centuries to both foot and mounted archers, who used their skills for hunting and also combat. Today, the sport of archery has advanced with technology, and instead of wooden bows and arrows, most use compound bows made of aluminum and carbon fiber. Levi’s shoots a Hoyt Kobalt compound bow. These youth bows have an adjustable draw with increasing poundage, allowing it to grow with your child.

three boys, two with a foot on a fake alligator, pose with their archery bows in hand
Levi at a 3D archery shoot with his brothers when he was 9 years old. Photo courtesy: Amy W.

While most associate 4-H with animals, there are 4-H projects for almost anything – from sewing to robotics. Archery is not the only shooting sport, as they call them, in 4-H. Washington youth can also participate in black powder/muzzle loader, hunting, pistol, rifle, shotgun and soon to come, western heritage.

Although this is Levi’s first year in 4-H, his parents have already seen the positive affects the program has on kids, as they learn key life lessons while doing something they love. “Archery requires a lot of focus, self-control, patience and discipline,” says his mother, Amy. “As parents we’ve seen this carry over into other areas in Levi’s life. We’ve also enjoyed watching his love for the sport grow.”

A boy draw back his compound bow in an indoor shooting range
Archery takes a lot of skill and discipline, but is also a fun and exciting sport. Photo courtesy: Amy W.

Archery at the Thurston County Fair

This year will be the first year 4-Hers will be competing in archery at the Thurston Count Fair. It’s a fun and exciting sport to watch. The contest will take place July 26, around 5 p.m., or whenever the horse show is finished, in the Andrews Arena.

Levi will be competing in the 10-, 15- and 20-yard contest. He is excited to be one of the first to represent 4-H archery at the Fair. “I’m looking forward to competing and doing my best,” he says. “I also think it will be cool to meet other kids in 4-H and archery. I can learn new things from them.” Being his first fair, he knows there may be some challenges, including staying calm and focused during the competition he shares.

Head to Thurston County Fair, meet Levi, watch the archery. Who knows? Your child may decide to join for next year! To learn more about joining 4-H, visit the WSU Extension website.

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