Archers take aim at … a giraffe?

Exotic animal targets peppered with arrows at tournament held in Thurston County

rboone@theolympian.comJuly 7, 2014 

An elephant was spotted in south Thurston County on Sunday — one of several African and North American animals strategically positioned in the woods near Littlerock.

The elephant wasn’t real, nor were the other animals. They were life-size, three-dimensional targets for the Rinehart R100, a nationwide archery tournament that spent the weekend in Thurston County. The event was co-hosted by the Capitol City Bowmen and took place on the Capitol City Rifle and Pistol club grounds.

The gun ranges were closed Sunday.

The Rinehart R100, which has 18 stops on its tour, was created to help market the 3-D targets that Wisconsin-based Rinehart Targets makes, said Mike Pollard, a representative of the company. After the completion of Sunday’s tournament, Pollard was set to load up his tractor-trailer with his 3-D targets and head to South Dakota.

The weekend tournament, which was attended by about 300 to 400 people, was split into two courses: an African safari course, featuring the elephant and a giraffe as targets, and a North American course with a moose and other animals common to the continent. Participants racked up points based on where their arrows landed. A maximum of 600 points could be accumulated on each course, and anyone with 1,000 or more points took home a 1,000-point pin, said Ray Crisp, Capitol City Bowmen board member and Washington State Archery Association president.

There was also a long-distance course that anyone could try for $1 an arrow. A fake caribou was positioned slightly more than 100 yards away. But the archers had to do more than hit the animal: They had to hit an even smaller target on the caribou. Four people hit the target Saturday, while no one had done it as of about 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

Kaiden Jackson, 12, of Olympia, who participated in the tournament with his brother, Bryce, and father, Ryan, was thought to be leading it for competitors of his age Sunday. He racked up 496 points on the African safari course on Saturday and had 296 points through the halfway point of the North American course Sunday. He also had been stung twice by bees and rolled his ankle on a steep trail, but he carried on, said dad Ryan.

Kaiden said he enjoys archery because he gets to hike around and see how far he can go in a tournament, although he admitted it’s annoying when he loses an arrow.

Gordon Lawter of Union, a longtime archer who also hunts with his bow, was second in points among a group of six friends.

Ken Vetter of Montesano was in the same group. It was his first time to participate in the tournament, and he praised it for unique targets that “you’re never going to see anywhere else.”

Asked how his point total was coming along, Vetter replied, “I’m having a lot of fun.”

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com @rolf_boone

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