Pink and camoflauge don’t usually mingle. However, at Saturday’s “Bow-Up Against Breast Cancer” 3-D Archery Tournament, the two came together nicely to shoot for a cause.
Both sides were represented, as many volunteers from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama worked the registration tables, and archers, some from the Bowhunters of Alabama, were out on the trail shooting at targets.
Cameron Mitchell, the event coordinator, had the idea of pairing the BCRFA with BHA back in the fall. Though neither he nor his family have been affected by breast cancer, he said he felt called to help with the cause.
Held at the Cullman Archery Park, about 150 people showed up Saturday for the first day of competition. Mitchell said he was especially pleased with the turnout despite temperatures exceeding 100 degrees.
“Our first year, we didn’t really know what we were going to have, especially it being record-breaking temperatures,” he said. “We didn’t know if that would deter people from coming, but so far, a lot of people have shown up. If we can break the 300 mark, I’ll be very happy with that.”
Archers from around the state and southeast came out both for a chance to shoot and to support the fight against breast cancer.
Jason Sebo, an archer from Georgia, likes to participate in tournaments in the offseason to keep his muscles in tune, but this one drew him in for more personal reasons.
“My dad was diagnosed with colon cancer three years ago, had the surgery, everything went well after doing a year of chemo and radiation,” he said. “Everything so far is clear. Everything’s good.”
Sebo, along with many other tournament competitors, used a compound bow to shoot. A compound bow, compared to a traditional bow, helps the shooter in a couple of different ways.
“The thing that sets the compound bow apart from your traditional long bow is when you’re at full draw on the bow-back, all the weight’s taken off of your shoulders and your arms,” he said. “It allows you to focus more. It allows you to be more precise. The way the bow is designed, it stores all the energy for when the bow is at full draw. So you can shoot further and have more energy in the arrow.”
Jennifer Galbreath, program director for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation said Mark Proctor, president of BHA, and Mitchell were great to work with to get the event running.
“We haven’t done anything like this, and I thought this was a whole new group of people we could reach out to that we haven’t in the past,” she said. “It’s a community event. It doesn’t matter what level you’re at. I was all about it. I was so excited they wanted to do something like this.”
The goal for the first year was to raise $20,000, which Galbreath said will be easily met. At least $15,000 had already been raised heading into the day, leaving plenty of time for more to be added between registration and the silent auction.
Mitchell made an additional contribution to help raise money during the tournament. For $5, archers and volunteers could buy a burger with meat from an 800-pound nilgai, a species of antelope, which Mitchell had shot and donated for grilling.
One of Proctor’s favorite things about this tournament was that all the money raised for the foundation would stay in the state.
“A lot of times on charity events, you just never know where your money is going,” he said. “We’re sure it’s staying here. It’s going right to UAB.”
Mitchell said with all the success of the inaugural tournament, there will definitely be plans to make it an annual event.
“We’ve had tremendous support from donors and just people giving us money and giving us products,” he said. “Everybody has been overwhelmingly supportive of the event, so we’ll most definitely continue to do this from now on.”
The one suggestion Galbreath had for next year’s tournament concerned holding it earlier in the year.
“We have got to do a cooler month,” she said. “That’s the only thing. But for it to be this hot outside, we’ve had a lot of people all morning.”
Laura Owens can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.