Ellis County 4-H youth to compete nationally in recurve archery – Waxahachie Sun


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Updated: February 2, 2023 @ 6:06 am
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Connor McKenney, 18, of Waxahachie, first picked up a bow and arrow when he was 5 years old, but it wasn’t until he was 10 that he joined Ellis County 4-H and started to take archery seriously.
“I was shooting with 4-H people, and there was this one archer there who really inspired me,” McKenney said. “He showed me just how good you could be in archery. I didn’t know anything about it except it was something that happened in the medieval ages but watching him shoot was incredible.”
McKenney began practicing for several hours each week and competing in tournaments around the state. Beyond practices, he said he also must take care of his arrows and his bow to keep them in the top condition.
To better understand the sport he loves so much, he read as many historical documents on archery as he coulld find.
“I wanted to understand the differences between historical archery and modern archery,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it’s improved my archery, but it has improved my enjoyment of archery.”
Over the years, McKenney has improved his archery skills and earned a spot on the Texas 4-H Shooting Team for recurve archery. A group of professionals and volunteers review all the applications, which include the applicants’ tournament results, and select the top four applicants in the state based on their scores at tournaments over the last several years.
McKenney will compete in recurve archery, along with three other Texas 4-H youth, at the 2023 National 4-H Shooting Sports Championship in Grand Island, Nebraska.
To McKenney, archery is more than a sport. It is a time of reflection and better understanding who he is.
“I love how it is very introspective,” McKenney said. “A lot of life is overwhelmed with outside stimuli, but archery is not. I hate using this word, but archery is boring … but in a good way. You can focus on your day, and it makes you enjoy the life you have more.”
McKenney also loves the people he meets at tournaments. In archery, everyone wants to win or lose honorably, he said. One time, McKenney’s arrow broke during a competition, and he did not have the materials to repair it. His competitor, whom he was shooting head-to-head against, offered his supplies and helped McKenney repair his arrow.
“My score was higher than his, but he would rather me shoot well than end up winning because of a gear malfunction on my part,” he said.
McKenney’s ultimate dream is to “live off archery as his job and shoot a 900 at Vegas on recurve,” which is a perfect score at one of the largest archery tournaments in the world and has only been done once before.
McKenney is also a Shooting Sports Ambassador for Texas 4-H and hopes his knowledge of archery will help others experience the same love and enjoyment he has for the sport.
“For me, archery has legitimately changed my life,” McKenney said. “It’s taught me a lot about myself and others and how to be me. I want to help other people find that.”
To learn more about 4-H Shooting Sports, visit https://texas4-h.tamu.edu/projects/shooting-sports/.
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