Hailey Wilson finds her niche with Archery

I am Hailey Wilson a 9th grader and archer from the small town of New Brockton Al.

 To start with I did not plan on archery as my number one sport and hobby I was a softball player playing catcher for 5 years, then one day last year I had to make a choice and archery became my life.  Archery started for me at age 10 as a couple times a month at the local 4-H after a friend invited me. It was basic learning the rules and shooting about 25 arrows each time I went with a furnished Genesis bow.   I knew nothing about archery and only knew one person the boy up the street that invited me that shot a bow.

I had started in Jan 4 years ago and a regional 4-H tournament came up which I went to not doing very well either but showed me what competition was and I had a really good time.   I now thought that I needed a bow of my own, so my grandma bought me a blue Genesis that I shot for about a year. These weekly trips to the local 4-H is all I really knew about archery a year and a half later.  As the new year started the club grew a little and some boys with compound bows came something I had never seen and after about six months I wanted to move up after watching them. So, then my grandpa took me to Bass Pro Shop and not knowing anything about archery he told the guy working that I needed a bow and everything to go with it.  I left there with a Bowtech infinite edge and everything I needed. That really became the turning point for me and I wish my papa was here to see how far I have come, he passed away 3 years ago.

The following year was a lot more practice by getting some of my own targets to put in the yard.  I got to go to more 4-H tournaments not doing well at first, but practice makes better and each year doing better and last year bring home a 1st place medal and a belt buckle.  I adventured out last year also shooting with the S3DA, BHA, ASA and some local tournaments along with our weekly league at the local bow shop thinking that I was finally good enough to try.  I had hurdles to get over and since I had made some new friends they encouraged me that’s my favorite part of archery making new friends. I didn’t want to beat any of my friends thinking they would get mad, it was hard but found that archery friends are the best and they all want to win but it you do it is great, and they are happy for you.  I learned it is okay to win and I started trying more. Last year worked hard and brought home a few medals from the S3DA, some local trophies, and shooter of the year for the BHA in Alabama. During this time, I decided I wanted to try something new, I had been shooting pins and I wanted a target bow and switch to an open setup. I knew this was going to cost money, so I talked my aunt into splitting the cost with me and I started sorting through my softball equipment and started selling till I had enough money.  I now had enough money to get my Bowtech Fantic 3.0.

This year and it is not over yet has been the best, the change did me good.  My goal was to podium at one of the ASA’s and I would be happy, but better I could do this I knew it could be an issue getting there since I would have to miss school sometimes.  I decided to go talk to the school principal and see what could be done explaining my thoughts since I was the only archer in our school. I talked about the other sports teams getting excused when they had a game and I was not, so he let me bring in a list of my days I needed off and we worked it out, so I could be excused also.   I have been to 6 ASA’s so far and made it to the podium each time getting 1st in KY, I also got 2nd place for Shooter of the Year.  I am so grateful for this and all the wonderful friends I have made this year.  I also went to my 1st S3DA national 3-D tournament in Ill this year and was so proud to take 1st in my division female middle school open.  

Next year I move up to high school open which will be a new challenge in my life that I look forward to meeting new archers like myself loving every minute of it.  In the future I would like to be able to go on to college with an archery scholarship and keep archery in my life. I am trusting in God to get me where I need to go in life.

In the summer I help with the archery camps that my local shop holds which is fun helping the younger kids learn how fun archery is.

Now archery is not all I do, I am an original member of an organization in town called Hand Up which started as a few and now there are hundreds.  We work with the homeless, elderly, and the needy. We have a food pantry and a building with anything that is needed and if we don’t have it we find it. This is where any money that I earn goes. I also run booths for the S3DA trying to get new members, I am the only girl in our club and would love to get more girls involved.  I am also an avid animal lover having 4 dogs, 2 cats, 3 snakes, 2 goats, 4 pigs and a chicken. Each summer I also participate in the GEMS program which is learning things that have to do with math and science one of my passions, science is my favorite.

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