My name is Cooper French, and I owe my start in archery to Groupon®. Yes, I said Groupon®.
Allow me to explain. In January 2014, my mom set out to buy my dad a birthday gift. You see, my dad has a lot of hobbies and is always interested in trying new things. When Groupon® is advertising a discounted range time, bow rental and also a lesson, she jumped on it. My dad was pretty excited, it seems he had always wanted to try this out. Lucky for me, my dad dragged my twin sister and I to the range with him and my obsession was born.
Dad and I are new hunters that love to be out in the field. We used to avidly shoot firearms for clay pigeons and hunting. We have learned a lot this year about hunting, and how it is easier to obtain archery tags by buying them over the counter, just another great reason to get into archery! 3D tournaments have become one of my favorite aspects of this sport that I love; learning to judge distances and pick a spot on the target to aim at. Eventually my dad got me a Hoyt Faktor 30™ that I enjoy using for bowhunting and 3D archery.
I quickly found out about the bi-weekly JOAD (Junior Olympic Archery Development) program, it sounded like fun so I signed up and gave it a try. The JOAD program helped my shooting skills quite a bit, especially with the private coaches. I had learned to score a target face and became addicted to shooting target archery. My first bow was a Hoyt Ignite™ and at the time, I loved that bow to death and it was my prized possession. Even still, it was not very long before I decided to upgrade. For my first target bow, I chose a used, anodized orange Hoyt CRX 35™ that I found on Archery Talk. With this bow, I achieved my Indoor Bronze Olympian within under six months of shooting archery, and just a week later I earned my Indoor Silver Olympian. To date, I now have my Indoor Gold Olympian and am hoping to earn more outdoor pins this year. Recently, my dad along with the help of Arizona Archery Club, decided to upgrade me to a more professional competition bow – a Hoyt Podium X™.
Archery became my favorite thing to do, I started shooting nearly every day at the range. My family and I are very thankful to be friends with the staff and customers of Arizona Archery Club. Everyone I have met there was very accepting to new and upcoming archers. They’ve helped me immensely, supported me the whole way and have motivated me to shoot as much as possible. I started shooting six or seven days a week and have not stopped this routine since then.
The morning I earned my Indoor Gold Olympian at JOAD, I decided to drive over to the Summer Sizzle Tournament afterwards. I hadn’t planned on shooting, I just wanted to support my friends. Then the officials told me there was an open spot and asked me if I was interested. Since my equipment was with me I decided to give it a go, even though I hadn’t sighted my bow. There was no time for unofficial practice, so I used my three official practice ends to sight my bow to 25M. Early in the competition I was confused who was next on the line, so I was late to start my end. I only had half of the original time to complete my scoring end, but still managed to drop only one point. After making it through that mistake, I slowed down and set the tone of my shot process, and my score improved. After the first day of scoring I was surprised that I had a fairly good lead on my competition. The second day was two rounds at 18M, I felt like I shot fairly well to stay in the lead of the tournament. Later that day, not only did I win the competition, but I had set a new national record for the 25M portion of the competition by 18 points!
I have actively been focusing on my shot process and form with my coach, Mark Penaz, who has helped me immensely with my archery and is leading me in the right path to succeed. In the first weekend of October, I shot my first perfect indoor score of 300 with 20 X’s, merely 18 months after first picking up a bow. I am happy with my progress in this sport and plan to keep improving. As always, I am very thankful for all of the support and encouragement I have received from everyone
involved in this sport, and hope to help other upcoming archers in the same manner that I have been helped.