I believe that a similar idea would work well
in the West to encourage greater participation in archery. Our present wars
with Antir and Caid (when we have one with Caid) involve combat archery in
the battles. But, if they were to also include a war point for target
archery, it would increase over time the number of people shooting for the
war point. It could encourage those that do not fight or do Arts And
Sciences competitions to help their kingdom by contributing toward a war
point. It would also allow some of the fighters to even further increase
their contribution to winning. This increase in archery participation would
not take place overnight, but would develop over time.
At this time, September 2006, the Mists
Archer, Dauid Morgant, is running a “Princes’ Archery Challenge” between the
Mists and Cynagua. This is won by the Principality with the highest total
points in shooting the Royal Round. This can encourage anyone, no matter
what their skill level, with a bow and arrows to help their Principality by
shooting in the competition and adding their points to the total. And even
those that lack archery equipment can borrow it to shoot and add their score
to the total for the glory of their Principality.
But to give this a better chance of
succeeding there are several other ideas that need to be developed
simultaneously to increase the visibility of and participation in archery in
Here are ten ideas that can be put into
effect by the archers and archery marshals of the West. Some of these are
already being done, but need further support.
1) Dress up the archery range with banners
and pennons, so that it looks like a planned mainstream activity , rather
than a temporary stepchild set up in a conner of the event. The equestrians
have done an excellent job of doing this. There should be principality and
kingdom banners and pennons to mark the shooting lines. And each archer
should be encouraged to bring and put up their own banner or pennon behind
them on the line. This will create a more visually attractive and inviting
area. When possible sunshades should be made available for both archers and
2) The results of any competition held at an
event should be announced at court and the winners called up. In addition to
any possible prizes given, there should always be scrolls handed out to the
top archers in each division. These scrolls can be printed up with the
event, date and division beforehand and then the names filled in at the
event. This can encourage many to participate by rewarding their
participation and skill with a moment of recognition at court and a scroll
to hang upon their wall. However, care should be taken to do the
presentation quickly and not overly prolong court.
3) Archery competitions such as the “Princes’
Archery Challenge”, Royal Round, and Inter-kingdom Archery Competition
should have their current standings and scores put in the “Page” each month,
as well as being posted on the West Kingdom Archery web site and archery
email group. This will let the archers know their standings, help to
encourage competition and keep mention of archery before the populace.
4) More interesting to watch, period type
competitions should be held at events. The shooting of RRs and IKACs should
be generally be done at practices. When possible, competitions should have
the top finalists shoot a final round, where the results of each shot can
either be seen by the audience as it happens or can be announced to them
after each shot. When possible invite the Royalty to observe the final
5) More archery marshals should be trained
and authorized. This would prevent archery from
being held at an event due to a lack of
authorized marshals. By providing a large pool of marshals it would prevent
any one or two marshals from having to spend all day on the range and having
to set up and take down the range alone. And a larger number of marshals
could mean a larger number of archery practices and events.
6) At events a supply of loaner gear should
be provided and those that are interested could be given basic instruction.
This could take place before and/or after the competitions. Or if there is
space on the range and enough marshals to instruct them, it could take place
in a separate section of the range during the competitions.
7) Youth archery is an aspect of archery that
should not be neglected. Training should be made available for interested
youth. When possible special competitions or at least a youth division in
other competitions should be provided.
8) There is a good possibility of crossover
between both equestrians and fencers with archery. This should be looked
into and encouraged. The equestrians use mounted archery in some of their
events and could use the opportunity for further practice in basic ground
archery. And with what has been mainly fencing or equestrian events, adding
archery to them could provide more attendees to watch and perhaps learn and
practice new skills. This could also provide a larger gate to help cover
site expenses and possibly provide more events for all three groups.
9) Competition between groups should be
greatly encouraged. Not just competition for high scores but also for
putting on interesting competitions and events, making and using period
10) Members of the RCA and RCY and any future
archery orders should be encouraged to assist in: Training of new archers.
Organization of competitions. Marshaling of competitions. Creation of period
gear. Teaching period archery. Etc.
11) Have an archery pavilion on the Eric at
events. I believe the Office of the Royal Archer is allowed pavilion space
on the Eric. Such a pavilion would be seen and walked past by most of the
populace during an event. It could display examples of archery gear and
related material, archery craft classes could be held there, CA
authorizations could be held there, a map to the archery range could be
displayed, etc., and it would also be a central gathering place for the
archers. And it would be a place of information for those that might be
interested in learning more about archery. It would have to have
knowledgeable volunteers that could be present for most of the day. The
Principality archery officers should also have a similar pavilion at
principality events. (added 1-07/07)
Here are three ideas that would require the
assistance and approval of the Crowns and Coronets.
1) Many kingdoms have an Archer Champion or
King’s or Queen’s Archer Champion or Prince’s or Princess’s Champion. The
champion would be determined by a special competition held once a year and
they would hold the position for a year. In some kingdoms their duties
include: To arrange the next year’s champion competition. To march in
procession with the Royalty when requested. To answer any archery challenge
to the Crown from an other kingdom. To encourage archery in the kingdom. To
set a good example for other archers of the kingdom. etc. Upon successful
completion of their year as Archer Champion they may, at the discretion of
the Crown, be given membership in an order for the Archer Champions. This
order could include an Award of arms. The West once held Archer Champion
competitions, but has not done so for years.
2) Maintain some archers on the Queen’s
Guard. This would help by providing an increased presence before the
populace. And could encourage positive interaction between the heavy
fighters and archers of the Guard, which could carry over and help to
maintain good relations between the archers and the sword and shield
fighters in the future.
3) We have two grant level orders for archery
in the West: The Royal Company of Archers for target archery. And the Royal
Company of Yeomen for combat archery. But , unlike some other activities,
there are no lower level awards to acknowledge and encourage archers.
Membership could be based upon skill, service, and courtesy. If there were
to be such orders, then possible names for them in keeping with the RCA and
RCY could be the West’s Company of Archers and the West’s Company of Yeomen.
Unlike our heavy combat, archery is an aspect
of medieval life that almost everyone can participate in. If given
interesting competitions to watch and shoot, a chance to learn how to shoot
and some recognition for their efforts, many more people may become involved
in archery in our fair kingdom.