ROCHESTER — Hannah Drudge, 16, Rochester, is a typical teenage girl. She loves music (her favorite artist is country singer Jason Aldean), hanging out with friends and getting her nails done. She also recently attended the National Field Archery Association Indoor National Archery Competition in Cincinnati, Ohio. The competition included approximately 2,000 archers from all over the world. At the conclusion of the two-day shoot, Drudge shot a 592 with 70x and finished 4th in the nation. She is a three time state champion, setting five state records.
According to the Archery Trade Association, nearly 19 million Americans are involved in archery. It’s a sport that has been growing in popularity.
Drudge was 6 years old when her father, Darrin, came home one day with a bow and suggested that archery might be something she would enjoy.
She began taking shooting seriously in the fall of 2014 and entered her first competition in December of 2015. According to Drudge, learning about archery is an ongoing process.
“When I started out, I hardly knew anything about the equipment and relied on people around me who had much more knowledge about the sport. Choosing the perfect arrows, the right sights, arrow rest and even the release can be overwhelming with the many different options that make a bow the perfect fit. It’s a very precise sport. Luckily I have many people I can rely on for advice and direction.”
Drudge credits Jon Ringer, owner of Ringer Outdoors LLC, Rochester, with teaching her the finer points of shooting and with setting up her current bow, a Bear Escape SD.
Jay Jacobs, owner of Eagle Creek Firearms and Archery, Warsaw, is one of Drudge’s sponsors and has been very supportive, according to Drudge and her family. She often practices her shooting there. Drudge is currently preparing for the outdoor competition season, which will begin in a couple of weeks.
Drudge states, “Archery inspires me to focus on the target and not all the chaos around me. I also make an effort to apply this to my daily life.”
The thing she most enjoys about archery is going to competitions and meeting new people.
“It is a little intimidating walking in to the competitions,” says Drudge, but she feels that archery has helped her to develop more confidence.
She hopes to win a college scholarship for archery. To encourage this sport, several colleges, clubs and non profit organizations have initiated archery scholarships for students who are willing to compete in target, field and flight competitions.
Drudge states that one of her favorite quotes is, “Sometimes life is about risking everything for a dream no one can see but you.”
“No matter how big my dreams are I don’t ever want to lose focus of them and I will always work towards achieving them.”