The indoor shooting range at Archery in the Wild in northern Colorado was once dominated by camouflage and hunters. But on this Saturday morning, the archery range is dotted with ponytails and 7-year-old girls like Y’Jazzmin Christopher.
The popularity of The hunger Games series fuels an interest in the sport of archery, especially among girls. Some sports equipment suppliers say they have seen a sharp increase in sales of bows and arrows since the film series began in 2012.
Following in the footsteps of Hunger games Heroine Katniss Everdeen, who is fiercely gifted with a bow and arrow, is one of the reasons Y’Jazzmin walked through the door here this fall.
Her mother, Alicia Christopher, says the positive reinforcement brought her daughter back. Y’Jazzmin took part in their first tournament earlier this month.
“Looking at the way she has developed her confidence in what she does, she is very confident,” says Alicia. “She was a very shy person, but now she is opening up socially.”
Alicia recently bought a recurve bow for Y’Jazzmin. It cost around $ 130. And while it may seem expensive, the owner of archery shop Boyd Wild says the high demand for recurve bows – the type Katniss uses in The hunger Games – makes it difficult to store certain models.
“It takes about five months to get traditional bows right now,” says Wild. “I mean, it’s getting crazy all over the United States.”
Boyd and many in the archery industry are ready to capitalize on the growing interest in the sport. But Denise Parker, CEO of USA Archery – the governing body of Olympic sport – says the boom that followed The hunger Games original film in 2012 took many by surprise.
“We didn’t see it coming,” she said. “We’ve had archery in other movies, but never that kind of momentum at the same time.”
Over the past two years, USA Archery’s total membership has more than doubled. Parker says there is room for more growth: In early November, the Archery Trade Association funded an advertising campaign encouraging children and teens to try the sport.
“The imagery and the message is a whole new look for archery, and we’ve all collectively supported it,” Parker said. “I guess it’s kind of our ‘Got Milk?’ campaign, so to speak, for the industry. “
For some archery shop owners, however, there is a tension between growing the business and offering quality courses.
“If we were to advertise rather than word of mouth it would be insane,” says Stewart King, USA Archery Certified Trainer and owner of Rocky Mountain Archery in Fort Collins, Colo.
In some locations, the Junior Olympic Archery Development Program is open to everyone. But for King’s team, people have to try.
“So far we’ve limited the team to 40 shooters so we can give the kids individual direction,” he says. “Because if I just roll a huge number, no one is going to improve.”
USA Archery is stepping up efforts to train and certify more instructors to meet growing demand.
As Y’Jazzmin wraps up his Saturday morning workout at Archery in the Wild, The hunger Games is in his head.
“We have the book in the car,” Y’Jazzmin said.
She and her mom leave next door to watch the latest movie – The hunger Games: Catch fire. And with two more films to come in the series, it looks like the odds are in archery favor.
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