• Sat. Nov 26th, 2022

RI Tangy archery lessons, target shooting, parties, mini-courses

ByMary M. Ward

Oct 14, 2022

Visitors to Tangy’s – pronounced TAN-jeez, not TANG-ees – will encounter a wall of arches, multiple lanes, a sea of ​​foam targets in the shapes of a wolf, a badger, a panther and a deer, and a real deer. Well, just his head, mounted on a wall, his antlers and all.

With so many objects to hit and a movie poster nearby of Kevin Costner modeling the perfect form of an archer as Robin Hood, it’s a wonder my arrow went to the back wall – twice – lodged in almost exactly the same spot every time, give or take a few millimeters.

Sheepishly, I ripped the arrows from the wall. Kindly, Jimmy and Heather Dean, the husband and wife duo who run the Warwick archery team, did not charge me any damages.

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Newspaper reporter Amy Russo takes aim, under the direction of Heather Dean, during a lesson at Tangy's Archery in Warwick.

Aged 78 and 75 respectively, Jimmy and Heather have over a century of experience between them, both having started the sport in their early twenties and having seen a hodgepodge of skill levels come through the doors of their shop.

Their customers range from college students to bachelor party revelers, for whom Jimmy has one cardinal rule: don’t drink while holding sharp objects.

Recently, a baby shower even graced the aisles, with the mother-to-be trying her hand at shooting practice.

For deans, newborns and archery mix very well. Jimmy, who takes credit for getting Heather hooked, still remembers the time they pushed their pram around a course in Narragansett between archery shots.

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Jonathan Rodriguez, left, of Providence, a newcomer to archery, gets a lesson from Tangy owner Jimmy Dean.

It was Jimmy’s brother, Ray, who got him hooked, taking Jimmy to a tournament at Cumberland’s Diamond Hill and letting Jimmy borrow his equipment.

“I went around and beat him to it,” Jimmy recalled. “He had been touring for three months and he got mad at me for taking his trophies.”

A few months later Ray sold the equipment to Jimmy, and in 1978 Jimmy made a decision.

“After always lowering my bow every time someone new came to teach them, show them what I knew and help them, I decided it was time to get involved in the sale of bow equipment. archery,” he said.

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Arrows hit one of the archery targets at Tangy's.

Touring local archery tournaments, Jimmy would open a case and falcon gear, eventually opening his own five-lane shop in 1980 opposite a Chinese restaurant in Cranston.

The store’s name was chosen after Jimmy, who was in competitions, noticed players concocting their own color-coordinated characters, from the Pink Panther to the White Knight.

“I wanted to be recognized. So I made a shirt. On the back of my shirt I put ‘Tangerine Dean’,” Jimmy said. It was a nod to her favorite color.

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Tangy co-owner Heather Dean gives reporter Amy Russo some advice before she takes the bow for a spin.

“I would wear orange clothes from head to toe. My bow was orange, my car was painted orange. …I even dyed my own quiver orange. Everything had to be orange.

Eventually, a friend gave Jimmy the nickname “Tangy”, and Tangy’s was born.

  • Eventually, the Deans moved their outpost to Warwick, first to Pontiac Mills and then to its current digs, where the pair show no signs of slowing down, alternating between ropemaking, arrowmaking or offers to those curious about sport.

Let’s say maybe I need another one.

Providence Journal editor Amy Russo, a transplanted New Yorker, is looking for new ways to find out about her adopted state. If you have any suggestions for this column, email him at [email protected]