Tramping around in the chilly wet woods with a bow and arrow was the furthest thing from most people’s minds Sunday.
But Mike DeFile isn’t most people. So that’s exactly what he and some like-minded archers were doing at the Sportsmen’s Club of Clifton Park, having fun and helping veterans at the same time.
“There was a nice breeze and the cloud cover through the day made it so we weren’t getting killed by the sun out there,” he said. “All in all it was an awesome day out there.”
DeFile was among roughly 100 archers who spent around eight hours shooting at three-dimensional targets that resemble animals typically found in a forest. All proceeds from the event benefited the Wounded Warriors Project, a nonprofit service organization that offers a variety of programs, services and events for veterans who were wounded in the U.S. military actions following Sept. 11, 2001.
Greg Raymo, chairman of the club’s archery committee, said he expected around 250 to 300 archers to attend Sunday’s event but only about 100 showed up. Temperatures dropped to around 50 degrees and there were several bursts of rain throughout the day.
“I think that the guys that were really into it and were going to show up no matter what are the ones that came,” he said. “But it seems like anyone that was on the fence about it didn’t come.”
The club was going to raffle off dozens of gifts Sunday, including a pair of binoculars and a crossbow, but postponed it because of the sparse turnout.
“We are going to hold a rain date for the raffle on July 12,” he said. “We will be doling out raffle tickets until then, so financially the rain might have actually helped us because we might sell more raffle tickets in the end.”
Raymo, a Marine Corps veteran, said he felt it was important to host an event that would benefit the men and women that served the United States in recent wars.
“We do a lot of stuff with the Wounded Warriors Program but it seemed right to host an event dedicated to their cause, ” he said. “It is something that is very close to my heart and I’m sure for a number other guys that are here today.”
Courtney Maxwell of Halfmoon said Sunday’s event was one of the few times that gun clubs from all over the Northeast come together and participate in one shoot.
“It’s pretty cool,” he said. “It’s a chance for all of us to come together and do something we love to do.”
The rain didn’t bother Maxwell at all — in fact, he said it made the day more enjoyable.
“All the bugs were gone and it made for a really great day,” he said.
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