In the eyes of archery fans, the Town of Oro Valley just hit the bull’s-eye.
On Nov. 1, Town staff and council hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to introduce the much-anticipated Oro Valley Archery Range at Naranja Park, 660 W. Naranja Dr.
Town staff recognized the popularity of archery after such groups as the Pusch Ridge Archers and the K-8 program at Wilson School demonstrated support for a Town-run archery range in Oro Valley council meetings.
“The popularity of archery in Oro Valley was pretty surprising to us,” said Town Manager Greg Caton. “This will bring a larger picture of community to Oro Valley. It’s not just about youth and retirees. It’s about emphasizing partnerships and creating a greater sense of who we are, and what we want as a Town.”
The manifestation of the 18-target archery range was in fact the result of many partnerships, with the Arizona Game and Fish Department donating a $15,000 grant, the Pusch Ridge Archers donating $16,000, and various donations coming from in-kind corporate sponsorships.
“We have a very passionate community, and when this was brought forward to council, those involved came with funding to make it happen,” said Mayor Satish Hiremath. “All seven council members were united on this front to provide more recreational opportunities to the Town.”
Another perk, according to John Harris of Arizona Game and Fish, is that archery is considered an extremely safe outdoor sport.
A number of students from Wilson Elementary’s archery program, headed by Physical Education teacher Gabe Romero, took the first shots at the range during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
For Romero and his students, the range will provide increased convenience.
“This is just fantastic,” said Romero as his students showed off their accuracy on the new targets. “The kids really want a place to practice on the weekends, and they aren’t able to take a bow and arrow on campus to do that, so this gives them a place to come practice.”
Rachael Schrader and Logan Tucker are two of the members in Wilson’s program.
“Finally,” said Schrader. “I own my own bow and arrows now, and I’m excited to be able to use them here.”
“It’s awesome to have a place to practice on the weekends besides my backyard,” said Tucker.
Similar to the youth in the community, Caton said many senior residents of SaddleBrooke who are interested in archery have been forced to drive across town to make use of the range near Davis Monthan Air Force Base. Now, only such individuals have a nearby place to hone their skills, local groups have a place to compete.
“Our meets are generally up in Phoenix, so this gives us the chance to host local tournaments,” said Romero.
And that’s just what Caton and staff are hoping to do. Just as the recently opened Aquatic Center is already lining up national competitions, Caton would like to see similar results with the archery range.
“There really aren’t a lot of ranges nearby,” said Caton. “This very unique facility not only fulfills the Town’s Parks and Recreation opportunities, but will help draw users from the region to compete,” he said.
The range currently still has unmet needs, with sponsorship opportunities available for:
•$150 set of ten wheel stops for the parking lot
•$1,000 picnic bench
•$20,000 shade structure
As funding becomes available, the Town will add two National Field Archery Association-certified 14-target walk-around courses on southwest and southeast corners of Naranja Park.