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COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The 2017 United States Archery Team Qualifier Series comes to a close this weekend at the Mathews Texas Shootout. The Texas A&M University Archery Team is hosting the event on a new field this year in Veterans Park, just off campus. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the field is in great shape and the Texas archery community is as strong as ever.
Texas has the second largest USA Archery membership by state in the U.S. behind California, and many were affected by the storm. The archery community rallied immediately to help whoever they could and the Texas State Archery Association (TSAA) organized volunteers and donations. TSAA's Alex Clamon shared: "So many folks got completely wiped out and some clubs have some damage as well, so we're trying to be mindful of that. I was fortunate enough to be able to go do four days' worth of boat rescues in Houston and got to see it firsthand, which really drove home the level of devastation."
He added: "We need to help as close to home as we can. A few of us on the [TSAA] board got to talking and decided we needed to do what we could to help our community. This archery community here is our family and we all really see it that way. We have to help our family first. Everybody talks about Texas or whatever, but that sense of community and duty is universal. The same things are happening in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the earthquakes and fires, it's not unique to us."
Tying it back into the archery world, Clamon continued: "I think because we are all so dialed into coaching and performance and helping people-it's almost always volunteer work. The value to me, in being able to coach a bunch of kids and take some to competition and see them do well is that a lot of times, these are kids who are not going to be reached by other sports. Not everyone can play football or baseball, and so this becomes a way to take very high performing, driven individuals and give them an opportunity. It means you end up volunteering and giving a lot of your time and the reason you do that is because you believe in what you're doing and know you're going to turn out better people and have an effect that may last their entire life."
Competition begins officially tomorrow morning with qualification followed by elimination matches on Sunday.
USA Archery is unveiling a new photo website this weekend. While still a work in progress on uploading past archives, photos from this weekend will be available at www.usaarchery.smugmug.com. Live results will be available here. For more, follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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