Just to let y'all know, the Bowhunter Happening is going to be at Sunrise Ski Resort Memorial Day weekend, May 26, 27, 28.
It is a move much needed to preserve the future of the shoot and the AZ Bowhunters Assn.
I want to try to shed a little light on what is happening.
Most of you need no history about the Bowhunter Happening, as many of you have been around longer than I have, but I need to go there anyway. The BHH was originally at Mormon Lake and was a great shoot. It was in the hay days of 3-D archery. It was the “Happening” and the biggest shoot west of the Mississippi. I lived in Minnesota in those days and remember reading advertising for the BHH in Bowhunter Magazine. Unfortunately, success sometimes can be the spoiler and in this case, it was. The event became so popular that the forest service would no longer issue a usage permit because of the size or the event, the number of people it drew and the impact on the environment. At that point, they ABA had to make a decision and move off National Forest Lands.
That is when the BHH moved to Fort Tuthill, which many people really did not like. It really lost a lot of the flavor of, “The Happening”. You could not camp there, you had to ride hay wagons and on and on... However, it was still a very successful shoot and it was looked forward to by many for several years. Then there came the year of the fire closers and a year with NO BHH, the county starting putting more and more restrictions on what areas we could use and what we could and could not do.
Again, the BHH had to look for a new home and the City of Williams rolled out the red carpet so to speak. They treated us like
Royalty and did everything possible to help make the BHH a success there. The Grand Canyon Railway came along side and offered up some 400 acres of private land. Just what was needed to assure a spot even with fire restrictions if they were to be implemented? There were drawbacks though, people missed the tall pines, and they hated the hay wagon rides from the Rodeo Grounds to the courses. Being in town offered new avenues for some but most longed for days of old. Being back out in the forest and having that feeling of a community of bowhunters sharing a long weekend “in the forest”.
Now the Railroad is being sold, Williams is going through changes. The property that we used is no longer a guarantee for the future and we as a board have had to make some decisions. Sunrise Resort became an option for us, as we need property that is not governed by forest service permits that will only allow a restricted number of users per event. We met with Sunrise this past winter and bounced the findings from that meeting around as a board. It had promise and was something to be explored more for the future. At that time, we had no idea the situation in Williams would change this year. When we found out the Railroad had been sold, it left us having to make a decision now, instead of in a year or two.
The Sunrise Shoot is June 30th. ,31st. and July 1st. this year. With the BHH being Memorial Weekend, it gives a month between shoots. It puts us ahead of the fire season; it is a long weekend so it gives more time for the extended drive to Sunrise. In addition, it is a weekend that Sunrise Resort was open for us to use and it barely comes ahead of their summer tourist season. No more, hay rides, everyone can camp nearby, there are many tall pines, and just maybe, most of what made the Bowhunter Happening the event it was, is there.
The draw back, and a huge one, and one that was and is the hardest to deal with is the Clint’s Well Shoot. I have shot that shoot myself for many years; it became a planned camping trip for my wife and me where we met friends. Going on top of them is not an easy decision to make but as an organization, we had to make a decision. I am not a close friend of Glen’s but I do consider myself a friend. Being part of making this decision was not easy but we have few options. I hope that thru some effort maybe we can make it work for everyone.
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