School Archery Competition Supported by Army Recruiter and AUSA Chapter

School Archery Competition Supported by Army Recruiter and AUSA Chapter

Publication Date
Saturday, February 13, 2021

Written by Frank Cannavo: (Click here for event pictures.) Archery training and competition is a significant activity in Kentucky elementary, middle and high schools. In fact, the national sport organization is thought to have begun in Kentucky in the 1990’s. Every year high school students receive college scholarships to compete on intercollegiate archery teams.

Over the three days of Jan 29, 30 and 31 some 243 students from several Southeastern Kentucky schools met at Southern Middle School in Pulaski County, KY to compete for awards at each level. Over 270 students were scheduled to compete but COVID-19 protocols eliminated a few. The school year’s competition schedules had been eliminated by COVID but with less than a month to go the state association authorized this meet. Now the organizers had to scramble to set it up and arrange for awards.

Enter Sergeant First Class Bradley Armentrout, a US Army recruiter in Somerset, KY. While in a local restaurant for lunch, SFC Armentrout struck up a conversation with Aaron Atwood, coach of the archery team at Southern Middle School and coordinator of the competition. This was on Jan 27, three days before the contest. Brad saw that Aaron was preoccupied and asked what the matter was. Aaron told Brad about the competition and said he was perplexed about how to arrange for awards and to get enough personnel to run the tournament so quickly. Coach Atwood’s challenge became an opportunity for the Army.

Realizing that archers would have developed solid self-discipline and marksmanship skills, it seemed like these students could have great potential as soldiers. SFC Armentrout asked what the awards usually are and offered to get them in return for some mention at the contest. Coach Atwood readily agreed. Now all SFC Armentrout had to do is get arrows for third place, a competition target and arrows for second place and a competition bow for first place.

The target and arrows were available at Paul’s Discount, a popular local sporting goods store. The bow had to come from the only manufacturer of these special low draw (max 20 pounds pull) bows. When Brad told them the story, the manufacturer offered to make the bow risers in desert tan and to print the Army Star and “US Army” on them. This would be first for them and they were eager to do it.

SFC Armentrout was willing to pay out of pocket in case the expense would not be authorized by Recruiting Command, but he remembered that the Association of the US Army (AUSA) local chapter had previously supported several recruiting events. He had contact information for the Cpl. Bill McMillan – Bluegrass Chapter of AUSA and they swung into action. In one conference call the chapter officers authorized the expenditure and offered to send a representative to the awards ceremony.

On January 31 SFC Armentrout and Frank Cannavo of AUSA joined Coach Atwood in awarding trophies and medals to all grade winners, the target and arrows to overall second and third place winners, and the unique Army Recruiting bow to overall first place winner Layla Blevins, a Pulaski County High School Senior. Miss Blevins is tied for sixth place in the nation and already has scholarship offers from four colleges.

The Kentucky state competition is scheduled for March 12 and 13 in Louisville. SFC Armentrout and AUSA plan to be there in support.