By Sam Robinson
Hunters, competitive archers and novices alike will have the chance to hone their skills for free at the grand opening of the Koteewi Range Sport and Target Archery Center on June 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Koteewi Range, located at 22735 Essig Avenue northeast of Noblesville, is the largest archery-only facility in Indiana. Hamilton County Parks and Recreation and the Indiana DNR collectively invested 750 thousand dollars into the facility, which includes 96 covered shooting platforms and a 3D course with dummy animal targets.
“Whether you’ve been shooting for 50 years or never held a bow in your hand, you can get experience,” said Don Nicolls, Hamilton County Parks and Recreation’s resource development specialist. “It’ll create a recreational destination, not only for Hamilton County, but the whole state, or possibly the Midwest.”
Nicolls said that plans for an archery range began in 2010 when the county polled residents what sport they’d like to see developed. Nicolls said that archery was the “overwhelming reaction.”
“It’s a wonderful affirmation that the survey has been represented,” Nicolls said.
Tony Girt, the 18-year manager of Koteewi Range, said that he’s seen the popularity of archery steadily grow.
“When I started, it had mostly died out,” Girt said. “But now archery and traditional archery are making a big comeback.”
Girt and his staff teach new archers technique, but safety is the top priority. That’s why all novices have to take a safety course, and it’s why the county has been working since the initial opening in September to install barriers between the ranges.
Nicolls said that he hopes the investment into Koteewi brings commerce to Hamilton County by way of archers from across the region and future Olympic trials. The county has plans to develop Koteewi with complimentary attractions.