Archery tournament attracts competitors to the Wiregrass

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Archery shooters showed off their talents in the Wiregrass today for the 2019 Alabama Recreation and Parks Association State Archery Tournament.

Kids ages 9 to 18 got a chance to compete for a title. 97 archery shooters competed but what makes this tournament so unique is that 37 of them are therapeutic shooters.

"Archery is good for anybody, the form has to be precise, it's very good for concentration and it's actually relaxing. If you get out there and do it on a continual basis, it's almost like you can sit back and relax and do this," Assistant Director of Dothan Leisure Services, Roy Kitts said.

Dothan's Eastgate Park hosted their 8th annual archery tournament, where teams traveled as far away as Talladega to participate in open bow and bare bow competitions.

And when asked how ready they were for this day, one team answered in three words.

"It's exciting, fun, happy," a therapeutic archery team, Dothan Hot Shots said.

The Dothan Hot Shots are a therapeutic archery program for special needs individuals. Three therapeutic teams from Dothan, Hoover and Ozark got the opportunity to compete for titles.

"They're totally included right in the middle of it, we shoot the 10 through 12 and then we shoot the therapeutic and then after that we shoot the 13 through 14 so they're included, they're apart of this just like everybody else," Roy Kitts said.

The Dothan Hot Shots have been training for this big day for more than 6 weeks. But why did these athletes choose this sport?

"When I first did it I thought it would be fun, it would be different and I enjoy it and I get to hang out with some of my friends during the summertime," Therapeutic Archery Shooter, Ashley Kelley said.

But this event means more than just the trophies and awards to these teams.

"It helps them to be a better athlete, it helps them to improve their skills every year and they truly truly enjoy this it is a wonderful sport and they truly enjoy this absolutely," Dothan Hot Shots Coach, Lorena Guttowsky said.

"And this is the only sport that I know of, they're included right along with everybody, with no exceptions, no differences, they compete the same way as everybody else does," Roy Kitts said.

The Dothan Hot Shots went home with four 1st place awards.

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