The Archery in the Schools state tournament is Wednesday at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.
The Archery in the Schools program, administered by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, started seven years ago in 10 Oklahoma schools. Olympic-style archery is taught in physical education classes during a six-week course. Through the program, archery is now being taught in 310 schools in Oklahoma.
At Wednesday’s state tournament, 75 schools and 1,200 students who qualified to the state shoot through five regional contests will compete for state championships. The top shooters advance to the National Archery in the Schools competition in Louisville, Ky.
Forty-six states now participate in Archery in the Schools program including schools in Canada and New Zealand.
Oklahoma is one of the top five states in the total number of participating students and that number keeps growing each year, said Colin Berg of the state Wildlife Department.
“We can’t meet the demand,” he said.
The Wildlife Department provides grant money to schools to start the program. Schools match the grant money either through general funds or private fund raising.
It costs a school about $1,300 to get started, Berg said. Physical education instructors receive training on how to teach archery to their students.
Many of the archery instructors are also teaching hunter education now in schools, Berg said.