A new business to Salmon Arm combines dodgeball and archery in an open-air setting.
Kevin Smith is a certified bow technician and archery instructor who has added a new component to his archery business. His company, Bowsmith Archery, provides bow tuning services and training to new and experienced archers. This spring though he added a new component – arrow tag.
Arrow tag is a combination of archery and dodgeball. In a typical game, players are split into two teams and shoot foam-tipped arrows at members of the opposing team in an effort to eliminate them from the game.
While some companies offer a similar game in an indoor setting, Smith’s set up is a mobile one. Inflatable barriers like those used in speed paintball arenas, a set of recurve bows as well as the foam-tipped arrows are kept in a trailer which is then taken to where the event has been booked.
The most recent event which featured Smith’s arrow tag was the Sicamous Strength Festival on July 28. Arrow tag also made an appearance at the Canada Day celebrations in Blind Bay and, although Smith will not be attending the Salmon Arm fall fair, he is awaiting approval for arrow tag to be offered at the fall fair in Armstrong.
Arrow tag has also been featured at youth and adult camps, family reunions and corporate fundraisers or team building exercises.
Smith’s goal is to incorporate arrow tag with school physical education classes as an alternative to logistically complex outings.
“They’re always having to book busses and do all their travel plans just to go to the climbing gym or to cross-country skiing,” Smith said. “Whereas what I am hoping to do is bring the fun to them.”
Another reason why Smith thinks arrow tag in a school setting would be a good fit is the activity’s inclusivity.
“One thing that is driving me in archery is that I know there’s a lot of kids that kind of get left out in the sports world due to not being athletic,” Smith said. “I feel that with archery, you don’t have to be athletic. Sometimes it’s the slower, more methodical kids that excel in archery.”
Although arrow tag is similar to dodgeball in its set-up, there are many more game types that are possible. A modified version of capture the flag is a fan favourite along with, “escort the president,” where one player without a bow must move around the field while being protected by team members with bows.
Smith’s favourite game type is based on a point system which allows for a league-style competition and longer playing time.