Rod, Gun and Game: Western New York archery comes alive with Olympic star
WEST FALLS –– A few months ago, the entire country gained a new interest in archery, after actress Jennifer Lawrence, who played Katniss Everdeen in the big-screen rendition of Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games,” depicted the rite of hunting with a bow and arrow.
Later in the film, Katniss put the same skill to use for her personal survival. Preteen and teen-aged kids, around the country especially girls, began to ask their parents for bow and arrow kits. Retail dealers reported that archery sales have skyrocketed.
A few weeks ago, my grandchildren asked that we take a family trip to the movies to see the new Pixar™ movie “Brave.” This colorful, animated picture again highlighted a young lady’s archery skills. This time, she was an heiress to the throne of a country where the skills of archery were touted for survival and existence.
Both of these films were fictitious, but they served to spotlight the simplicity and fun of old-fashioned archery.
Western New York’s own archery hero, Jake Kaminski, was named to the USA Archery Team for the 2012 Olympics. He joins two other men and three women on the six-person summer Olympic squad.
Kaminski, a recent World Cup gold medalist and graduate of Iroquois High School, will toe the mark on the Olympic re-curve archery range this week, beginning with the male team-ranking competition round on Friday, July 27 at 2 p.m., 9 a.m. United Kingdom time. Check the NBC Sports channel for your local listing.
Kaminski became interested in archery at the age of 6, when his dad Robert won a bow and arrow at a local gun raffle and the younger Kaminski said, “I was attracted to the bow.”
While Jake Kaminski, his wife Amanda and his parents were in town two weeks ago visiting friends and family, they stopped at the Olympic star’s training grounds, the West Falls Conservation Club. Kaminski presented Bob and Eileen Pfeil, longtime lead trainers and moderators of Leo’s Junior Olympic Archery Development Program, with more than $18,000 in archery supplies that he has used in the last several years, for use by other young archers.
The local JOAD program was initiated by the late Harry and Mary Staebell of Leo’s Archery, the location where Kaminski received his early training.
Harry Staebell set up my own personal Hoyt 2000 hunting bow, which my son-in-law still uses to hunt deer. I know both Staebells are sending beams of confidence Kaminski’s way. I remember Harry’s telling me, “That kid is going somewhere in this archery world,” and he was right!
Kaminski spoke on-on-one with each of the JOAD kids during their weekly archery practice seasons and even signed some autographs. He told the kids that he tried out for the 2004 Olympic at the age of 15. “I knew I was a little short on skill at the time, but I gained exposure that I think I needed to meet the right people, the right coaches and to identify the spirit of the competitive edge that all world-class winning athletes have,” he said.
“I really thought I could do it: be a winner for the USA team archery events, but, at that time I wasn’t ready.” He said that he returned in 2008 and learned more about the patience and strength required to be a better archer. “I had a few tough months when I changed my shooting style, but it paid off with much higher shooting accuracy, in the end,” he said. “Remember to listen to your coaches.”
The archer and his wife have been living in the USA Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., for the past six years. Kaminski has been honing his skills, “living proof that he is totally committed to his training regimen,” said his mother, Suzanna Linde.
Amanda Kaminski, also an archery star in her own right, said that her husband shoots between 400 and 450 arrows per day and works out on the track and in the weight room to build his strength.
Kaminski is teamed with the world’s No. 1-ranked archer, Brady Ellison, a gold medal performer in various competitions and Jacob Wukie, an archery star in world championships and the Pan Am games, for the three-man male team.
The USA has a solid men’s team, rated No. 1 in the world and the favorite to win at the Olympics. The USA has not won a medal in the male Olympic archery competition in more than 10 years.
The ladies team is comprised of Miranda Leek, Khatuna Lorig and Jennifer Nichols. Lorig trained Jennifer Lawrence in preparation for her role in “The Hunger Games.”
Kaminski will use a Hoyt Formula HPX re-curve bow with F3 or F4 carbon or limbs during the Olympics.
Kaminski has a tattoo that reads “I Am” on his left hand. He got the tattoo in 2006, when he changed his archery style, a move that he called his “biggest challenge in life.” He said that the tattoo meant he succeeded with this change. “It just means that I am now; I am anything; I am an Olympian,” he said. “I am ready.”
The 24-year old archer left for London on Monday, July 23 with his wife, family and team, ready for competition and a stay at the Olympic village with more than 10,000 other athletes from 205 countries. Check out photos and up-to-date Olympic news on Kaminski’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/kaminskijake.
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Lake Erie walleye and perch anglers and Lake Ontario trout and salmon anglers have reported that they saw the best fishing of their lives this spring and summer. Based on catches so far, some Lake Erie salmon may exceed 40 pounds, later this year.
If you have time, get out your own boat or contact a charter captain as soon as possible.
Sturgeon Point anglers reported consistent walleye catches along the international line in 60 – 62 feet of water due northwest of the launch ramp. The Department of Environmental Conservation reported that minnow type stickbaits and worm harnesses run just off the bottom have worked well. Purple and black is the hot pattern with size 4 1/2 willow leaf blades.
Anglers closer to Buffalo reported good walleye action around the Buffalo breakwalls and shoal areas at night. When the wind is from the west or southwest, Dunkirk and Barcelona anglers head to depths of 60 – 80 feet of water for good walleye catches on lures run 60 – 65 feet down. During northeast winds, trollers head 10 miles out to search for schools of walleye that have moved offshore. The minimum size for walleye on Lake Erie is 15 inches, with a daily creel limit of five walleye per angler.
Find more information about where and when to fish our Great Lakes at the Great Lakes Fishing website, www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/47535.html.
Wiscoy creek angler diary program
The Department of Environmental Conservation Region 9 fisheries office is still running an angler diary program for Wiscoy Creek in Allegany and Wyoming counties and the fisheries group is still looking for anglers to keep diaries.
If you fish or have fished Wiscoy Creek and would like to keep a diary for the DEC, call the fisheries office at 372-0645 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The program will run through October and be conducted in conjunction with a late-summer electrofishing survey to evaluate the fishery’s overall quality.
July 26: Erie County Federation of Sportsmen, monthly meeting, 7 p.m. Niagara River Station, 333 East River Road, Grand Island. For more information, call 597-4081.
July 28: Niagara River Anglers Association bass contest, 6 a.m. – 1 p.m., Lewiston Landing. For more information, call Steve Drabczyk at 807-6111.
July 28: NYS bowhunter course, Southtowns Walleye Association, Hamburg. Pre-register by calling 627-0147.
July 30 and Aug. 3 – 4: Hunter Education Course, Wood & Brook Sportsmen’s Club, Alden. Register at the first class, which starts at 8 a.m.
Aug. 3 – 5: Northern Chautauqua County Conservation fifth annual walleye tournament, Dunkirk Harbor. Cash prizes and Calcutta’s. For more information, call Zen Olaw at 640-2776 or email email@example.com.
Aug. 8 – 19: Visit the Conservation Building at the Erie County Fair. For more information, visit www.ecfair.org.
Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org 10 days in advance.