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This month, Missouri adopts an official sport – archery

Archery Hall of Fame Signing
Joshua Conaway
State officials and high school archery athletes gathered at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield to celebrate the adoption of archery as Missouri's official sport.

On August 28, Missouri will adopt archery as its official state sport. In Springfield, the archery community celebrated.

Inside Bass Pro Shops’ Archery Hall of Fame, a crowd gathered to watch state officials sign papers that made archery Missouri’s official state sport. Spectators included over half a dozen high school athletes who are involved in 4H and Missouri National Archery in the Schools Programs. In May, Missouri legislators passed a bill declaring archery the state sport of Missouri, and Governor Mike Parson signed the bill into law in July. At this meeting, state officials and high school archers took turns signing the ceremonial bill.

State representative Tim Taylor, a Republican representing District 48 in central Missouri, co-sponsored the bill. He’s intensely involved in the sport as an archery instructor for 4-H.

“I literally got up one morning, thinking about it, and thinking that it would be a great state sport," Taylor told KSMU. "And then I said, ‘Does Missouri have a state sport?’ and when I looked, we didn’t, so it was all kind of a snowball from there.”

Taylor says he hopes that making archery the state sport will help young people discover a passion they can pass on to future generations.

“If we keep those kids involved, they’ll have a lifelong passion for the sport once they start, and then that’ll transfer to their kids, and it’ll just keep on going," Taylor said. "It will live forever then.”

High-school senior Carter Taylor is on the Missouri 4-H Archery team, and is Representative Taylor’s son. He says he’s been shooting with a bow and arrow since he was two years old. He says he thinks the adoption of archery will promote the sport both in and out of Missouri.

“Across the nation I think it’s going to show people that, hey, Missouri was where modern archery started. It’s where the compound bow was invented. Missouri led the nation and the world both in the evolution of the bow.”

Missourian Holless Wilbur Allen, Jr. invented the compound bow in 1966, increasing an arrow’s speed and power.

Sarah Parker Pauley, Director of the Missouri Conservation Department, says the sport symbolizes inclusion and representation.

“It doesn’t matter what background, it doesn’t matter athletic ability, it doesn’t matter your socioeconomic background, almost anyone can participate in the sport of archery,” Parker Pauley said.

Josh Conaway is a graduate of Missouri State University with a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in International Affairs. He works as a news reporter and announcer at KSMU. His favorite part of the job is exploring the rich diversity of the Ozarks and meeting people with interesting stories to share. He has a passion for history and running.