QCCA Outdoor Show

John Daufeldt, 9, of West Liberty lines up his shot at the archery range at the annual Fishing, Hunting and Outdoor Adventure Show in February at the QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island.

An Olympic and Paralympic training program for aspiring archers is expanding its range this spring to the Quad-Cities. 

In conjunction with USA Archery, the Quad-City-based Youth Shooting Sports Association is launching a Junior Olympic Archery Development club, the first of its kind in the area.

Beginning May 16, participants will begin practicing at R&R Sports Inc., 3250 Fields Drive, Bettendorf, which has an indoor and outdoor range.

The Quad-City program will be open to beginner, intermediate and advanced archers, ages 8-23.

In preparation for the season, seven coaches with the Youth Shooting Sports Association underwent extensive training at a club in Dyersville, Iowa, the closest site to the Quad-Cities with a designated USA Archery program. 

Bill Peterson, president of the Youth Shooting Sports Association, said coaches will provide hands-on instruction and focus on safe bow handling, marksmanship and equipment care. 

"Everyone thinks guns and bows aren't safe, but that's not true," said Peterson, who founded the nonprofit organization in 2013. "Safety is paramount with all shooting sports."

Organizers will host meetings next week at R&R Sports for interested participants and their parents. 

Those who join the team, which will be called the Quad-Cities Archers, will have access to the indoor and outdoor ranges year-round and the opportunity to compete in nationally accredited amateur tournaments. 

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Jack Cullen is a reporter uncovering offbeat stories about people and places in the Quad-City area.