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A first-of-its-kind attraction for the QCCA Outdoor Show debuted Thursday at the QCCA Expo Center, 2621 4th Ave., Rock Island.

"It's like trap (shooting), but with arrows," said Rob Junker, the QCCA show director, before the start of the annual four-day exhibition. "I've never seen one before."

Austin Pinon of Viola, Illinois, unveiled the apparatus at the southeast end of the exhibition hall. Using a remote control, he launched targets — orange foam discs that resemble clay pigeons — into the air at a 90-degree angle as Junker attempted to strike them with rubber-tipped arrows.

"Once you start, it's hard to stop," said Pinon, who purchased the machine last fall after an out-of-town friend brought one to his wedding at R&R Sports in Bettendorf. "It's something the Quad-Cities has never seen." 

Attendees may test their aim for free this weekend at the Outdoor Show. Pinon and his partner, Adam Kilcoin, will hand out prizes to successful participants. 

Pinon, who competes at archery tournaments around the U.S., hopes to show people the sport is a family-friendly recreational activity.

"Anybody can try it," he said, referring to the archery system dubbed the Phoenix, which was manufactured in England by a French company called Laporte. Operating under the name, Stick & String, Pinon and his business partner plan to rent out the Phoenix for future events in the area. When set up outside, it has the ability to hurl targets at 45- and 0-degree angles as well.

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The Laporte Archery system called the Phoenix throws foam discs into the air for target practice.

Admission to the Outdoor Show is $8 for adults, $1 for children 6-15 and free for children under 6.

Every year, the Quad-City Conservation Alliance, a nonprofit organization, uses proceeds from its season of shows to fund conservation work throughout the region.


Jack Cullen covers health, wellness and outdoor recreation for the Quad-City Times.