Those who own rural land have no trouble finding an appropriate place to stretch a bow and loose an arrow, if they are so inclined.
For city dwellers, however, the options are much more limited for archery aficionados. That’s where Clint Montgomery comes in.
The Preston Hollow resident is a co-founder and executive director of Texas Archery Academy, a nonprofit organization that operates two indoor ranges in the Dallas area, including a facility at Walnut Hill Lane and North Central Expressway that opened earlier this year.
“You used to be able to shoot in a city park before all the urban infill, but those days have kind of gone by,” Montgomery said. “We saw an opportunity. All the parks were moving away from the liability. If you like to shoot a bow and you’re living in a high-rise, where are you going to do that?”
Montgomery has been involved with archery since he was a child, and even was in charge of a few clubs before helping to start the academy after he became frustrated with the lack of urban promotion for the sport, and the dwindling infrastructure.
The first TXAA facility was launched in Plano in 2011. The 30,000-square-foot building draws more than 3,000 visitors per month, ranging from individual clients to school and youth groups, corporate events, birthday parties, and tournaments. TXAA subsequently opened a range in San Antonio that has proven successful. Then it started the Walnut Hill Range in an old 13,000-square-foot retail space in January.
“Growing archery in this area is a heartfelt effort, because a lot of people in the area don’t recognize it as a sport,” said Tony Fontana, a coach in the USA Archery program who co-founded TXAA. “It’s been a slow turn, but the community has definitely come out in droves.”
The academy holds community outreach classes for archers of all ages and skill levels in an effort to boost the popularity of the sport, from target archery to bowhunting.
“I’ve never met anybody who didn’t want to shoot a bow,” Montgomery said. “Once they start doing it, they realize it’s so much fun. On many different levels, there are different rewards that they find.”
For children, those benefits include teaching discipline, patience, focus, and responsibility, according to Montgomery.
“They start shooting and they develop self-confidence,” he said. “Archery teaches you a lot about yourself.”
This story appears in the August edition of Preston Hollow People, on stands now.