What started as nothing more than an idea and a few passionate local folks who love to shoot a bow and arrow continued to grow into something really remarkable last Saturday.
Two years after getting the Miami Springs/Virginia Gardens Optimist Indoor Archery Club off the ground, thanks to the vision and passionate pursuit of president Mark Bain, it officially became the Outdoor Archery Club as well. On Saturday morning, the ribbon was cut and archers began firing their crossbows at six different targets in the open field thicket behind the Miami Springs Country Club’s restaurant and pro shop.
“The indoor group was growing and getting so big that it got to the point where we wanted to look into creating something outdoors as well,” said Bain. “I was walking back this way one day last year when I looked around and thought, what a great spot to put up targets.”
Bain eventually approached the city council about the idea of “utilizing” space that was otherwise going unused and promised that it would not cost the city a dime.
True to his word, after getting the green light from the city, Bain got on his horse and, thanks to some generous sponsors and people donating their time, quickly raised the $5,000 needed to make it a reality.
“It was an absolute win-win for both the city and the archery club, so we didn’t hesitate when Mark came to us with the idea,” said City Manager Ron Gorland, on hand for the festivities, which included plenty of delicious food and drink. “I believe he came to me just before last Christmas with the plan and I just thought, here we have 183 acres and plenty of spare space and it’s no cost to the city, so why not?”
And away they went on Saturday. Not long after city officials, including Gorland, Councilmen Michael Windrem, Jaime Petralanda, Billy Bain and George Lob — the latter himself is an Archery club officer — cut the ribbon, away the arrows went.
John Waterhouse, owner of Archery Best Edge down in southwest Miami, who also serves as the resident “on-site” instructor for the club, was given the honor of firing the first arrow. A yellow balloon was in the center of the 40-yard target and Waterhouse “nailed it” with his arrow as the crowd applauded. The Outdoor Archery Range was officially open.
Six different targets sit in a left-to-right row 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 yards away and not only were there plenty of adults firing away, but lots of kids of all ages as well, which is what makes Bain most proud.
“This is what we’re all about and have always wanted to be about,” said Bain. “Family, family, family. So many of these other ranges have there little ‘cliques’ or prima donnas, we don’t do any of that here. We preach making this a family thing and we actually have shooters coming from all over Miami-Dade and Broward counties just because they love this club so much.”
And, with the only other outdoor ranges being in Homestead and Fort Lauderdale, Miami Springs is now right smack in the middle.
“Mark (Bain) is great,” said Jenny Avila, one of the sharpshooters on this day as she stood shooting at the 60-yard target (and hitting the center, we might add). “He is the heart and soul of all of this and his enthusiasm kind of spreads and gives off on everyone else. It’s great that we now have an outdoor range because many of the competitions we go to are outdoor as well as indoor, so you need to be practicing on both.”
“We’re so appreciative of the city doing this for us and working with the archery club to make it happen,” said Optimist Club president Tony Silva. “What really makes us as a club excited is that we exist to make things great for the kids, and look at all the little ones out there today. Fantastic.”
According to Bain, for the time being until they accumulate more members, the outdoor range behind the Country Club will be open for four different sessions — two on Saturday mornings from 8 to 10 a.m. and 10 a.m. to noon and Sundays at the same times. Cost is $75 for a one-year membership.
The indoor days will remain the same. Every Monday and Wednesday evening in two different time slots, 6 to 7:30 p.m. and 7:30 to 9 p.m. Cost for the indoor membership, which runs from the beginning of May to the end of October, is $35.
“We just wanted to take the next big step and this was it,” said Waterhouse. “Mark (Bain) is amazing. He’s like a big kid with this and without his passion, none of this happens.”
As if he didn’t have enough on his plate, Bain and the archery club officers recently got the news the the state tournament, which was hosted at the Miami Springs Community Center during the second weekend of last March, will return once again. Dates will be Feb. 22-23, 2014.
Thank You SponsorsBain wanted to make sure he got a shout-out and a thank you to all of the local sponsors who generously contributed to the funding of the outdoor range
• Doug Orr Plumbing • Action Plating • Archery Best Edge • BC&F Brokerage • Biscayne Rods • Circle Barber Shop • Doral Auto Care • Tom’s NFL • Woody’s West End Tavern.
Hawks clobber Hialeah Gardens 43-8Fresh off of a 32-0 thrashing at the hands of Hialeah one week earlier in its 2013 season opener, the Miami Springs Golden Hawks football team got to see “how the other half lives” last Saturday night.
The Hawks took the field against undermanned and outgunned Hialeah Gardens and thrashed the Gladiators 43-8 last Saturday night at Milander Stadium. The win squares Springs’ record at 1-1, while HG, which has only won two games in the five-year history of the program and not a single game since 2010, fell to 0-2.
“We understood the situation and knew we needed to go out and take care of our business, and that’s what we did,” said head coach Darryel Bethune, speaking like a coach who would have accepted nothing less than a lopsided win. “We did what we had to do and for the most part executed well, but now we know that the competition is going to ratchet up very fast.”
Indeed as the Hawks will face a pretty good Edison team this Thursday night, Sept. 12 at Curtis Park in what will be Springs’ last non-district contest.
After a week off the following week, the Hawks will begin a stretch of six consecutive district games starting with Hialeah-Miami Lakes on Sept. 27 at Milander.
Running back Malik Thomas led the way for the Hawks against Gardens, rushing for 148 yards on a dozen carries, 70 of those yards coming on a third-quarter touchdown run that extended Springs’ lead to 28-0.
Defensive back Bobby Stinson also had a big night as he picked off a Gardens pass to set up one touchdown and scooped up a fumble and rambled 35 yards for a score to stake his team to a 21-0 halftime lead.