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This was in my local paper to day

"A shot in the dark
Hendersons put spotlight on archery

By Amy Oberlin

FLINT — Outside of the Steuben County area, most people probably wouldn’t know where Flint, Ind., is.

However, the tiny town just north of U.S. 20 on C.R. 750W is known to archery aficionados far and wide. Flint is the home of A Shot In the Dark, an indoor archery range.

A month ago, owners Carl and Rose Henderson added a three-dimensional course to their virtual and paper target ranges. The ranges, plus an ongoing archery tournament, keep the Hendersons hopping.

“It’s constantly busy,” said Rose on Sunday, the day before she and Carl would celebrate their fourth anniversary. They’ve been together for around 15 years and run the business together — with a little help from their grandson, Spencer Hildebrandt, and others. A Shot In the Dark’s ranges and archery shop are closed on Wednesdays; open 2 to 9 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

In its 10th year, the Hendersons have opened the 3-D range, and Carl said it is bringing in new faces.

“It seems to be the busiest,” Carl said with an easy smile. Sunday, people of all ages waited turns to “hunt” realistic animals set up in a long garage-like structure beside the original two-story Shot In the Dark building.

Marvin Hoover of Kendall-ville, Herman Sells of Wolcottville and Paul Kimmel of Albion took the chance to brush up on their skills to prepare for International Bowhunting Organization (I.B.O.) tournaments.

Sells said A Shot In the Dark’s 3-D range is awesome. “Needed it years ago,” he said. I.B.O. national and world championships include people from warmer areas, where it’s more feasible to practice year-round. People who live in northern areas are three months or so behind many of their peers because the cold weather causes the bows, and the shooters, to operate less efficiently outdoors, the men said.

A Shot In the Dark offers its own tournament, which culminates in the best three teams being offered an opportunity hunt with Carl Henderson and a professional outfitter. First-place winners get 100 percent of their trip paid. The second-place team gets 75 percent of the trip paid and the third-place team, 50 percent.

“We’ve been to Texas. We’ve been all over the country doing it,” said Carl. He’s planned trips to Texas, Tennessee, Canada and other locales.

The league includes 32 teams of two at this time. All are shooting on the same ranges, with various handicaps — 40 arrows a week.

They rotate for 12 weeks from the paper target range in the upper story of A Shot In the Dark to the technological range on the first story to the new 3-D range.

“It’s something different that we tried since we opened the 3-D range,” said Rose.

This week, the techno range is the site of league play.

While Jake Colon and his brother, Kyle Alaura, may not be in the top echelon of archers at the facility, they are one of the youngest teams.

Alaura is 17, and has been shooting and hunting for two years. Colon, 13, picked up a bow for the first time in December, and is the youngest person involved in the leagues in Flint.

“He’s awesome. He’s just like a natural at it,” said their mother, Tammi Alaura. Her boyfriend, Tony King, got the family involved in the leagues and target practice at A Shot In the Dark. Carl said he can count on seeing them at least three times a week.

Sunday, the boys shot in the dark, quiet virtual range, waiting for animals to appear on a big screen 20 yards away. Throughout the session, Alaura prompted his younger brother — “Take your time ... Pull back now.”

“You shoot for the heart,” Alaura explained. “The trick is to know where the heart is, how to hit it.”

The virtual range allows shooters to “kill” a variety of animals, everything from deer to giraffes to snakes to birds.

“I got a lot of bulls-eyes today,” said Alaura.

After each shot, a running tally appears on the screen. It tells if the hit was a “body” strike or a “bullseye” or other type of shot. It provides a score and tells how fast the arrow flew. For example, on his last shot, Alaura’s arrow went 218.1 feet per second.

The end total is printed on a letter-sized sheet by Rose, and the points are added to a list hung in the shop.

“We have leagues every day and it’s packed,” said Rose.

Sunday was a mix of groups putting in their league play and customers shooting for fun.

“I’m seeing a lot more kids and girls,” said Carl.

While men generally made up the majority of the hunting and archery entourage, more different types are getting into the sport.

“I did score better than the guys did,” said Adrienn Rogers of Auburn, who just picked up the sport and was hanging out in the 3-D range with Kyle Ellert of Waterloo and Ryan Pfefferkorn of Auburn.

“There’s not a lot of girls doing it,” Rogers said. “It is fun.”

Pfefferkorn said Sunday was his second time at A Shot In the Dark.

“The people are nice,” he said. “It’s second to none in this area.” "

9 Posts
I try to stop in at Shot in the Dark anytime I get into the area. Unfortunately, I never seem to have my bow with me. :( I would love to get up there sometime and shoot. It is a nice place. Like James said, Carl and Rose are great people.
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