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Angelina College to offer Archery as credited physical education course

LUFKIN, August 13, 2014-- Angelina College will offer Archery as a credited physical education course beginning in the Fall 2014 semester, and the instructor, Ricky Gay, has the credentials and experience to help even the beginning bow shooter experience success.

He also has a unique story as to how the idea for the course unfolded.

Gay, an avid hunter, has been shooting bows for years. However, not until his daughter attended Texas A&M University and enrolled in Archery for a P.E. credit did Gay realize the opportunities available in the sport.

 I’ve been shooting bows since I was a kid, but around here, if you owned a bow, it had camo on it,” Gay said. “The hunting aspect has always been here and is still going strong, but outside this area, there’s a whole world of target archery that is basically unknown in East Texas.

“When my daughter arrived at A&M, she told me, ‘I’m not particularly athletic, so I don’t want a P.E. class to involve a ball, or running, or sweating.’ I laughed and told her she’d pretty much taken the ‘physical’ out of ‘physical education.’ Then she asked me about archery; it was one of the PE courses offered there. I told her she’d enjoy it. It’s not about how strong or athletic you are.”

Gay said his daughter fell in love with the sport; at the same time, she’d peaked her father’s interest. He began attending some of the competitive meets, got some instruction from the Olympic-caliber coaches and athletes there – the Aggies boast a 14-time national champion program along with two female Olympic shooters – and began competing himself. He shot at a U.S.A. qualifier, surrounded by some of the world’s most competitive archers. He ended the year ranked 99th in the nation; a couple of years later, his ranking would reach as high as 43rd.

Using his newfound experience, Gay began recruiting his friends for casual gatherings at his church. Eventually, he met Angelina College PE instructor Patty Donaldson and asked about the possibility of adding Archery as a full-credit course. Donaldson, an adventuresome type, agreed, and now the course is on the schedule for the upcoming semester.

Gay said the class should be appealing to both experienced bow hunters and the novice. The focus will be on technique and fundamentals, with the ultimate goal improvement.

“People who have used bows before will realize the form is the same,” Gay said. “I’ve taken people who shoot hunting bows and tweak their skills, and a tweak at any level is going to make you better no matter what the setting. It’s all about a mental checklist and fundamentals.

“And as for those who don’t hunt, let me put it this way: My daughter will never hunt. It’s not her thing. But she and her husband have bought equipment, and target archery is something they do together. This is the type of sport one can do his or her entire life. I shoot bows behind my house just as a great stress reliever.”

Gay also mentioned the possibility of creating a competitive archery team for Angelina College in the future.

No equipment purchase is necessary for the class, according to Gay, which will meet on Mondays at 6 p.m. in the old Angelina College gymnasium. Shooting will take place indoors.

Those wanting information regarding the course may contact Ricky Gay at regcons@yahoo.com. The phone number for Angelina College registration information is 936-633-5212.

Registration for the Fall 2014 semester will take place on the Angelina College campus on August 26. Classes begin on August 27.



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