The Eastern Contingent
From Tradition to Competition by Rob “The Hun” Morton
When people think of Traditional or Primitive archery, rarely does the thought of someone on horseback enter their mind. But that’s exactly what’s happening down in Texas. A number of Mounted Archery groups have sprung up over the years and it seems that Texas is the hotbed of the USA mounted archery world; MA3 (The Mounted Archery Association of the Americas) has 5 chapters located in the Lone Star State alone.
One chapter in particular is doing things a bit different; The Eastern Contingent. A club, which started life as a ground-archery group through USA Archery, branched out into an official mounted archery club a few months ago. Mounted archery has a very heavy sport-influenced aspect in the current age, but The Eastern Contingent is attempting to bring back some of the more classical elements. This includes a focus on more traditional bows (horn/sinew versus the modern carbon and glass bows), accessories and historical garb. Most of the clothing, leather gear and equipment is made by the chapter members themselves.
The Eastern Contingent is made up of Chapter Leader; Rob “The Flying Hun” Morton, Co-Leader; Jennifer Larsen, Kent Battenfield and his wife, Julie Battenfield. They routinely practice at Kent’s property out in Goldthwaite, Texas, but they are planning a public practice once a month at the Valkyrie Ranch (formerly the Cleghorn) in Paige, Texas. The Valkyrie Ranch is about 45 minutes South of Austin, Texas along Highway 290.
Texas International Archery Festival
April 26th-28th, 2019
Sherwood Forest Faire in McDade, Texas will also be host to the first annual “Texas International Archery Festival”, which will be a celebration of all things archery and is hosted by The Eastern Contingent. It will include both mounted archery and ground archery, the latter based on Rob and Jennifer’s time as competitors for the US Team at The World Nomad Games in Kyrgyzstan this past September. It will truly be a spectator event, as all are welcome to come watch. Music, Food, Vendors and Attractions will also be on site for the crowds.
An exciting addition to the TXIAF will be Traditional Turkish mounted archery courses- they are rather new here in the US, but found frequently overseas. The courses are being developed by Master Archer and maker of the world famous Saluki Bow, Lukas Novotny. They will be closer to the 16th Century Turkish practice than the modern sport courses, raising the challenge level on a number of fronts. The classes will be broken up into Beginner, Open and the newest offering and the highlight of the competition, the “Golden Age Classic”; the competition logo reflects this as the focal point of the event. The Golden Age Classic combines the new courses along with a traditional dress and equipment requirement, something completely new for US mounted archers.
The traditional courses will include:
The Turkish Serial Shot
The Turkish Three Shot
The Turkish Qabaq (including Kikac targets – for an added challenge!)
The competition will include a ground 3-D course with a number of challenging shots made at both targets and animal-shaped targets following along a wooded path. Due to the nature of this course, its layout will not be revealed to the competitors until the competition.