YOUR HOMETOWN — Singers Glen: Bow Club On Hunt For Newcomers
Bowbenders Welcoming Novices, Pros To 33-Acre Grounds
Singers Glen Bowbenders Club member Tom Gallaher (right) anchors his Hoyt compound bow at full draw for a shot as guest Clint Wheelbarger prepares for a shot at the club’s 28-target field archery range on Sunday. Photo by Michael Reilly / DN-R.
Regina Stroop takes aim at a target on the Singers Glen Bowbenders Club's 3-D course. Photo by Michael Reilly / DN-R.
Singers Glen Bowbenders Club President Shannon Nesselrodt takes a shot at the indoor target range. Photo by Michael Reilly / DN-R.
Roaming the grounds of the club’s 33 acres it leases on (where else?) Bowbenders Lane is an alligator, lion, bear and even a Velociraptor.
They’re all 3-D foam animals used as archery targets, mind you, but they still turn the head of a first-time visitor.
And club members are hunting for more newcomers, however they can be drawn in. While a core group of a dozen or so members put in the time and sweat to get the property ready for events, the prep work isn’t a requirement to join the club.
“Some people that are just kind of shy don’t really want to get into it,” said Shannon Nesselrodt, the club’s president. “It’ll make you a better bow hunter to practice. If somebody wants to join and not work [around the property], they’re welcome to.”
The club was established in 1978 and first used a chicken house as its shooting range. It moved to the 33-acre property in 1980, and the original clubhouse from that time remains.
The club frequently hosts competitions and sponsors leagues. It has a 28-target field archery range outside — shooting from distances from 15 feet to 80 yards — plus the 25 3-D targets scattered around the woods.
Inside the clubhouse is a six-lane, 20-yard range.
Many of the club’s roughly 45 members double as members of Bowhunters of Rockingham County, the largest chapter of the Virginia Bowhunters Association at more than 200 members.
But the Singers Glen club tries to stay afloat as well, led by Nesselrodt. The 32-year-old Broadway resident knows no other way — he’s been involved since he was 3 years old.
“I just love shooting in general,” he said. “Once you get the equipment, it’s actually a cheap sport to stay in. … It’s a good outdoor activity. I enjoy teaching others how to shoot.”
Traditional and compound bows are allowed inside and outside, while crossbows are permitted outside. Alcohol is prohibited, which members say may contribute to lower numbers because many chapters do allow drinking.
The club’s bylaws cap its membership at 100, which is a figure it reached more than 20 years ago. You can be any age and live anywhere to join.
The club supports the county’s 4-H sporting teams by letting youth teams on the property to shoot.
“We welcome anybody from an expert to a pro or somebody who is picking up a bow for the first time,” Nesselrodt said. “Any time you can get a kid involved and get them out shooting, it passes the sport on.”
Singers Glen resident Butch Grim, chairman of the club’s board of directors, can sum up the reason he has logged more than 30 years as a member in four words.
“Just love shooting bow,” said Grim, 57.
The club operates on about a $5,000 annual budget, most of which goes toward rent, target maintenance and electricity.
“In the winter time,” Nesselrodt said, “guys are out here it seems 24 hours a day.”
The club’s next competition is its 3-D Spring Classic on April 20-21. The public can compete for $20 a person or $40 a family.
More than 100 people are expected.
For more information, visit www.singersglenbowbenders.com.
Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or firstname.lastname@example.org