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Detroit Lakes family bonds over archery

Sheila Aho, left, and her daughter Tori Tanana, both of Detroit Lakes, Minn., take aim at their target during the North Dakota State 900 archery tournament on Saturday at Sandhills Archery Club in West Fargo. Carrie Snyder / The Forum

WEST FARGO - A family competition was brewing as arrows flew at Sandhills Archery.

Sheila Aho and her daughter, Tori Tanata, of Detroit Lakes, were the only women in the 14-archer field for the North Dakota State 900 on Saturday.

The pair is following in the footsteps of Sheila's husband, Kyle Aho, who has been a competitive archer for the past 15 years and also participated at the 900.

"He would be gone every weekend," Sheila Aho said. "Then, he said, 'If you don't like it, why don't I buy you a bow?' And now it is a family sport which is a real commodity. Usually, you can't find a sport where everybody in the family can compete."

Archers shot at foam targets from 40, 50 and 60 yards away with the hope of gathering the perfect score of 900. Thirty arrows were flung at each distance, starting with the farthest away.

Sheila and Tori each finished the day with a score of 847.

"Targets are my game," Aho said. "If she beats me in targets, it is a sad ride home. We let her rub it in a little bit."

Bismarck was originally supposed to host the event but due to the recent flooring, the event was moved to West Fargo.

Aho compared the metal strain of archery to that of other individual sports.

"It is really kind of a head game, not unlike golf," she said. "You have to think (that) it is not just throwing an arrow at the target. Once you have that head game going, it is hard to fix."

Tanata says it is special to be able to spend this time competing with her family.

"It means a lot, lots of teens go off and party, and this gives me more structure and clean fun," she said.

Tanata credits her love of hunting and the outdoors for her participation in the sport.

"I like to hunt, so archery was another opportunity to be in the woods," she said.

The duo says they have recently noticed an increase in the amount of women participating in archery.

"There is way more women now than when I started," Aho said. "If you go to the Minnesota 900 ... there are a lot more kids and women shooting now. There are also some phenomenal women shooters."

The archery continues today with the field competition starting at 8 a.m.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Michael Smith at (701) 241-5549