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Local archer given lifetime achievement award

Rev. Jim McBride of Pelican Rapids recently participated in the 75th Annual Minnesota State Target Archery Indoor Tournament in Detroit Lakes. He built a long bow and made his own arrows at age 12. SUBMITTED PHOTO

There are approximately 20 million archers in the U.S., and the Minnesota State Archery Association recognized one of them with a “Lifetime Achievement Award”. The presentation was made at their annual banquet on April 5 to Rev. Jim McBride of Pelican Rapids and a long-time member of the Heart of Lakes Bowhunters Club in Detroit Lakes.

The award exemplifies McBride’s dedication to promoting the sport of archery for all ages, his work within the state organization, and efforts in his local club. McBride has seen a lot of changes in his life long journey in the field of archery.

A native of Kenmare, N.D., McBride grew up in a family of five, hunted regularly with his father and worked in his family owned meat market. It was at the age of 12 he bought a bow kit as a boy scout to begin his quest in archery. With the help of his scout leader he built a long bow. He forged arrows out of the straightest wooden dowels he could find and used airplane glue to attach the feathers.

His archery journey was interrupted by his call to duty in the Korean War where he served in the U.S. Navy aboard a landing and rocket launching ship as a radio communications expert.  His ship carried thirty thousand rockets that could be launched as support fire for the troops on shore.

As with many veterans McBride’s hunting interests were put aside as he returned to civilian life, started a family and continued to further his education.

It was while he was attending Washington State College on the G.I. Bill that he received another “call” to go into the ministry. He finished up his studies at the University of Minnesota and then headed to Luther College in Iowa where he received his training and became a pastor.

Rev. McBride bought a Bear recurve and several beautiful wooden arrows when he was in Maynard to rejuvenate his archery interest. He hunted deer in Minnesota but it wasn’t until he was in Nebraska that he shot his first deer with archery gear. He had joined a local archery club for practice and purchased one of those “new-fangled compound bows” which helped him improve his accuracy.

McBride was a finger shooter and shot well enough to score a 300 and win a state title in his division. He just competed in The 75th Annual MSAA State Indoor Tournament in Detroit Lakes this past weekend.

Rev. McBride actively served as a regional governor to the Minnesota State Archery Association Board of Directors from the 1990s to 2013. Youth and family access to archery opportunities have always been a high priority for McBride. He is always willing to help young folks get started and encouraged families to get involved in the sport together.

As a governor, he stood his ground when a national organization was pressuring the state association to require all members to join their organization which would have raised the cost of membership. McBride argued that the sport needs to keep families as the focus and by keeping the cost down it would promote such action.

Archery has changed dramatically in McBride’s 70 some years of shooting a bow and arrow. Long bows and recurves have been replaced by modern compound bows. Wooden arrows have given way to first fiberglass arrows, then aluminum and now carbon arrows. Archers used to use their fingers to release the arrow and now mechanical handheld releases do the trick. 

Accessing land for hunting is another concern for all hunters. McBride said he has never been turned down by a private land owner but he agrees it has become more difficult. He advised that as a group we all have to work harder at presenting ourselves in the public to keep the respect of those who would grant us the privilege of hunting on their land. He suggests that deer hunting in state parks that allow firearms hunting should also allow an archery season to make more public land available. When asked about hunting tips he passed on that he uses imitation vanilla to cover his scent and milkweed pod seeds to “see” the wind direction.

Rev. Jim McBride is just one of 20 million archers in America. He shoots his bow in his basement, at the different indoor and outdoor ranges and in the field hunting. He has adjusted to a lot of changes in his 70 some years of archery. He loves this sport and considers himself lucky to still be shooting. McBride continues to shoot target league in Detroit Lakes and hunt deer when the opportunity allows which is not bad for a fellow who is 83 years old.