BONNERS FERRY — The Train to Hunt North Idaho Regional Qualifier will take place at the Selkirk Bowhunters Archery Range in Moyie Springs on May 26. The Train to Hunt competition, began eight years ago by founder Kenton Clairmont, formerly from Bonners Ferry. He had a desire to help keep hunters in shape, or improve their fitness during the off seasons.
Train to Hunt began as a website training program, then became a competition, giving the hunters the opportunity to showcase their fitness and prowess with bow and arrow, ultimately giving them a goal to work towards.
Event Coordinator for the Regional Qualifier in North Idaho in the Train to Hunt Challenge, Chris Rawlings, is a former competitor and medal winner at nationals.
“This will be my third year facilitating the event,” Rawlings said. “I set up the course and keep track of the times and scores, and do that part of it. I really like that part of it.”
“The basic format is exercise, run, shoot,” explained Rawlings. “An exercise, followed by a run, followed by a shot, done four different times around that same area. Then it transitions to the mountain course. For the mountain course, the competitors will put their backpack with weight on- depending on what division the weights vary, male female, old or young- they put their backpacks on, they grab their bow and arrow and they take off on the mountain course which is about a mile and a half in our local event. During that mile and a half they will take two shots at targets at different spots.”
There are several categories, divided up by age, gender, and two person teams. The weight carried depends on the division. The top four competitors or teams will qualify to compete at nationals this year, with the exception of the children or teens divisions.
The event is still open to competitors, and is well set up for spectators who would like to come and see what the competition is all about, or to cheer on the participants.
“For our local competition, we are very lucky because the local archery range, which is sponsored by the Selkirk Bowhunters is set up really well for this event. It’s a great spectator event here,” Rawlings said. “We are really lucky to have one of these here. It’s kind of a big deal and to have one here in little Bonners Ferry. Usually these are in larger, more populated areas. We feel pretty lucky.”
Rawlings wants to encourage people to come out and give the event a try.
“I really want to make it clear that these qualifiers are really just fun events,” he explained. “It’s not like you have to an elite athlete to compete at these things. It’s really people who are into the outdoors, they like archery, they are trying to get in shape for the summer, and so it is a good way to push themselves.”
Competitors are encouraged to enter on the Train to Hunt website.
“A week before is the best case scenario, but we are not going to turn people away if they show up and they are into it,” Rawlings said.
Rawlings hopes anyone that may be interested will give the event a try.
“It’s a great way to get in shape get prepared for summer time, knowing that fall follows that, and get outside with like-minded people, and have some fun. That is really what these events are about. They are very, very supportive,” he explained. “It takes everybody, from young to old, from super in shape to I’ve never really done this before, and all points in between.”
For the grade school age competitors, there is a mini version of the full course.
“That part is fun,” Rawlings said.
For those who would like to learn more, Rawlings suggests visiting the Train to Hunt website.
“There is YouTube videos that will talk about what the competition is like. If a person has any interest at all and they watch those videos, it is exciting. It is really inspirational. If a person has any interest, they should give it a try. It’s a lot of fun, it’s a very supportive environment, and it’s very encouraging,” he said.
“Often you hear people talk about the Train to Hunt family,” Rawlings explained. “People are working their tails off, they want to compete hard and do well, but it is way more about pushing one’s self than beating someone else. If people have hesitation, I say come check it out, come volunteer. It’s super family friendly.”
While Rawlings stresses that this competition is open to everybody, and is not necessarily an elite competition, he is also very proud of the top athletes that we have here in North Idaho.
“We have got people that are the real deal, that are coming to this event,” he explained.
Last year at Nationals, out of the six people from the North Idaho qualifier that went on to the national event, five of the competitors ended up standing on the podium.
“That’s a pretty big deal,” Rawlings said. “We had more people, from any single event that medaled, from the North Idaho qualifier than any of the other qualifiers. That’s pretty cool. That’s a big deal. The people at this little North Idaho qualifier are legitimate national athletes. These people are good.”
The day promising to bring excitement to competitors and spectators alike, and a possible glimpse of the next national champion.
Selkirk Bowhunters Archery Range — Bonners Ferry, Idaho
6:30-8 a.m.: Check-in, day-of-registration, and Kids Registration
8:15 a.m.: Opening ceremony and competitor meeting (3D Shoot Rules/Regulations)
9 a.m.: Kids event
10 a.m.: Challenge Course/3D Course
*Start times for divisions will be announced on site
Awards Ceremony immediately after all 3D scores are turned in and calculated.
*Around 5 p.m. Depending on number of participants
For more information or to enter: www.traintohunt.com