If you don't know what the Compton Traditional Bowhunters Rendezvous is, here's your chance to learn about it.
A few weeks ago we loaded up the family suburban here in Arizona and drove cross-country for a few weeks of vacation back in the great lakes. Hooking walleyes in northern Minnesota, and time with friends and family back home in Indiana were on the agenda, but what I was looking forward to most was the Compton Traditional Bowhunters Rendezvous.
When we lived in Indiana, an hour's drive from the rendezvous, the Compton weekend was the highlight of our summer. Our kids were pumped to be going again this year, and the biggest reason is because Compton leadership makes engaging kids, and welcoming families, top priorities.
This year's rendezvous did not disappoint. What a blast!
Compton Board Member David Hewitt had this to say, "I'm not into joining organizations, groups, or clubs just for the sake of joining, but since becoming a member of the Compton Traditional Bowhunters a few years ago, and now serving as a board member, I get asked all the time from prospective members, 'What do I get for being a member?' It's passing on the heritage and passion for traditional archery to the next generation, and sparking an ember that hopefully grows into a blaze. The kids are going to be the ones carrying the torch of archery and hunting forward and we have to do more to engage them."
There was plenty to do for kids of all ages, including yours truly. Four 3D ranges, aerial targets, a free chili feed, full concessions, over 50 vendors and a practice range to test bows, raffles and auctions, a blanket trade and special kids events headlined the weekend.
Most people camp on site, but others stay at nearby hotels or bed and breakfasts. Personally I think the camping is the way to go. We've made many a new friend at the rendezvous over a shared campfire. This year the kids chased lightning bugs with new friends and shot aerial targets together under the lights, while the adults chewed the fat over a cold beverage around the campfire.
Compton members as a lot are outstanding folks - welcoming, grounded, family first, salt-of-the-earth men and women who love to shoot traditional bows. Their volunteers went above and beyond again year to make everyone in attendance feel like part of the family.
"What I enjoy most about the weekend is seeing the joy on the face of a kid when he or she pops a balloon or hits the bulls eye. It's magical," said Compton volunteer Thom Jorgensen. He continued, "I also enjoy helping families that are new to archery find their way, whether it's helping them fit their son or granddaughter for a bow, or putting on a nocking point, anything I can do to help make their first experiences more enjoyable will go a long way toward them sticking with it."
This year's traditional rendezvous broke attendance records as well, drawing over 1,100 shooters and 50 vendors.
"We're thrilled by the growth of the event and in traditional archery. We expect next year's rendezvous to be even bigger!", said Compton Board Member David Hewitt.
If a weekend of flinging arrows, campfires and great camaraderie sounds good to you, then put the Compton Traditional Bowhunters Rendezvous on your calendar now. The rendezvous is held annually in Berrien Springs, MI on Father's Day weekend, hosted this year June 17th - 19th.