Shootin’ for the stars: Local youth archery team accepts new members | Sports News

By Marty Queen

Archery coach Danielle Yelton says there are many reasons youngsters love the sport once they start as members of the Shootin’ archery team stars.

The main reason could also be the simplest.

“We go there and have a lot of fun,” Yelton said.

Shootin’ Stars, left to right, Maddie Ferry, Kayla Seay and Payton Stafford score their shots. Archers shoot at 3D targets representing various game.

The team started with just six members, but has since grown to 13. The Shootin’ Stars compete in ASA (Archery Shooters Association) tournaments throughout the southeastern United States. Competitors aim at three-dimensional targets that look like game, and shots are fired from different angles and distances.

Yelton got into the sport when her daughter, Lexie, started shooting at Nebo Crossing Academy, where archery is offered as a sport for students. Danielle took a course to become a coach. Danielle’s husband, William, also helps coach the team.

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“I became a coach because I wanted to offer it to the whole county, instead of just private schools,” Yelton said. “When we started I didn’t really want to go that far, but archery is just amazing.”

The team is open to all school-aged children. Currently, the Shootin’ Stars has members ages 7-17. The club’s traveling team is also open to shooters of all ages. Most use compound bows, but Yelton said the team also accepts recurve shooters. The team competes year-round with the exception of September and November. There are also several indoor events.


Lexie Yelton prepares to throw an arrow.

Courtesy of Danielle Yelton

Yelton said there are many college scholarships available for archers. For example, Lexie finished third in a state tournament and won a $150,000 purse. Some of the events are pro-am, with professional archers shooting alongside children, offering their advice and expertise.


Coach William Yelton helps Maddie Ferry aim.

“It’s a great experience for the little ones when they shoot with the professionals,” said coach Yelton. “You can’t get that anywhere else.”

The coach said registrations for the team will be open throughout September.

She added that one of her favorite things about the sport is the family atmosphere it creates.


Coach William Yelton and archers, left to right, Jayden Price, Kayla Seay, Payton Stafford and Maddie Ferry take a break during a game last weekend.

“It helps with self-discipline and teamwork because even though you’re shooting individually, it really is a family,” she said. “We compete with all kinds of schools and the children all become friends. They compete with each other, but they are friends afterwards.

Anyone interested in joining the team can contact Yelton at 828-222-8253 or email him at [email protected] The team is also looking for sponsorships from local businesses, and anyone interested in sponsoring can contact Yelton.

Earnest A. Martinez