The Shoot on the Bow is known to attract top archers, and it was no different over the weekend.
Tournament organizers and Cochrane Mixed Darts League president Ellison Smith says the annual tournament continues to be a destination for players from across Alberta, including Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Red Deer, Edmonton, as well as Cochrane and Calgary.
"The feedback we get all the time is this is a fun shoot and they always want to come and play. Some couldn't make it and they were disappointed they couldn't come because it's always so much fun."
Entries were up slightly this year with 62 men and 22 women competing on Saturday. Smith says numbers were hurt, especially on Sunday, by the high cost of hotel rooms in Cochrane.
The Shoot on the Bow is one of the few ranked tournaments for men's and women's singles outside of the province's major centres, making it an important stop for those in the hunt for points to advance to higher-level tournaments.
Among the top players returning to participate was Brenda Moreau. She was number one in the province last season and is back on top again.
Moreau battled hard to become one of the women who will be representing Canada at the Worlds in Esbjerg, Denmark in late September. She says she had an early lead for the number one Canadian ranking but Darlene Van Sleeuwen, of Ontario, surpassed her. The top-ranked player is the only one guaranteed a spot on Canada's women's team.
That left three spots up for grabs on Team Canada and Moreau knew she needed a strong performance at nationals to make the team.
"I told myself, no matter what, you're going to be on stage today. I was really on task to make sure I did it."
She went on to win women's singles at nationals, and women's doubles in the Canadian Open Championship with Wenda Carter, of Edmonton. She came second in the mixed doubles championship with Logan Crooks, of Calgary, who also made a brief appearance at last weekend's shoot.
At 20 years old, Tristan Dove is already a veteran of the sport. He made his first appearance at Edmonton's Klondike Open at age 14 and last weekend shot in Cochrane for the first time.
Dove was the 2022 Canadian senior boys champion and went on to represent the nation in the 2022 WDF World Masters in the Netherlands.
He believes youth leagues are on the rebound and helped create one in Edmonton.
He points around the room to current and former junior players who were competing and continue to leave their imprint on the darts scene.
What attracted him to darts?
"I'm really competitive, I love to play darts, and I thrive on winning. I can't do it all the time, but when I do, it's the best feeling in the world."
It's the seventh year for the tournament organized by the Cochrane Mixed Darts League.
The Shoot on the Bow returns next year, says Smith, and will continue to be held on the fourth weekend in August after being forced to move to a July time slot last year.
The local mixed league begins its regular season on Sept. 11. Team registration wrapped up yesterday (Aug. 28), but Smith says new players are welcome.
"If somebody new comes to town and they want to play darts, we can find them a team," says Smith.
Play is on Monday nights until late March/early April next year. They utilize all the darts venues in town that evening.
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