We hope you enjoy reading a little bit of trivia, sprinkled with interesting facts about the sport and history of Pole Archery, and notable scores achieved by Robin Hood Members over the years.
It is believed that the sport of Pole Archery was first practised as far back as 1322. Archers would shoot at real birds to chase them away from the top of church spires. When the use of gunpowder made bows and arrows old fashioned, Brussels King Charles V, who loved all sports, set up wooden birds as targets on the top of the church spires and turned the feat of shooting the fake target birds into a sport. The Belgians, loyal as always to their traditions, changed archery from a war game to a sport and they have kept practising ever since.
It turns out however, that Pole Archery may be older than most of us thought! Recent discoveries on ancient manuscripts show that it is over 2000 years old! The Roman poet Virgil makes mention of it in his 5th book of the AEneid, dated circa 30 B.C. Check out this link at http://www.crossbowbook.com/page_225.html
In 1920, the sport of pole archery was played in the summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium. A team from Belgium competed against a team from North America, with the Belgians being victorious.
Loot’n Toot’n, and the Seven Dwarfs were two spin off clubs that members used to shoot in.
As of 2012, there are three men’s clubs in the province - Robin Hood Pole Archery Club (founded in 1929), St. Sebastian Pole Archery Club (founded in 1926) and the newest club, The Merry Men Pole Archery Club based in Richer Manitoba. More recently we lost a club in Ste. Rose du Lac Manitoba, which was founded in the late 1920’s.
The ladies clubs are the St. Sebastianettes in Winnipeg, and the newest addition, the Artemis Archery club, also out of Richer Manitoba.
Manitoba is thought to be the only place outside of Europe where the sport of pole archery is still practiced.
Believe it or not, a Robin Hood member has hit a real bird! In 2004 a bird landed on the third bar and was hit by member Laurry Lesage’s arrow. The bird survived and flew away!
Life Member Ed Cheys is the only member known to have been hit on the head with his own arrow. He too survived and is doing well to this day!
Life Member John Mozol holds the unofficial records for the member who has been hit by an arrow the most number of times. John has been issued a special helmet to protect him.
It is possible to hit a King Bird and the windshield of a moving car at the same time! What a feat! King Shooter Marcel Lesage did just that in 2001. Adding insult to injury, the car was driven by a commissionaire.
In 1950, during the great flood, only 4 Robin Hood members made it to the Ste. Rose interclub competition. Making the trip were Valere and Alfred Huyghe, John Mozol, and Gaston Pinsard.
The Cheys family has had four generations of archers, starting with Julian, his sons Robert and Edward, then Edward’s three sons, Ray, Brian, and Dave, and Ray’s son Lyndon, and Brian’s son Geoffrey.
The Huyghe family has enjoyed three generations of archers, starting with Valere Huyghe, his son Alfred, and Alfred’s two sons Andre and Dave.
So is it brotherly love or family rivalry? Certainly not intentional, but yes, family members do hit each other, at least with an arrow! Rick Lesage’s arrow hit his brother Marcel in the shoulder and Marcel hit his brother Laurry on the hand. Brian Cheys was struck in the head by his brother Ray’s arrow. Ouch! Just ask John Mozol how it feels - his brother also plunked him on the head!
Even the actual pole has some interesting history. In the late 1950’s, it was put up at the new (current) location on Mission street, replacing the old wooden pole. The actual steel pole is an old street light from England, used by the City of Winnipeg in the 1920’s. Thanks to to the work of George Deserranno and the members of the time, the pole still stands today.
Michael Bergmann is the youngest member at the age of 15 to shoot off a king bird in 2000.
In 1962 Julian Cheys shot off the King Bird in 5 minutes to become the quickest King Shooter in the history of the club. The record still stands to this day.
The longest time it took to shoot the King was in 2000, when it was eventually shot by Michael Bergmann after 3 hours and 40 minutes.
George Seys in 1970 and Mark Richter in 2002 won the coveted King Trophy. They also won the not so coveted Betsy trophy in the same year, which is the trophy for the least amount of points for the season.
This is one of the hardest combinations to get, and has been achieved by only a handful of members over the years: Reg Bergmann, Ed Cheys, Dave Cheys, Ray Cheys, Kevin Deserranno, Marcel Lesage, and Robert Seys.
Another difficult feat is the number of consecutive King Birds (4 points) shot off by a member. Dave Cheys holds the current record of having shot the King Bird off in 5 consecutive hours.
In a single shoot Chad Swayze shot off 35 points!! He accomplished this feat in three 45 minute rounds in August of 2000
in 2006, Chad Swayze shot 116 points in one season, giving him the highest number of points ever won in a single season.
Richard Baeyens is the only member on record to win the Desjardin Shield his first year as a Robin Hood Member.
At the King Shoot on Sunday April 28, 2013, Robin Hood member Laurry Lesage made history! Not only did he shoot the King bird in near record time (18 minutes and 24 seconds), which entitles him to shoot first for the entire season, he turned around and got the King again his very next shot. This is an accomplishment that has never been done before at a King Shoot in the recorded history of the Club! Way to go Laurry!
Laurry Lesage and his record breaking shot! (2013)
Robin Hood Pole Archery Club
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Regular shooting will start on Wednesday night, July 14th, 2021. Please check the Schedule page for details.