ST. ALBANS TOWN — Pelkey’s Archery Inc. has a new hand behind the bow, and it's none other than local archer John Fleury.
“I’ve been working there for 16 years and started archery here when I was 6,” Fleury said. “I enjoy doing it, and I’m fairly decent at it so I just went with it. I was a multi-sport athlete, but archery was my number one.”
Fleury said his parents got he and his sister into archery before he hit age 10, and while his sister doesn’t practice all the time anymore, for him the skill stuck.
“We do birthday parties, scout groups, you name it,” Pelkey said. “You can make archery a full-time career. We have a professional circuit. You can go as far as you want with it.”
While Pelkey’s student group is lower this year due to COVID-19, down to about 80 from 150, Fleury said the trio of team members is hopeful that with the fall their classes will be fully booked.
“It's a great sport in a team setting and as an individual,” Fleury said. “It’s good for families and kids of all ages.”
As a part of the team at Pelkey’s, students get to compete in almost a dozen national tournaments against athletes from across the world, and Fleury said he’s competed in international competitions as well.
“We are sanctioned through USA archery, and they have youth teams and adult teams and they represent the US all around the world,” Fleury said.
Fleury said he fondly remembers rising early on any given Saturday to head down to Pelkey’s for his lesson, and since beginning at age 6 has won dozens of trophies, medals, ribbons and awards since picking up his first bow.
But you don’t need to own your own bow to take your aim at a career in archery, Fleury said, and those interested in a possible career in archery can rent all the equipment they need along with time with a certified coach.
“Just keep an open mind,” Fleury said. “It’s great for your competitive side, your relaxed side, but it can be a lifetime sport.”