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June 10, 2009 > Surprise! World class archery next door

Surprise! World class archery next door

By Marty Friedman

We suggest that Robin Hood and his merry men would've given anything to use the 21st Century bows and arrows you will find at Archery Only in Newark.

So let's take a grand tour of this major archery center in Northern California. Step inside Archery Only, and you're greeted by a staggering array of bows shaped and laminated to produce undreamed of accuracy and power.

Enter the formidable Roger Brown

Please treat Roger Brown, the man behind the counter, with all the respect he deserves. Brown is an internationally-ranked archer, California State Indoor Champion and a very knowledgeable instructor for both veteran and beginner archers.

Concentration and focus

According to Brown, an archer must have the right temperament. As he put it, "Some 5-year-olds have the ability to totally focus: key to archery. Some 10-year-olds will never have it."

In short, the archers at Archery Only are all ages and genders. The only limit is your finances. You could spend anywhere from $400 to over $1,800.

A challenging indoor archery range

The sprawling archery range in the back of Archery Only is one of the few ranges to be sanctioned by both US Archery and the National Archery Association. Archery Only sponsors local tournaments with up to 100 entrants, not to mention hosting the famed California Bow and Hunter Tournament for the past four years.

The archery range features 10 20-yard "lanes," as well as hosting special events for the boy scouts, girl scouts and birthday parties, along with competitions for the disabled and the visually impaired.

The hunt is on

Never tried venison? The season to hunt deer with bow and arrow begins next month. However, you'll have to take a course and pass a written exam before you can get a license.

Most hunting is done with a composite bow, combining different elements usually beginning with wood. (The recurve bow is the other best-known bow. Usually made of either laminated carbon or fiber glass, it is the only bow allowed in the Olympics.)

Guts and courage

Blind archers are no fairytale. While Brown has excellent vision, he can hit the target at 20 yards blindfolded. He pointed out that the blind have no distractions. They rely on what he calls "muscle memory."

Disabled archers are not uncommon, either. One top archer has only one arm and one leg. Seated in a wheelchair, he pulls back the cord with his teeth, and frequently beats archers with no disabilities.

Archery Only, the one and only

Those Robin Hood movies are just make-believe. Archery Only is definitely the real thing. It went from a "closet" in 1989 with a maximum capacity of five customers, to becoming the leading archery dealer in Northern California. Archery Only won the coveted "Dealer of The Year 2008 Award" from Archery Business Magazine. Bull's-eye!

Archery Only is located at 37300 Cedar Blvd. in Newark. You can contact the store at 510 795-0460, or by e-mailing Brown at

A final word

World class archery is yet another in the series on the out-of-the-mainstream sports you'll find in our area. Stay tuned for world class fencing, badminton, racquetball, squash and much more in future issues of the Tri-City Voice.

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