By Anna Skinner
On June 6, many got to experience a one-time free gear rental and shooting at Koteewi Range Sport and Archery Center, 22735 Essig Ave., Noblesville. They also had the chance to participate in numerous opening activities, including a free rock wall climbing and watching performances by well-known archers Randy Oitker and Frank Addington Jr.
Oitker holds a Guinness World Record in hitting six targets with six arrows simultaneously with one shot. He did a performance attempting to break his own record at the Koteewi grand opening, but due to the wind, he only hit five of the targets. Olympic medalist, Rick McKinney, was also on-site and signing autographs.
The archers provided information and did demonstrations for the public to watch.
“I want to be able to promote the sport of archery to the youth and to welcome them to this brand new, wonderful facility,” Oitker said.
A traditional ribbon cutting was swapped by colored balloons being placed on a large archery target. A variety of archers, including Oitker, McKinney, Addington Jr. and an array of city officials, shot arrows at the balloons to burst them and signify the official opening.
“Grand opening day offered free shooting and rental equipment that was open to the public,” said Don Nicholls, Hamilton County Parks and Recreation’s resource development specialist. “We want to introduce novices and skilled archers as well to this range and let them know all the amenities it has.”
There are over 90 ranges with covered platforms, and the range is also equipped with 33 lanes of 3-D shooting in the woods with targets.
“Bow hunters are able to get in practice before their hunting season starts,” Nicholls said. “They will be able to shoot in a range with terrain and the type of situation they will be in while hunting.
A pro-shop is also available at Koteewi, and it provides equipment, bow-stringing, archery education classrooms and more.
However, the grand opening of Koteewi Range is just the beginning of bringing more outdoor activities to Noblesville.
“Koteewi Range is really just one large piece in the puzzle that will be Strawtown Koteewi Park,” Nicholls said. “Now we are expanding the offerings of the park to include amenities and features that I think will draw public not only from Hamilton County, but from central Indiana.”
Nicholls described the amenities as including the newly established Koteewi Range Sport and Archery Center, a sledding hill, horse stables open for public use and over eight miles of multi-use trails.
All those amenities should be available to the public within one to two years.
The Koteewi Range is available to all skill-levels of archers, although a short safety class beforehand is required. The range is the largest facility in Indiana for sole archery use.
“It’s a great park,” Nicholls said. “Koteewi is a real gem.”