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Hamel hits target audience at Cumberland County Exhibition

Canada Games archer, Ashley Hamel, provided an archery lesson for seven-year-old Maria MacDonald at the 2019 Cumberland County Exhibition. Kids, and some adults, lined up for lessons on Aug. 28 and 30. Standing directly behind them is Maria’s 12-year-old sister Haylie MacDonald. The MacDonald’s are from Shinimacas.
Canada Games archer, Ashley Hamel, provided an archery lesson for seven-year-old Maria MacDonald at the 2019 Cumberland County Exhibition. Kids, and some adults, lined up for lessons on Aug. 28 and 30. Standing directly behind them is Maria’s 12-year-old sister Haylie MacDonald. The MacDonald’s are from Shinimacas. - Dave Mathieson

Teaches archery two nights a week in Parrsboro

OXFORD, N.S. – Kids lined up for free archery clinics provided by Ashley Hamel during the 2019 Cumberland County Exhibition.

“There was a lot of youth, which is nice to see because they’re usually stuck on their video games and they’re not as active as they should be,” the 20-year-old Canada Games archer said.

Hamel is from Parrsboro and started archery at the age of 12.

“I actually tried it at a health fair. I was supposed to go to cheerleading and I accidentally went to archery and I fell in love with it right away.”

She grew up playing sports in Parrsboro.

“When I was in high school I played basketball, volleyball, badminton, soccer, and I was a figure skater for a while. Any school sport they offered in Parrsboro, I was in it.”

She attended Mount Allison University last year and is taking the Continuing Care program at NSCC in Amherst this year.

The focus needed for archery transfers to other endeavours she pursues.

“You have to really focus on a target to hit it. You have to unlock a certain part of yourself that you didn’t really know you had,” Hamel said.

She said there are 11 steps to archery.

“You need to really hone in on what you’re shooting at, and you really have to follow the steps, or somebody could get hurt because it is a projectile weapon.”

Tensions on a bow vary. Hamel started out on a 25-pound bow, and now uses as 55-pound bow.

“Your muscles will eventually develop to the bow you need.”

She shoots at least 100 arrows during each practice session.

“If you don’t keep practicing you lose that muscle memory and have to start over again.”

She represented Nova Scotia at the Canada Games in 2019 and is currently training for the 2020 national championships next summer in PEI.

“I didn’t go to the nationals this year because it was in Saskatchewan, which was a little too far away.”

She teaches archery Tuesday and Thursday nights from 7 to 9 p.m. at Parrsboro Regional High School.

“It’s the Fundy Shore Archers, which is a youth group I pioneered when I was 12,” Hamel said. “I worked my way up through that program, and now I coach the program.”

She says kids inspire her passion for archery.

“When I started there was about 56 of us, and then I noticed as I aged there was less interest in sports because of video games and cellphones and technology,” Hamel said. “We have about 30 now, 15 regulars, and then kids that come and go, so it’s good to have kids come out and be active.”

Exhibition Saturday

The Cumberland County Exhibition continues Saturday with the following events:

9 a.m. – Draft Horse and Pony Obstacle Demo

10 a.m. – Dairy Show and Junior Interbreed Beef Show

1 p.m. – Street Parade

2 p.m. – Trail Challenge

3:30 p.m. – Aulac Big Stop Barrel Racing Stake

4 p.m. – Swiss Chalet Pole Bending Stake

4:30 p.m. – Maritime Four Horse Classic

5:30 p.m. – Farmers Olympics

7 p.m. – Draft 8 Hand Demo

Second Stage Entertainment

2 p.m. – Pic n’ Grin

4:30 p.m. – Blueberry Bake Off

Children’s Activities

1 to 4 p.m.

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