Dusty Marchhant draws his bow at the second meeting of the Cordova Archery Club on Oct 8, 2023. Photo by Kinsey Brown for The Cordova Times

The Cordova Archery Club (CAC) held its first two meet-ups on Oct. 1 and Oct. 8. The club meets with the purpose of providing support to Cordova archers of all skill levels.  

Participants are able to bring their own bows and arrows or use equipment that is made available by the club during meet-ups in order to develop their skills.  

During the three-hour-long meetings interested participants can drop in at any time at the current location out 6.5 Mile Road, where archers can practice on provided targets at various lengths. The club also supports safe instruction for beginning archers and, for more experienced archers, an opportunity to discuss technique and hone their skills.  

About a half dozen people have attended each meeting. Dusty Marchant, coordinator for CAC, said so far he’s happy with the turnout.  

“People were enthusiastic,” he said about the inaugural meet-up. “Several people came who had never shot before and so we talked about how to safely shoot.”  

Merchant said that the club hopes to be a place for fun and sportsmanship, even on Cordova’s rainy days: “Cordova always needs more activities. And archery is a fun activity, you get to put holes in things and you don’t have to buy ammo.” 


CAC is open to archers of all ages and supports different bow types. While bow hunting is becoming more popular for deer hunting in the state, the club is not focused on hunting but rather developing a wide range of skills and confidence for shooting overall.  

Marchant said that, as a  sport, archery teaches a full-body focus that can be developed into mastery.  

“When you have the muscle memory down and feel all of the parts of your body locked into the right spot it feels so cool,” he said.  

Marchant’s efforts were instrumental in getting the club off the ground this past year. He said he first became interested in forming the club in the fall of 2022. Marchant said he and a friend were trying to practice archery, but struggled to find a suitable location out of the rain to do so.  

From this initial interest, Marchant contacted Mt. Eccles Elementary School about using the downstairs gym space to host a club for those like himself interested in practicing archery. While the elementary school was open to the idea, there were limitations to the types of equipment able to be used in the space as well as insurance requirements. Marchant kept looking for an ideal space with the question of insurance in mind.  

When contacting 4-H yielded little results, Marchant finally reached out to USA Archery and was able to develop a local chapter under the banner of the national organization. USA Archery is recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee as the national governing body for the sport of archery. Marchant said that developing a chapter within U.S. Archery provides many benefits for CAC including a second tier training for club coaches as well as insurance for personal injury or destruction of property. 

After a conversation about the club’s needs with Cordovan Rob Torell, Torell agreed to let the club use a section of his property for the meet-ups. When Marchant first saw the piece of land he immediately realized it fit the club’s original purpose.  

“The biggest part of why I was excited is that it has an overhead lean-to, we can finally shoot in the rain,” Marchant said.  

The piece of land, located off of Gandil Road in the 6.5 Mile neighborhood, also has room for a shooting range of up to about 50 yards, and enough space for three lanes to shoot at a time. The property can be found on the right side of Gandil Road, which is an unmarked left turn after the Salmonberry Inn on Eyak Drive.  

“It ended up being perfect,” Merchant said. 

Currently CAC plans to meet weekly on Sunday from 11 to 2 p.m. at their location on Gandil Road. More information can be found on the Cordova Archery Club Facebook group.  

The club hopes to promote community regardless of a participant’s skills, and is open to spectating visitors as well.  

Marchant encourages those who are new to the sport to come out to try their hand at one of the club’s bows.  

“It’s fine if people just want to come out and watch others too,” he said of the club. “The point is for everybody to have fun.”