The South West Challenge
The Devon Challenge (as it was originally known) was first held in 1996. It was set up by Dave Howell (East Dartmoor Archers), Colin Smithers (Elmtree Archers), Martin Hawker (Kenwith Archers) and Bob Ambridge (Ashcombe Valley Archers). Sitting in the pub after the N.F.A.S. Champs were held at Ashcombe in 1995 they came up with this unique idea. At first it was hosted by Devon based clubs, but later opened up to other clubs in the South West i.e. Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset when there were not enough Devon clubs willing to host it each year. It was renamed The South West Challenge in 2007. In 2016 it will have been running for 20 years, with the exception of 2001 when Devon was hit badly by Foot & Mouth disease.
The basic format is an eight day challenge, held at four different venues, each club hosting two days at the end of July/ beginning of August, depending on calendar. Wednesday is a day off, for shopping, washing, kit repairs and of course recouperation. There are club trophies and medals for each two days. Scores are added up for the whole week and a Victor Ludorum trophy is awarded for each class. All archers completing the eight days will receive a certificate of achievement.
There are two perpetual trophies, donated by Colin Smithers and Tony Vowden awarded to the best overall archer of the eight days, one adult, one junior. This is worked out on a handicap system. The John Lincoln Memorial Trophy is awarded to the Gent Longbow with the highest aggregate score of the eight days. A variety of rounds are shot, with Big Game on the second day of each venue, to ensure presentations are done in a reasonable time.
It is what it says in the title – a challenge! Not only the devious course setting, but the terrain. Devon is not known for it’s flatness! It is a great way to improve your archery and make new friends. Some people have been coming down to Devon regularly each year, either camping or bed and breakfasting, and there are always new people ready to give it a go. We even have a few archers who come from overseas.
There is a Facebook group South West Challenge where you can find up to date infomation.