Each month, the Æthelmearc Archery Website features an unusual archery challenge, known as Anastasie’s Challenge. (Hint: the February challenge involves hearts.) Participants can send their challenge scores in and see their ranking on the challenge page. The Gazette caught up with the instigator, Baroness Anastasie deLamoure.

What gave you the idea for the monthly Archery Challenge?
I have noticed that some archers, myself included, are getting fixated on the round target. There are so many other things that you can shoot at that can be more challenging. Try hitting a bell that is in a 3 by 3 inch box! Granted, there are no ranks for this on a society level like the Gwyntarian challenge or with royal rounds. It is simply meant to challenge and possibly get the archers that are shooting only royal rounds and the Gwyntarian challenge to try something new.

Have you seen archery growing in our Kingdom?
Boy that is a hard one. I only say it is hard because for every one archer that is only shooting royal rounds and the Gwyntarian challenge, there is probably another one or two shooting fun shoots with no recorded scores. Without some way of tracking who is shooting, there is no way of knowing the exact numbers.
We do have groups with archers but no marshals, and so we can foster growth by actively encouraging new marshal training in the groups where there is that need.

What has changed in archery since you have been in the SCA?
There was a time when archers’ ranks were posted and it was widely announced when archers became ranked or moved up a rank. These are all things that encourage archery and archers to shoot.
When the range was moved at Pennsic, it was moved further out of the minds of people and became harder to get to. It is understandable as to why it was moved, but it is the one marshal activity that is out in the middle of nowhere.

Baroness Anastasie

Baroness Anastasie

What was your first event?
My first event was Delftwood’s Baronial Champs in 2004.

What made you want to stay?
A sheer act of kindness is what made me stay. When we arrived at the event we didn’t know about the attempt at garb or anything at all. A member of Delftwood came out to where we were sitting, watching the goings on, and said he thought he had some tunics that might fit us. He then offered the comforts of his day shade and his Turkish coffee.

What would you encourage anyone interested in archery to do?
They should reach out to their local marshal. If they do not have a local marshal, then they should reach out to their Regional marshal and they should be able to point them to a practice they can attend.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Archery is one of the few marshal activities that anyone can do. It doesn’t matter if you are a youth or an individual on the other end of the age spectrum or if you are physically handicapped. You can have your crossbows cocked for you, and you can even have someone retrieve your arrows for you. This is a marshal activity that is handicap-friendly. Come and join us on the range!