History of York Archers

York Archers was founded in 1928 by a small group of archery enthusiasts. To put this date into perspective, in 1928 Fred Bear was 26 years old, Saxton Pope had published his classic “Hunting with Bow and Arrow” just 5 years earlier, and the Great Depression had not yet begun. Shooting occurred at multiple sites, most likely with significant overlap in dates. From information pieced together from old newspaper articles, it appears that the club shot at Haines Race Track (near what is now Nello Tire) until 1940, putting up and taking down targets for each shoot. For the following 14 years the club used Smalls Athletic Field (part of York City Schools), and starting in 1954, Memorial Park (now Bob Hoffman Fields). York Archers also shot indoors at the YMCA, where up to 30 shooters could be accommodated at ranges up to 28 yards. There were many influential members during these years, but the most prominent was D. Everett Moore, building engineer at the York YMCA, trap and skeet expert, and designer of the York Archers' clubhouse.

Dr. Michael Bowser, a now-retired oral and maxillofacial surgeon, joined York Archers in 1949. At that time the club was using the farm of one of its members, Gilbert David, where they had established a rocky 14-target field course which both encroached onto neighboring properties and promoted the destruction of countless cedar arrows. After returning home from Air Force duty in the Korean War, Dr. Bowser identified a tract of land in Lower Windsor Township surrounding Cabin Creek that he envisioned would be an ideal site for an archery club. He and his wife Jean purchased the property in 1953, and as soon as the ink was dry on the deal, club members began construction of the upper 28-target field course. Dr. Bowser paid the property's carrying costs until York Archers accrued enough money to assume ownership. Club members worked tirelessly and enthusiastically during these years to develop the raw land into an archery club. With the help of Dr. Bowser's tractor, a bulldozer provided by Duane Shaull (of Shaull equipment), gravel donated and hauled by J.E. Baker, dynamite for stubborn tree stumps, and most importantly thousands of volunteer hours, the road, range, clubhouse, and two 28-target field courses were created. The clubhouse was completed in 1958, the same year as the club's first formal field shoot.

The club incorporated in 1958, and the following year purchased the 55 acres from the Bowsers for their original cost, $3,500. They also bought an adjacent 22 acre tract from the Red Lion Water Company for $1,100. There were 10 individuals listed in the incorporation document: D. Everett Moore, Gilbert David, Edward Bowser, Jr., Raymond Shewell, Beatrice Brown, Eugneia Shewell, Harry Bott, Charles Hetzel, Ralph Hull, and Michael Bowser. Gilbert David served as the incorporated club's first president.

York Archers pioneered the sport of 3-D shooting. Starting in the mid-to-late 1950's, the club held 3-D shoots using full-sized homemade targets including a motorized running deer, and hosted a “Bowhunter Weekend” designed both to entertain and to prepare participants for the upcoming archery deer season. These shoots began long before McKenzie and Delta targets were introduced (1983), and the International Bowhunters Organization (the primary governing body for tournament 3-D archery) was founded (1984). The club still holds its traditional Bowhunter Weekend in addition to many competitive 3-D shoots throughout the year. The running deer still works.

Today's York Archers exists because of the cumulative dedication and enthusiasm of many people over many decades, each with nothing to gain except to promote and participate in the sport that we love. We are particularly grateful to Dr. Michael Bowser for his vision and commitment, and to the countless volunteers who built the club then, and continue to make it work now.

Eboracum Supremum: read about the history of the York Archers emblem.

Image Gallery (click an image to view it full size where applicable)

D. Everett Moore D. Everett Moore (on left) accepting National Field Archery Association "Certificate of Inspection”, indicating that York Archers’ field course had met rigorous safety and yardage requirements. Looking on from the left is Dr. Bowser. D. Everett Moore (1886-1974) was a multi-talented sportsman, musician, and gentleman who was well-known for his generosity and kindness to others. Dr. Bowser calls him the “heart and soul” of York Archers.

D. Everett Moore Bow/Gun/Trophy Case D. Everett Moore’s gun/bow/trophy case

Chas Hetzel on tractor Charles (Chas) Hetzel on tractor during club construction. Chas was an exceptional instinctive shooter. According to Dr. Bowser, when he drew on a deer, it was “meat in the pot”. He died of a heart attack a few years after this photo was taken.

Ed Bowser showing the way to target #1 Ed Bowser showing the way to target #1

Winter shooting on the new field course Winter shooting on the new field course — note the York Archers patch on the quiver.

Early field shooting Early field shooting

Early York Archers annual banquet Early York Archers annual banquet. Note the little targets.

Mike Bowser on the cover of Eastern Bowhunter magazine Mike Bowser on the cover of Eastern Bowhunter magazine. You can see the York Archers patch on his quiver.

Ed Bowser with a Canadian lynx Ed Bowser (brother of Mike) with a Canadian lynx, 1958

Old Haines Race Track #9 on this photo is the old Haines Race Track, one of the early shooting venues for York Archers. It has here been turned into a trailer park — you can see the trailers lined up radially around the old oval track.

P.S.S.A. tournament archers at Gil David’s farm, 1947 P.S.S.A. tournament archers at Gil David’s farm, 1947

Memorial Park circa 1950 Memorial Park circa 1950, another early shoot location for York Archers

D. Everett Moore as a young man with the York Gun Club D. Everett Moore as a young man with the York Gun Club. We believe he is in the front row wearing the light-colored knickers.

Pulling arrows at the YMCA, 1950 Pulling arrows at the YMCA, 1950

Guys and gals at YMCA, 1950 Guys and gals at YMCA, 1950

Men’s team scoring at YMCA, 1950 Men’s team scoring at YMCA, 1950

D. Everett Moore instructing at YMCA, 1950 D. Everett Moore instructing at YMCA, 1950

York Archers president Ray Shewell building arrows, 1950 York Archers president Ray Shewell building arrows, 1950

Vernon Kinsey, YMCA, 1950 Vernon Kinsey, YMCA, 1950

Ira Shoff and Gil David

Honoring Gil David and his wife for 25 years of service Honoring Gil David and his wife for 25 years of service

Mike Bowser during clubhouse construction Mike Bowser during clubhouse construction

York Archers new clubhouse, 1958 York Archers new clubhouse, 1958

YMCA shooters in row York Archers at the YMCA, 1958. Up to thirty archers could be accommodated at distances up to 28 yards.

York Archers' most famous archer, Linda Myers York Archers’ most famous archer. Linda competed in the 1972 Munich Olympics, taking 5th place in the individual, and silver medal in the team competitions. She won the gold at the South African International Games in Praetoria.

Linda Myers, 1973 Linda Myers, 1973

The base of the flagpole, commemorating Catherine Wallick The base of the flagpole, commemorating Catherine Wallick, whom Dr. Bowser calls the “Mother of all volunteers”.