When Bailey Drinkwalter first showed up at the Victoria Bowmen Archery Club, it was because her brother had done it first.
“Except at first I went with him but he wasn’t even old enough to join,” Drinkwalter recalled, “but I signed up.”
Six years later, the 14-year-old Spectrum Community School student will represent Saanich and the Island’s Zone 6 district at the B.C. Winter Games in Kamloops, Feb. 22 to 25. She qualified at a December competition.
Archery is an ancient sport but doesn’t share the same popularity as others. However, at the age of eight, when Drinkwalter was shooting regularly with the club, archery was thrust in the pop-culture spotlight and it resulted in a sudden influx of youth members.
“When the Hunger Games came out we had a lot of kids show up,” she said. “Some stayed for a couple of weeks, some stayed for a couple of years and some are still there.”
Since then, Drinkwalter has become a sharpshooter in her own right. She qualified for the 18-metre distance indoor archery event at the B.C. Winter Games as a recurve archer (there’s also compound or barebow). Outdoor she shoots 40 metres.
To strengthen her young arms, the left-handed shooter uses resistant bands at her Strawberry vale home on the days she isn’t shooting.
“The Games could be scary, I’m not sure what to expect,” Drinkwalter said. “I’ve been to a lot of smaller competitions so… I am looking forward to competing with a lot of new faces, the [youth] archery community is a small community.”