Saturday, March 7, 2015

Women in archery. Not just for gatherers anymore...

                               ... women are on the hunt.

Kirstie Pike is the founder of Prois Hunting, a growing technical gear company that started in 2007 when she went to buy hunting clothing one season and only found capri pants and baby doll tees offered in the women’s section.  Built on Kirstie’s cheeky and positive sense of humor and a dedication to filling the gap, Prois has continued to have an impact in the hunting community by helping people understand the seriousness and passion for hunting that women also have. Customers are adamant fans of what Kirstie and her staff have built. “Prois defines me as a hunter. It defines my passion and pride in my sport,”  and it makes Kirstie proud to hear that her ideas have sparked with so many women alike. 
“When we started Prois, there was literally no performance female hunting gear on the market. You could buy men’s gear or cotton lifestyle clothing. It was odd to me when all other sports had gear for women - skiing, mountain biking, running, etc. We just kept tinkering and doors kept opening.”
The hunting arena is still somewhat of a bastion of good-ol-boy attitudes, but Prois continues to work on breaking that barrier by offering specially designed gear for western big game hunters. The terrain is rough, the weather can be tougher and that demands gear that may save your life when you get caught in it. The men that value the virtues of a silent, breathable and warm merino wool jacket or pants automatically understand what Kirstie has set out to do in the women’s space and support it.  But according to her, there are still unfortunately men out there that will never consider spending a higher price point on camo for their wives or girlfriends and she just assumes that these guys either don’t like their wives or just don’t want to hunt with them!
When asked her ultimate goal for Prois, she laughs and says, “World domination. Too much? I want to provide the highest quality shooting gear available for women. Period. And want Prois to be necessary and relevant for the long haul.”
Camo everything has become popular culture in the past few years and you can find everything from wedding dresses to sheets and pillows, to camo bikinis and yoga pants. The women drawn to Prois find a high end look and feel with technical features that rival the best men’s hunting gear. No bikinis, though. Just the gear that keeps you warm and dry. The catalog and site are noticeably bimbo-absent. No pink here either.
For Kirstie, the greatest surprise out of creating Prois has been finding the sisterhood of ladies out there with similar minds and passions.  “I never would have predicted that eight years ago these ladies would become my very best friends and supporters. I love connecting with women and bringing them together. There is much more to Prois than selling clothing (although that is what pays my bills), it is about being a voice, a sounding board and an avenue for women to come together and enjoy their love for hunting and shooting!”
PS. Kirstie Pike is one fantastic lady. I highly recommend saying hello if you make it to a trade show!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Chasing Cabin Fever

Heck yes! Anyone have a husky that needs some exercise??
You know it's been a tough winter when you decide to go out and work up a full bodied sweat without a hat and it's only 15 degrees. And it feels reasonable. There's actually blue sky and sun today and even though we've had 45 inches of the white stuff so far, the fields out here are so wind scoured that the drifts are hard packed like beach sand ripples and it's down to bare grass in some places. I've been able to ski and snowshoe more this winter than ever.

Crystal Gavin, someone that I have grown to admire more and more, posted a pic last week of her outdoor target and a snow blown path to go pull arrows. Time to work on outdoor distances already. A club shooter here, Mike Chadsey, just did something similar and is shooting in an unheated breezeway to get some distance practice in.  Insanity. It's 6 degrees. He's just opened the doors for his own archery biz and is going full steam ahead for the Gator Cup. At some point, you have just say f-u winter, I've got stuff to do.

It's been a good indoor season. Have had to miss some of my usual shoots, but am shooting better than I have in a while and building back some confidence. Just need to build back some muscle. Gym motivation is tough to come by for me this time of year and I just need to get back on the horse. One of the guys in our club put together this great training video for recurve archers. I need to just go do it and ixnay on the whinging.

This morning's ski was great, not only for the sun which is surprisingly warm, but the woodpeckers and chickadees making it sound like the world was still alive out there. How they've managed to not freeze and find food is amazing. The six or so deer beds deep in the snow are full of new snow and fox tracks behind the windbreak. My ski got rid of my grumpy mood from not moving enough this week and got some cold oxygen to my brain and got me thinking about the past week or so.

Tonight is dress up and go out to a new place with friends. Not sure this place will let a yak in, it's on the swanky side. I miss my cute shoes. But it's March, so maybe by the end of it...

photo credit: Skijoring 13 via photopin (license)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Lancaster Classic Recap

This is just the 12:30 pm Sat line. Did I mention this is a BIG shoot?
So it's been a long time since we packed up our gear and headed for a tournament with more than 20 people. At 850+ archers, this qualified as a BIG shoot. Held at their new venue, the Lancaster Host Resort, it went very smoothly, and offered seminars, buses to the mothership and a free BBQ dinner to all who shot that weekend. Lancaster makes a concerted effort to be sure everyone has a good time, and it shows. If you have the the means, I highly recommend it. They did separate the recurve men from the women this year, and there were some elite women there who set the bar really, darn high and then flew off to shoot Nimes this weekend.

One of the best things about this shoot are the number of people that you will run into from home, so there are plenty of people to hang out with before, during and after.  We ran into friends from out-of-state and made some new ones as well. Steve and Mike from PTTC, and Sue was there in her stripes to ref on our end. PJ Charette from Ohio was on the bale next to me (and got himself into the shoot offs - GO PJ!). PJ comes up to shoot at our home club with his FIL, who was also shooting. Ricky Smith, who shoots with the pros, was there with his new girlfriend, Amanda. Heidi Miller from CT was on my card, a fantastic person to shoot with and we discovered that we run in the same professional circles (marketing and publishing in the optics & photonics industry) and know some of the same people. Two very small circles colliding first thing in the morning. Later that day, I got a great intro to the under construction archery mecca that is going up in Rochester, NY from Jason Minnamon. Watch for more on this in Summer 2015.
PJ is second from the left, and Heidi is the blond ponytail.

Didn't make the cut for Sunday, but was happy overall with how I did. Only one stupid mistake, and fought some giant butterflies for the first few ends, but once I settled down, did reasonably well. It's always interesting how nerves will put my elbow back in "compound" mode and the challenge becomes letting go of the tension and breathing properly. Breathing = no shaking. You could see it in quite a few of the recurve shooters in the beginning (or if the camera was right behind them), including me.

See, cameras. And that darn elbow. (photo from Lancaster Archery)
Cameras. Yeah, they were everywhere. My single and only complaint was that the video coverage on my end of the line was almost nonexistent. I would have been happy to see what my form was doing in order to better understand how to correct for nerves the next time. All of the "good" shooters were somehow in the center and so that is where the cameras were predominately. One of the best things about this event is the live scoring on tablets right at the bales. Not only did it eliminate math errors (mine) but you knew exactly where you stood at any given time during the weekend.