by David Sherwin
The history of how the Alberta Traditional Bowhunters Association was formed has not been formally recorded. It was Justin Black (Grimshaw) who inquired as to where the history was recorded that prompted my research into our beginnings along with Calvin Briggs stating the ATBA’s history needed recording. The following is a compilation of information received from the founding members: John Schneider, Jeff Lander, Jack Kempf, Yves Blouin, Duane Hicks, Gun Lemke and Gary McCartney.
As background information, the Northern Bowhunters (NB), located primarily around Edmonton, started out as a club for traditional bowhunters. Then in the early 1970‘s with the introduction of the Jennings and Allen compound bows, the NB became a club of both compounders and trads. The founding members (except for John Schneider and Gary McCartney) were part of that club.
Shortly after the turn of the century, the compound element of the club dropped out, leaving only the traditional bowhunters, and with overall interest waning. By 2003 the club was in existence in name only: it had funds in the bank but was inactive. This created a vacuum for the traditional community with no club/organization. It is important to understand that at this point in the genesis of the ATBA there was simultaneous and coinciding thinking going on regarding a need for a traditional-only organization.
During the ATBA’s inaugural year, John Schneider made a self bow and called it “Only Yew”. He donated it as a prize at the new organization’s first outdoor shoot in the spring of 2004 held at Duane Hicks’ 80 acres near Tofield. This bow was won by Ken Bowden. Ken had the bow for a year and his long draw length made him worried to shoot it, so he he donated it as a door prize for the first official Heritage Classic Jamboree in 2005 near Red Deer. Yves Blouin won the bow. After a few shots he realized that his bad shoulder would prevent him from shooting that heavy bow for hunting. It was 65# @ 25”. So the bow was shot few times over four years, but was really destined to be a wall hanger. Yves almost donated it few times in that 4-year span, but he finally came up with a bright idea as to what to do with the bow: at the 2009 ATBA Annual General Meeting Yves presented the idea of using a special bow to be used as the official gavel for the ATBA.
Yves had four main reasons why he liked this bow for that purpose:
Yves attached a few conditions to this official gavel: