Archery event raises funds for autism research

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Ryan Silvola/Beloit Daily News (From left): Temperance Boggess shoots an arrow with the help of Madison Oster, with Hononegah Archery Inc., at last year's Movie on the Big Lawn at Riverside Park. Hononegah Archery Inc. is planning the second annual Julie's Archers for Autism and Rock River Music festival from noon-9 p.m. on Aug. 3 at Settlers Park in Rockton.

ROCKTON - Hononegah Archery has locked in on a target: to raise money for the University of Wisconsin Waisman Center while hosting an event filled with arrows, live music, delicious food and fun.

The local nonprofit is planning the second annual Julie's Archers for Autism and Rock River Music festival from noon-9 p.m. on Aug. 3 at Settlers Park in Rockton.

Jeremy Oster, president and founder of Hononegah Archery Inc., said his daughter Julie - who is on the autism spectrum - has participated in five recent Waisman Center autism research studies.

When Hononegah Archery became a certified nonprofit back in 2017 after Oster used archery as a way to bond with his kids, he decided to make the Waisman Center its primary cause.

He also has a son who has cognitive disabilities.

"The big thing with my daughter and son having disabilities is there aren't many other sports where people in a wheelchair can compete from the same starting line as their (able-bodied) peers for scholarship money," Oster said.

Though the event has free admission, Oster encourages attendees to donate whatever they can to benefit the Waisman Center.

The event will feature an archery tournament. The price to enter the tournament is $20. Oster said everyone from Olympic level athletes to complete newcomers can enter the tournament. Oster said there will be training area where new athletes can learn how to sling arrows before competing in the tournament.

In the first round of competition, archers will shoot at bullseye targets. After 5 p.m., top qualifiers then will shoot at three-dimensional foam animals.

Prizes will be awarded for the top finishers in each category.

People also can play archery-themed games for a small fee, such as shooting flu-flu arrows at helium balloons.

Those who aren't into slinging arrows have a lot to look forward to as well.

Four bands will perform throughout the event, including a band that's yet to be announced from noon-1 p.m., Good Karma from 2-3 p.m., Your Local Radar from 4-6 p.m. and headliner Pistol Pete from 6-9 p.m.

"Pistol Pete is kind of like the Jimmie Hendrix of Rockford," Oster said.

There also will be food vendors, bounce houses and face painting.

"You could come there and not be interested in archery at all and still have something to do," Oster said.

Hononegah Archery also offers archery classes at Big Hill Park in Beloit on Tuesdays and on Thursdays at Settlers Park in Rockton.

For more information on taking a class, go to Honoarchery.org.

Oster also coaches a Junior Olympic team. For more information, go to Honoarchery.usarchery.org.

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