'Hunger Games' archery practice encourages passions
By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY - Rain was dripping from Curtis Martin's hat as he pulled an arrow tight beside his face. A handful of children and adults stood behind him, watching, as he explained the importance of aiming for a small target rather than a large area. "You want to concentrate on a small spot," he said. "It helps you focus." Martin and fellow archer Jacob Stubbs demonstrated a variety of bows Saturday morning at the Rowan County Wildlife Association target range on Majolica Road. The archery event was part of this year's 411 Community Read, an organization that unites libraries, parks and recreation groups in Rowan, Cabarrus, Stanly and Union counties. This year, the theme was Suzanne Collins' novel 'The Hunger Games.' Martin and Stubbs, both seniors at South Rowan High School, spoke to a group of about 10 who turned out in the storm. Bob Pendergrass helped organize the event. It was one of several 'Hunger Games'-themed events he helped host this month. On Sept. 15, Pendergrass helped host a Survival Training Day at Dan Nicholas Park. The events, he said, help keep children engaged, learn new skills and encourage reading. Pendergrass, nature director for the Rowan County Parks and Recreation, praised the two teenage volunteers for teaching the complexities of modern day archery. "I think it's just great you have a 17-year-old talking to these young folks," Pendergrass said. Among the spectators was Ronnie Marsh, of Rowan County, and his grandson, Chance. Marsh said Chance wasn't particularly interested in the futuristic fiction novel, but wanted to see the target shooting Saturday morning. "He enjoyed it," Marsh said afterward. "He's got a bow. He just wanted to learn a little more about it." Martin said he wasn't sure if they were even going to have the demonstration Saturday. But the turnout was encouraging, he said. "Everybody needs a passion, whether it's archery or hunting.." Martin said. "It's good to have something that you're really excited about."