The History of Our Club
The Southern Maryland Archery Club began as a vision by the founder Eddie Grearson. Along with his brothers Ralph and Gary, Eddie obtained permission from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to use the grounds of the old Cheltenham Wildlife Management Station for 10 years.
The first year SMA hosted 3-D shoots and had a crude practice range. Originally only permission was granted for archery club use outside of the fenced-in area. There was no clubhouse. The first year a picnic area and an outdoor registration pavilion was constructed to provide a gathering place for families. Eventually permission was granted by DNR so that the archery club could use the building for its monthly meetings. Eddie was the first president and put Southern Maryland Archers (SMA) on the map. He affiliated the club with the state archery organization, the Maryland Archery Association (MAA) from the get go. This provided the club with organization, insurance, advertising, and recognition from archers all over the state. Each club affiliated with the MAA hosts an annual anniversary event. Our annual event was named after the trains the run through the DNR property here in Cheltenham and was dubbed “The Coal Train Shoot”. The second year was a big year. In 1995 the practice range was completed, and permission was granted by DNR for SMA to have full use of the buildings and fenced grounds of the DNR station at Cheltenham. Also in 1995 Eddie Grearson successfully bid Southern Maryland Archers as the host club for the upcoming 1996 MAA State 3-D Championship. This really gave club members something to strive for. By the end of 1995 new membership soared, an indoor league (that used a 14 yard range in the back of the clubhouse building) was established, and plans for the future included a field range and a 20 yard indoor range. The 3-D shoots were held pretty much every Sunday throughout the first four years of our club’s existence. It was a time when archery in Maryland was very popular and the turnouts on Sunday for 3-D topped 100 shooters from time to time.
1996 began with 3-D shoots held every Sunday, indoor league shoots Saturday night and the field range under construction. Dennis Spears and Ken Brown were major contributors on the layout and work required to complete the field range. Chris Goldsmith established a “Pumpkin Shoot” for kids at Halloween. 1996 also marked the end of an area as Eddie Grearson resigned as president and Jim Bush assumed the duties of leadership. The first state championship hosted by SMA was held in July 1996, the MAA State 3-D Championship, and was a big success.
In 1997 work began to convert the storage shed into a regulation 20 yard indoor range, Skip Wilkerson was the new president and SMA hosted the MAA Charity shoot. In mid year Stacy Bacon took over as president.
At the beginning of 1998 our 20 yard indoor range officially opened and hosted leagues Thursday, Friday,
and Saturday nights. Stacy stayed on as president and SMA looked forward to an exciting year. In 1998 SMA hosted the MAA State 3-D Championship for the second time as well as an IBO Qualifier. In 1999 the 3-D craze began to wind down and SMA changed the 3-D league shoots from Sundays to Monday evenings during the summer. Eventually 3-D moved back to Sundays.
David Fry served as president during 1999 and 2000. In 1999 Frank Pearson conducted a two day advanced archery course. In 2001 Mike Cassidy served as president. In 2002 Steve Maresh was the SMA president. In 2003 Mike Elliott served as president, and SMA hosted the ASA State Championship. Also, in 2003 the club secretary Buck Jones established the first club website. In 2004 Mike Cassidy served as president for the second time and SMA hosted the ASA State Championship for the second year in a row. Mike Lewis from Virginia shot the only perfect score on our Field Range in the summer of 2004, something that we haven't seen before or since! Also, 2004 marked the 10 year anniversary of our club and the year was capped off when DNR granted SMA another 10 year lease.
Brian Straub was the 2005 SMA president and Brian Myles re-established the club website.
In 2006, while Dave Fry served as president for a third time, our club was the recipient of State grant funding. This funding was used to completely refurbish the public practice range as well as the tower platform. Also, in 2006 the club website evolved into a comprehensive information center where folks could learn about SMA, see images of our ranges and club facilities, obtain applications to join, and even access the club monthly newsletter.
Stacy Bacon was the SMA president in 2007. During that year SMA was invited to run the 3-D venue at the First Annual Southern Maryland Outdoors Expo held at the Charles County Fairgrounds. This was a huge success, many folks tried their hand at a challenging course. Also, 2007 marked the year when the Bowhunter Education finally came to SMA.
During 2008 Michael Cassidy stepped up to be the President for the third time. Rich Walker moved up to take the VP position and the two developed a list of goals for the year before even taking office officially. They set out to resurrect many successful activities from the past and started the year with a Pot Luck/Coon Shoot, they also set out to organize leagues for Indoor & 3-D with nice awards going out. The highlight of the year was the participation at the 2008 Hunting & Outdoor Expo. SMA's hosting of the 3-D competition (The Bowhunter 3-D Challenge) was a major venue at the expo because Rich Walker rounded up hunts and prizes, along with sponsorship for awards and 3-D targets. As a result SMA brought in $1000 for the two-day event. There were several issues that put a damper on the expo - several targets were stolen and several score cards were misplaced. These were defining moments of the expo and for the year because in the end the targets were recovered and all was made right with the awards. Michael did a fantastic job as President in 2008, many of the old timers indicated that he was the best President the club ever had! It was a year when goals were set early on and things ran pretty smooth and many things were accomplished for the good
of the future of the club.
Other notable pieces of SMA history were the shoots that were hosted here. Until recent years the Coal Train Shoot was a 3 day event. On Friday evenings at dark a novelty “Coon Shoot” kicked off
the festivities. Archers shot the course in teams in the dark! Archers shot at a 2-D raccoon target with glow eyes that reflected when a team member shined a 2 cell flashlight at them. That is the only reference the archer had to the target. The Coal Train event was also the host to both 3-D and Field on Saturday and Sunday with trophies for each awarded at the end of the event. The Coal Train shoot was also the site of local vendors, DNR Wildlife reps, door prizes, archery equipment swap, used 3-D target sale, and a raffle for a bow give-away. SMA has also hosted turkey shoots at Thanksgiving. Also, at the end of each summer SMA hosts a broadhead shoot where bowhunters can tweak their hunting rigs for upcoming season.
At the end of 1995 SMA hosted a New Years party combined with an indoor shoot. In 1998 SMA hosted a “Beast Feast”. Members donated the meat from their hunts and a cookout treated guests to a one of a kind barbecue.
All in all Southern Maryland Archery club has been the venue for many truly memorable events. SMA has seen some very good times and has also overcome challenges as participation has dropped off. Looking at other clubs around our state should make our members proud that our range is maintained better than any other and our club offers every option of style (field, indoor, 3-D, target) to its members.
SMA's Highest Honor: Bowman of the Year
Congratulations to the following recipients for Outstanding Dedication and Service to the Club.
- 1995 - Gary Grierson
- 1996 - Mike Elliott
- 1997 - Jim Bush
- 1998 - Stacy Bacon
- 1999 - Dave Fry
- 2000 - Gwen Elliott
- 2001 - Michael Cassidy
- 2002 - Gwen Elliott
- 2003 - Gwen Elliott
- 2004 - George Dempsey
- 2005 - Stacy Bacon
- 2006 - George Dempsey
- 2007 - Rich Walker
- 2008 - Michael Cassidy and Rich Walker
- 2009 - Bob Ekstein
- 2010 - Brad Gainer and Dave Fry
- 2011 - Tom Rowe and Dave Fry
- 2012 - Tom Rowe
- 2013 - Rob Smith
- 2014 - Kelley Siwecki
- 2015 - Tom Rowe