SoCal Families | Riverside Archery
By: Mary Beth Adomaitis
One of the appeals of living in the Inland Empire is the abundance of family-owned businesses that truly make you feel comfortable and at home when you are there. That’s what it was like when I brought my two kids, ages 13 and 10, to Riverside Archery recently. I had been looking for something different to do with them indoors to beat the Southern California heat and summertime boredom that has sets in every July. This was it.
Located in Riverside at the end of Atlas Drive, Riverside Archery has been a mainstay in this northside neighborhood for about 40 years. The shop was originally owned by Wally and Donna Schwartz who retired and sold the business to their son, Travis, a few years ago. The younger Schwartz has been shooting archery since he was two and is the nine-time California state broad-head archery champ.
Riverside Archery is everything you would expect from an indoor archery range and supply company with a 20-yard range with 13 shooting lanes and a wall of old phonebooks holding up the targets. It sells everything from standard bows and arrows to compound bows, recurve bows, sighs, releases, arrow rests, quivers and stabilizers and more. It is not only the oldest archery pro shop in California, but the only shop within 100 miles that has all the top brands of bows.
The showroom had an amazing display of products, as well as a collection of deer and other wild animals mounted on the walls, many of which were hunted by the original owner, Wally. One mount in particular displayed several “Robin Hood” shots, which are arrows that hit other arrows in the rear end and splits them. It is a rare feat.
What I liked about the establishment was the knowledge and patience of our trainer, Sarah. Having been an archer for 15 years, she was completely comfortable and skilled to give our one-hour beginner lesson. She first went over all the safety rules as it pertains to handling the bows and arrows, as well as being alert to other archers in the vicinity. This was a great reminder, especially for my young son who very excited to retrieve his arrows after he shot them.
The lesson also included determining my children’s eye dominance for shooting, selecting the right size and weight bow and arrow, explaining safety equipment, learning proper stance and form, and finally, letting them practice shooting. Both kids did great, each scoring two bull's-eyes after only a short time practicing! I was also particularly impressed with other archers practicing in nearby lanes who were not only patient while my children shot, but also provided some encouragement and advice.
Overall, we had an amazing experience at Riverside Archery. My kids, who are not actively involved in sports, found this one that they want to try again. So, I’m checking my schedule to fit in another class before they head back to school in August. Beginner, intermediate and advanced lessons are held Thursday, Friday and Saturday for those seven years old and older. Private lessons are available upon request. These lessons include the use of an Olympic Recurve Bow.
Once beginner classes are complete, archers 7 to 20 years old can join the Riverside Archery’s Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) program, which trains young archers looking to compete and move up. The JOAD program includes a weekly lesson on Wednesday or Sunday, six hours of free practice time and a monthly field trip to Oranco Bowmen, an outdoor archery club in Chino. Archers must use their own equipment or rent it from Riverside Archery. Compound bow lessons are held on Saturday.
Finally, those interested can become Riverside Archery Club members for exclusive deals and privileges including free range time and special rates and shooting times. All staff members are certified instructors by the National Field Archery Association. If you're interested in finding more adventurous, family-friendly outings in the IE, read about our recent visit to Big Air Trampoline Park in Redlands.
Riverside Archery is at 1919 Atlas Dr.. It is open noon to 7p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10a.m. to 5p.m. Saturday and 2-8 p.m. Sunday. Lessons start at $24 with package deals available. Open shoot time is available anytime classes are not in session and must be reserved ahead of time. For additional information, call (951) 684-9192.
Full Dislosure: Riverside Archery provided us with complimentary private one-hour lesson, however all opinions expressed are 100% our own.