When Jim Austin sets his sights on something, he makes it happen.
Just over a year ago, Austin opened the Western Heritage Center Archery Range at 3534 E. Berry St. in Fort Worth. He was seeing more and more people – himself included – attracted to the sport.
“The idea came about with the fact that we control 10 acres on MLK Freeway and East Berry, and there was a traffic count of over 80,000 cars a day passing that corner, and the fact that when you went to the movies someone always had a bow and arrow,” Austin said. “So we decided to open an archery range so our kids could learn the sport of archery, which is clearly very popular now.”
Austin learned archery as a little boy in 4H. He practices today at the Western Heritage Range.
Austin is the broker and owner of Austin Company Commercial Real Estate, established in 1981. The company has served the Fort Worth-Dallas metro area with commercial real estate and property management services for nearly three decades.
Austin also served eight years on the Texas Real Estate Commission and has been honored by the National Association of Realtors with Realtor Magazine’s Good Neighbor Award.
Brian Murnahan and his 12-year-old son, Lucas, practice archery regularly at Cinnamon Creek Ranch near their home. He is glad to see the Western Heritage Range open, adding another venue for folks practicing the growing sport. The Archery Trade Association reports that archery and bow hunting increased more than 20 percent from 2012 to 2015, with 23.8 million Americans 18 and older involved.
“Having smaller ranges like Jim has opened are great for the sake of the sport,” Murnahan said. “It shows people that it’s a sport, just like golf, for example.
“We are a suburban family, but we don’t like to hunt. Lucas just likes the sport of archery. The whole point is to pick up a bow and have a good time,” he said.
Like Austin, Murnahan’s interest developed as a child. Lucas, in less than two years, has already qualified for national competition.
“It’s one of the best feelings ever,” Lucas said of a precise shot. “You feel like you’ve done something amazing.”
Murnahan said it’s that precision that makes archery special.
“It’s a sport where you have to learn to be precise. You learn that repetition, kind of like a golf swing,” Murnahan said. “You want to repeat that perfect shot.”
Western Heritage is open from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays. Cost is $20 with rental equipment or $10 with your own equipment. The range provides equipment for ages 4 to adult, and instructors are on site.
Because they can rent equipment, visitors can determine their level of interest in the sport without making a big investment. But then, Murnahan said, getting into the sport isn’t all that expensive – though, like any sport, it can be costly if one chooses.
“It’s a sport you can get into for relatively minimal bucks,” he said. “And I wouldn’t recommend spending a lot until you are certain it is for you.”
Bows can cost less than $75 or more than $1,000.
“I do believe that archery is growing. In fact, I believe archery is a sport that is on the rise,” Murnahan said. “It is no longer just a sport for hunters and outdoorsmen. It is one the whole family can enjoy and compete in.”
Western Heritage is more than an archery range. It offers a Primitive Living Skills Camp for youths, where they will explore the science and technology used by Native Americans. Also, there is the Pam Grier Community Garden Program for all ages to learn to garden.
“The Primitive Living program is ages 7 to 17. Here we teach the basic outdoor survival skills for students,” Austin said. “Individuals can participate in as few or as many as they’d like.”
Primitive Living camps are scheduled for July 8, Aug. 12 and Sept. 9. Each camp is an all-day event.
Also, nearby is the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum, formerly the National Cowboys of Color Museum, also founded by Austin.
For more information about the archery range and activities, call (817) 922-9999 or email email@example.com or visit cowboysofcolor.org.
Other archery ranges in the Fort Worth area:
6011 US Highway 67, Alvarado
2501 Bass Pro Drive, Grapevine
Cinnamon Creek Ranch
13794 Old Denton Road, Roanoke
2262 Roberts Cut Off Road, Fort Worth
(817) 709-7169 or (817) 709-3236
1448 Mineral Wells Highway, Weatherford
3800 Mineral Wells Highway, Weatherford
3733 N. Beach St., Fort Worth