ST. ALBANS TOWN – Pelkey’s Archery Inc. has a new hand behind the bow, and it’s none other than local archer John Fleury.

“I’ve been working there for 16 years and started archery here when I was 6,” Fleury said. “I like to do it, and I’m pretty decent at it, so I just went with it. I was a multisport athlete, but archery was my number one.

Fleury said his parents brought him and his sister to archery before they were 10, and although his sister didn’t train all the time, for him the skill stayed.

“We have birthday parties, scout groups, etc. “You can make archery a full-time career. We have a professional circuit. You can go as far as you want. “

While Pelkey’s student group is lower this year due to COVID-19, at around 80 out of 150, Fleury said the trio of team members hoped that with the fall, their classes will be complete.

“It’s a great sport as a team and as an individual,” said Fleury. “It’s good for families and kids of all ages.”

As a member of the Pelkey’s team, students can compete in nearly a dozen national tournaments against athletes from around the world, and Fleury said he has competed in international competitions as well.

“We’re sanctioned by US archery, and they have youth and adult teams and they represent the United States all over the world,” Fleury said.

Fleury said he fondly remembers waking up early on a Saturday to go to Pelkey’s for his lesson, and since he started at age 6 he has won dozens of trophies, medals, ribbons and awards since landing his first bow.

But you don’t need to own your own bow to aim for a career in archery, Fleury said, and those interested in a possible career in archery can hire whatever equipment they want. need with time with a certified trainer.

“Just keep an open mind,” Fleury said. “It’s great for your competitive side, your relaxed side, but it can be a sport for life.”