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The original Necedah Trophy is presently on display at the WBH headquarters in Clintonville, in the bowhunting museum and can be seen whenever the office is open for business.  

At some point in time a Ladies Division Necedah Shoot Trophy was also designed and created.  There's very little known about the history of this trophy but it is believed to have been created in the late 1940s.  When I was researching the history of the Men's Division Trophy with Kaleb Case, at the time the sole surviving son of Roy Case, Kaleb did mention that he thought his father was somehow involved with the creation of this but that he was not certain exactly how.  This trophy too is on display at the WBH Headquarters in Clintonville in the bowhunting museum.

The first WBH Broadhead Shoot was held September 15, 1946 at the Necedah Wildlife Refuge.  It is estimated that approximately 250 people were in attendance with an actual number of 151 shooting the course.  WBH member Warren Incelli of Rockford, Illinois was the first Men's Division winner with James Kinnee of Milwaukee and Sig Arneson of Wauwatosa claiming second and third places, respectively.  Ameliba Huebing of Ableman won the Women's title with Ann Incelli and Annette Kurz of Port Edwards claiming second and third places.  It's interesting to note that both Incelli and Huebing won the championship in their respective divisions again in 1947.  But it's more interesting to note that Incelli won his for the third time in 1949!

At this time the Necedah Shoot had a champion and a second and third place winner in each division.  There were four divisions: adult men, adult women, youth boys and youth girls.  This tradition was followed for many years but eventually additional classes of shooters were created, and upwards of a score of different winners could be named.  There is now a class for almost every type of shooter at the shoot; adult, youth, cadet, male, female, traditional, etc.  Within the various classes, the only competition found is that against one's peers. 

Due to the location of the early shoots, for many years the tournament was called the Necedah Shoot.  However, in 1988 the location of the shoot was moved to Kennedy Park near New Lisbon, and eventually the name became, the WBH State Broadhead Shoot.  Even so, in the hearts and minds of many long time WBH members it remains the Necedah Shoot.  These old timers, myself included, fondly recall the event as the Necedah Shoot and probably never will be able to complete the transition to consider it anything other than what we called it for years.  It seems when sentiment and tradition enter the picture, to the old dogs who have trouble with new tricks, it will remain forever the Necedah Shoot.

While the annual shoot has proved to be a popular attraction for WBH members, attendance has varied over the years.  As mentioned earlier, the very first shoot in 1946 attracted 151 shooters.  The number of shooters steadily rose in the following years until in 1985 there were 1,120 registered shooters, the highest number ever!  In recent years we've seen a drop off in the number of shooters and we've struggled to attract the attendees we're after.  We know there are varied and a wide range of reasons for this, all of which the present WBH leadership is trying to counter.  Undoubtedly, the Covid crisis in recent years hasn't helped at all!

We know that just because in the past the numbers weren’t what we wanted, it doesn't mean they have to be again.  And we know that all of us and members like you can get us where we want to be.  We invite you to attend this year's shoot.

The shoot is scheduled for September 9, 10 & 11 at Kennedy Park just north of New Lisbon on County Road M.  Come on out and join us!  Get in some pre-season practice.  Spend time with your friends and renew acquaintances from across the state that you haven't seen in a while.  Camping is free and there's a family friendly area along with a widely separated curfew free social camping area.

We hope to see you at this year's shoot!  Support the tradition of the WBH State Broadhead Shoot!  Come join us!

 

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Note: Much of the material in the preceding article was taken from Chapter 8 of the 2014 book THE HISTORY OF WISCONSIN BOWHUNTING, by Bill McCrary

the WBH State Broadhead Shoot, aka the Necedah Shoot (continued)

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WBH Bow Loaner Program - It Works!

By Collin Arneson, Age 13

My "Poppy," aka Grandpa asked me five years ago if I would want to give bowhunting a try and I said "Heck Yeah!"  We went to the Wisconsin Bowhunters Association office and I chose a bow that I could use free for one year.

What a great opportunity to try out bowhunting!  Throughout the year I practiced shooting and enjoyed it very much.

 

The end of the one year loan program came and I had to make a decision whether or not to purchase the bow.  I choose to buy the bow and continue my passion for archery.  Even though I was not ready to hunt yet, I continued to practice and gain accuracy.  Over the summer months I went to practice weekly with Poppy and some other buddies.  At the end of the summer everyone agreed that I was ready to hunt.

 

With the kindness of Russel Brugger, I was given permission to hunt on his land with my Poppy.  Then on the opening day of bowhunting the opportunity that I worked very hard for finally came.  I had eyes on a buck.  I was able to have a clear shot and I took it, leaving the deer flat on the ground.  I went to look at the deer and to my surprise it was a six-point buck!  That night we took the deer to be processed and I was the first one to bring a deer in.

 

If it wasn't for my Poppy and the WBH Bow Loaner Program I would have never of had this opportunity to be the archer I am today.

 

Thank-you!

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the  WBH State Broadhead Shoot,

aka, the  Necedah Shoot

 

By Bill McCrary

 

A good number of WBH members feel one of the most enjoyable benefits of their membership is the annual WBH State Broadhead Shoot sponsored by the association.  We've heard this time and again, so much so that it's safe to say the majority of members have attended the broadhead shoot at one time or another.

With this thought in mind, let's explore the history of this famous shoot.

When Roy Case and a small group of others founded the WBH in early 1941 it wasn't long before the idea of some sort of an association tournament or archery contest was suggested.  WBH members seemed to like the idea but because of WW II the issue was tabled for the time being.  Still, if a tournament was to be held, some asked "what sort of tournament would it be?"  In the early years this question was given serious consideration by the WBH leadership and the members.

A number of different types of tournaments were considered and dismissed.  By 1946 the WBH decided it wanted a tournament format geared towards bowhunting and bowhunting in Wisconsin in particular.  As best it could they wanted the contest to mimic actual hunting conditions.  This required the targets to be outdoors at unknown distances and laid out following a roving course in a wooded setting.  The shooters would walk from target to target in the woods, in the brush, down a narrow pathway and not really knowing where they were going until they got there.  Each target would be at a different unknown distance and would present a new challenge.  It was supposed to be like the real thing, with all the distractions and obstacles one might encounter in the field.  The shoot would always be held, rain or shine.

Just how strongly Case, the WBH leadership and the members felt about the shoot's attempting to duplicate actual hunting conditions was evident in how the course was set up.  The average target distance was slightly over twenty yards and involved having to shoot closely past brush, very near to tree trunks, over long grass, and around other natural obstacles.  Sometimes even a portion of the target might be partially obscured.  The shot stakes were intentionally positioned to create a realistic and challenging course.  In the first tournament there was even one target where Case felt a few shooters might hit a nearby tree.  He made sure there was a stout pair of pliers and a hammer & chisel available to assist in removing errant broadhead tipped arrows from the tree.

When speaking of how the Necedah Shoot came into being, in the November 1953 issue of THE BOWHUNTER magazine, Case wrote:

…the NFAA Round was not the kind of round we wanted so we invented one of our own…No restrictions on sights - if sights were used when you hunted, but hunting bows and broadheads were required.

 

Case went on to discuss how life-sized cardboard cut-outs of deer were used as targets and how the shoot was always scheduled for a weekend prior to opening day to give the bowhunter pre-season practice.

Later in the same column he wrote:

…and we called our contest a "Shoot" for a lot of Wisconsin bowhunters were not archers.  Their idea of an archer was a high school girl in shorts in front of a big round target.  They didn't know about archery and tournaments, but they did know about shoots.  It worked out fine and our shoot put on in the central backwoods of the state soon became the largest archery affair in the U.S.

 

Today these 1953 comments by Case provide background information for how the Necedah Shoot developed and evolved.  But before the first shoot all this was in the future.  None-the-less the WBH officers and the membership knew they wanted an annual event where all could meet, socialize and shoot their bows.  And they had to be able to do so in a casual and relaxed setting.  

Since the shoot was going to be outdoors some planned to bring their tents, camp out and enjoy the camaraderie of their fellow bowhunters.  Everyone knew bowhunters were full of stories from the woods, and they'd have no trouble mixing these tales with campfire smoke.  The idea for the shoot was getting better and better all the time!  And the WBH leadership was so enamored by and committed to the idea of a shoot that at their January 19, 1946 meeting the association's Constitution was amended to incorporate an annual shoot without yet ever having held such an event!  These folks had proved they were adventurous when they chose to hunt deer with a bow and not a firearm, now they were proving they were risk-takers as well.

With a scheduled shoot now planned for each autumn of the foreseeable future the WBH leadership envisioned an event that was not just another archery tournament but one deserving of respect and recognition.  They knew awarding a special prize to the champion, one above and beyond the norm, would help to insure this.

In the March 1946 issue of Archery magazine Case read about two outstanding championship trophies created by John Landen of Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada.  It seems Landen was a man well qualified to create an archery award.  He was of Algonquin Indian descent, a tool and die maker by trade, and a talented artist and capable craftsman.  He'd been taught to shoot a bow by his grandfather, was the high scorer in the hunter's Division at a local shoot, and had recently harvested a black bear with his bow.  His talents and bowhunting experiences combined to create the perfect blend of skills required for producing a trophy that was in and of itself worthy of respect, but one also befitting what the WBH leadership hoped the shoot would become.

Case realized the potential in the talents of a man like Landen and commissioned him to produce what eventually became known as the Necedah Trophy.  The two collaborated on a design, and then Landen carved a full-sized model out of wood.  When this was approved by Case, a mold was made and the trophy was cast in bronze.  It was polished, finished and mounted on a wooden base.  The base was designed to contain brass plates for engraving the names of the future champions of the shoot.

In mid-1946 the trophy was donated to the WBH by Roy & Marion Case.  It was, and remains, another example of the valued contributions coming from the Case family.

There had been a great deal invested in this trophy: time, talent, money and hope.  It had become a special award and far surpassed those normally awarded to state archery champions.  Now, if only the shoot and the respect it earned from bowhunters would prove equal, the event would be an all-around success.

The Necedah trophy was donated to the WBH to become a traveling award that would be passed to the Men's Division champion each year.  Each champion could keep it in his home for a year and then would be expected to relinquish it to the succeeding champion the following year.  This plan worked well for many years but in the mid-1980s the WBH leadership decided the trophy should remain in the WBH office for safekeeping and where visitors had ready access for viewing.  By this time both the monetary and historical value of the trophy had surpassed any benefit realized by secreting it away in private homes across Wisconsin.  The name of each Men's Division winner continues to be engraved on the brass plates and this provides recognition for the historical record.  In place of the actual trophy, each annual winner now receives a year specific gold medallion.  This tradition continues to this day.

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