The Chickasaw Nation will host a cornstalk shooting competition, “Shoot of the Nations,” at 8 a.m., Saturday, October 20. Team members from many tribes are expected to attend the competition, which will take place at Kullihoma, southeast of Ada, Oklahoma.
Cornstalk shooting is a traditional Native American sport. Southeastern tribal archers compete using custom, hand-made bows and arrows. The archers shoot at two targets made of cornstalks at opposite ends of a field.
Shoot of the Nations gathers Native Americans from across Oklahoma who share similar cultures and history. Many tribes within Oklahoma have organized teams. These teams generally share not only the sport, but the cultural aspect of making bows, traditional regalia and other traditions.
“It is important that we continue cornstalk shooting because it brings back revitalization and interest in an ancient game,” explains Chickasaw shooter Tim Cornelius. “Making bows and arrows help the Chickasaw people identify a link to our culture as a people.”
Shooter Carmon Jones agrees.
“I shot at the Shoot of the Nations last year when the Creeks held it,” Mrs. Jones said. “There were shooters from many different tribes. I spent a lot of time talking with Gary Ashmore, a Cherokee arrow maker who makes some of the best arrow tips in the state.”
Archers score points based on the number of cornstalks pierced per arrow. The targets range from 50 to 125 yards from the archers. Targets are made from cornstalks, typically 3 feet in length, stacked 3 feet tall and are approximately 12 inches deep. Each shooter has two arrows per round. The competitors continue shooting at each of the targets until a shooter has penetrated 50 stalks and declared the winner.
“Sometimes matches last for hours,” explains Jones. “The first person to pierce 50 stalks wins. Due to the range of the targets and wind conditions, this can take some time.”
At the Shoot of the Nations, two divisions compete. Divisions include 12 and under archers, and age 13 and older archers. An adult prize shoot takes place after competition.
Trophies are awarded for first, second and third places for the children’s division, with a first place award given in the adult division. First, second and third place prizes will be awarded in the adult prize shoot.
Traditional shooting standards and rules will apply to the competition. This standard allow the use of store-bought bow strings, arm guards, finger tabs and other related equipment. Bows must be hand-made using traditional native American methods.
“Cornstalk shooting has been revitalized ocer the last few years to increase the interest in traditional bow making, said Chickasaw bow maker and archer Wayne Scribner. “There is a camaraderie involved in the sort and its history, both between Chickasaw tribal members and those of other nations.”
The Chickasaw Nation currently has approximately 50 shooters who practice the sport, from all age groups. Cornstalk practice is held every Tuesday evening, weather permitting, on the field next to 111 Rosedale Road, in Ada.
“On a typical Tuesday night practice, we have 25 to 50 shooters practicing,” said Cornelius. “At the Creek Shoot of the Nations last year, around 75 people attended. We expect a higher turn-out based on our shooters alone.”
Kullihoma, which is Chickasaw for “red springs,” is approximately 10 miles northeast of Ada, Oklahoma. To reach the site, travel seven miles northeast of Ada on Highway 1 to the Kullihoma sign and turn right, then travel three miles east and one mile south.
For further info, contact Tony Choate, Tony.Choate@chickasaw.net or 580-559-0921