For anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting the owner of Excelsior, Ron Sauer, they know all too well what value he places above all others; family.

Ron does not take quality time with his family lightly. Every moment not spent working is devoted to making lasting memories. Bonding activities are important, but as a father of three daughters, it can sometimes be difficult to find a hobby everyone enjoys.

Luckily for the Sauer family, one pastime, in particular, has struck an interest within all of the ladies in Ron’s home; the precision sport of archery.

From competing around the country…

…to hunting in their own back yard, the Sauer ladies have shown true devotion and passion for the sport. In fact, their father is not the only one who has noticed!

In the Spring 2017 edition of Out Here, the Sauer family is featured for their unique family tradition.

Out Here magazine is a complimentary publication by Tractor Supply. Published quarterly, this print celebrates individuals who live a rural lifestyle and excel in their communities; the perfect magazine to feature the Sauer family!

You can read this wonderful article below, or pick up a print at your local Tractor Supply and turn to page 57 for the story in hand. Take a look at these awesome ladies, you wouldn’t want to miss their story!

All family image credits: Hanna Sauer

On Target 

Archery provides tradition, self-discipline, and fun for Sauer family 

by Noble Sprayberry, Photography by Jeff Goulding 

 Bows and arrows are part of the daily routine for each of Ron Sauer’s three daughters as they grow up carrying on a unique family tradition. 

And while Sauer’s girls- Hannah, 13, Rachel, 11, and Leah, 4- do hunt and compete, often earning trophies, he believes the lessons taught be archery go far beyond the ability to fling a shaft toward a bull’s-eye. 

“You can’t be nervous or angry. You can’t have a raised heartbeat. You have to be in control,” says Sauer. “How much better would we all be if ewe could objectively control the situation we are in? In archery, to execute a shot, that’s the state of mind you have to be in.”

The thread that drew his children into the sport stretches back to Sauer’s pre-teen years. He worked on his family’s dairy farm, including the milk plant where one employee was an archer. One day, Sauer took the offer to watch the man shoot and seeing those first few arrows fly started a love of the sport. 

He saw how quickly archery could engage an entire family- it was contagious. Sauer started practicing, and he was joined be his father, mother, and sister.  

“We kind of went off the deep end and we were all shooting every weekend,” he says. “It was the center of our family’s life for five or six years.” 

 Sauer, however, eventually lost interest. Then, work, marriage, and three daughters took his focus. 

 But five years ago, he was joking and bragging to his daughters about his archery prowess.

“I was telling my kids how great I could shoot back in the day, and they told me I should show them if I was really so great,” he says. “So, I went to an archery show with a 20-year-old bow, and I won the competition. That sparked an interest in them, just like it did in me.”

And once again, a family was hooked by the sport. They practice at their home outside Woodstock, NY, where the Catskill Mountains provide a scenic backdrop.

They also hunt and compete. Indeed, both Hannah and Rachel have had success, winning state and national honors.

Hannah, though, finds pleasures in archery that go beyond competition. As her father did when he was about her age, she sees the sport as a way for her family to bond.

“I’m really not very competitive. I just go and make friends and have fun and just try to do my best,” she says. “And I like that you can spend time with friends and family.”

Sauer echoes his daughter’s thoughts. “Archery is a connection point and that’s an important thing in our family,” Sauer says. “If you play a sport like soccer, your dad will eventually get too old to play. But he won’t get too old to stand there, pull a bow back, and fling an arrow down to a target and then hold hands with you when you get the arrow.”

In the fall, Sauer and the girls practice in the back yard, honing the skills needed for winter hunting. Then, indoor competitions begin, followed later by 3D shoots in which targets resemble animals. 

Success relies on a state of mind.

“You have to be very calm and at peace,” Sauer says. “If you learn that through archery, you can do that in life, because archery teaches some of the best attributes a human can have.”

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