Mississippi’s only Junior Olympic Archery Development Club resides on the Coast.
The Southern Draw JOAD is a competitive target archery team based out of Gulfport. One of 653 clubs across the nation, Southern Draw operates under USA Archery and was formed last year. Through the Ann Hoyt Legacy Fund and the Jim Easton Foundation, Southern Draw received a grant for equipment usage and club development.
Renee Roberts is the Club Administrator for Southern Draw, which has 25 members between the ages of nine and 18. Her husband, Jason Roberts, is Southern Draw’s coach. Kelly Galliano, Kevin Lee, Tom Stopson and Jonathan McMurray are the assistant coaches.
Roberts expressed the difficulty of finding events for the team, which works out at Harrison County Fairgrounds.
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“Being the only Junior Olympic archery team in Mississippi, we travel to other cities to compete in their state tournaments,” Roberts said.
Southern Draw recently competed in the Florida State JOAD championship held at Newberry, Fla. on July 1.
Two archers broke state records at Florida: Gabriel Stone (barebow recurve) and Dakota Lee (compound bow shooting).
Six other Southern Draw archers earned medals at the Florida state championship. Jordan Roberts, Allison Roberts and Koty Galliano joined Lee and Stone as gold medalists. Samantha Roberts and Mia Lee each won silver medals. Noah Cuevas received a bronze medal.
Other tournaments Southern JOAD competed in include Conyers, Georgia and College Station, Texas. They also hosted the Archery exhibition for the 31st annual Veterans Golden Age Games last month in Biloxi.
Roberts, who helped form Southern Draw last year, has a simple goal.
“Our hopes are to be able to expose his many youth as possible to the sport of Archery by hosting camps and workshops along the Coast,” Roberts said.