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Nine-year-old archer Ember Frigon setting sights high

After attending the world’s largest indoor archery tournament with more than 4,000 competitors, nine-year-old Ember Frigon has her sights set on achieving even more in the sport.

In February, Frigon competed at “The Vegas Shoot”, placing 13th out of 39 entrants in the 11-and-under age category.

“It was very crazy going from shooting in a small basement to that,” said Frigon, who was the only Canadian female in the Compound Cub youth event. “It was really fun.”

In fact, February was a busy month for Frigon. After the Las Vegas event, she headed to North Dakota, where she placed first place in the under-12 division and second place in the under-15 division at the Williston 3D Spring Shoot. She then competed back in Saskatchewan a couple weeks later, winning second place at the indoor 3D provincials in North Battleford. More recently, she won a silver medal at the Canadian Regional Indoor Championships in the under-13 category, followed up by her second straight gold medal at the 2023 Canadian 3D Indoor Archery Championships in Calgary from Mar. 24-26 in the under-13 category.

“It’s really fun for me to know that not a lot of nine-year-old girls do these things and go over all over the world to shoot,” said Frigon.

At many of the events she attends, Frigon is competing against others often a few years older than her. However, when she shows off her skills, it’s clear she belongs.

“(People are) usually very surprised that I shoot and sometimes surprised because I can usually shoot higher than most like young adults,” said the member of the Frontier Bowmen archery club and one of the Saskatchewan Archery Association’s top up-and-coming archers.

“She does surprise a lot of people,” added her dad, James. “People will come up to her and say ‘you’re very cute and I’m glad you’re doing this. Do you need any help?’ And she’s like, ‘nope, I’m good.’”

“(She will) start shooting and all of a sudden they’re like ‘oh, I didn’t expect that.’”

After an impressive year in 2022, many now know what to expect from the young archer when she shows up to an event. Last year, Ember won numerous indoor and outdoor 3D target events, provincially and nationally. She also set and broke a number of provincial records in the process.

“It’s a lot more nerve-wracking for me watching her but it’s nice to be able to go to competitions with her,” said James.

Ember was first introduced to archery at two and a half years old, where it was just casual shooting. But as she kept at it, it was evident she had a knack for it. By five years old, she started entering competitions.

“It was just kind of rapid succession that was not really expected, but it was just something that was very nice to watch,” said James.

Ember will continue her progression as one of 60 kids in Frontier Bowmen’s Junior Olympic Program. And according to James, the other young archers in the program – who are very talented in their own right – along with the coaches, all have a hand in supporting each other, including Ember.

“We have a ton of great athletes coming out of our club and between them helping her out or me and the other coaches, I don’t think it would necessarily be as possible or she’d be as interesting if it wasn’t for all the other kids involved in it,” he said.

Although Ember puts pressure on herself to do well at competitions, her pure enjoyment of the sport is evident. Plus, it has turned out to be a very fun activity for a father and daughter to do together, according to both Ember and James, who has been to numerous provincial and national archery events himself.

“I really love it and like that he does it with me,” said Ember.

“I’ll keep doing this as long as she wants,” added James. “As long as she keeps enjoying it, liking it and having fun, we’ll play it out as long as she lasts.”