If you’re an outdoorsman, or woman, Rancho Park Archery is one of Los Angeles’ hidden gems. It is a 30 meter range located halfway between downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica behind the Cheviot Hills Recreation center.
The range’s origins go back to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. It’s one of three ranges created by the Easton Sports Development Foundationin the Los Angeles area as training facilities for the USA Olympic team that would be competing in the upcoming 1984 Olympics. The other two ranges are in Woodley Park and El Dorado Park -the location of the 1983 World Archery Championships and the 1984 Olympic games.
Aside from providing facilities for existing and potential Olympic archers, the Foundation’s goal was also to promote the sport as a mainstream activity. After the Olympics, Rancho Park and the other ranges were opened to the public to give more people hands-on exposure to the sport.
To this day, the Easton Sports Foundation continues to sponsor the range and donates all of the arrows. Bear Archery, at the request of Easton, has also donated bows to the range.
Typical of Los Angeles, the Rancho Park range attracts an eclectic crowd: novices, experienced target shooters, hunters, and the occasional celebrity. Actress Geena Davis, who qualified for the Olympic trials – placing fourth – has used the range. Olympic hopeful, Kristin Braun, a contender for the 2012 Summer Olympic team, has also made use of the range’s facilities. USC, LMU, Mary Mount High School, Kyudo Archers, Le Lycée Français, SCA all shoot here.
Today a collective of volunteers run the range and carry on the Easton Foundation’s mission of exposing Southern Californian’s to the sport by coaching, assisting with classes, and maintaining the facility. They create a fun environment in which the curious can learn to shoot a bow in a matter of hours and the experienced can come and practice their sport, trade some tips, have a few laughs, and occasionally engage in some friendly competition.
Rancho Park Archery is the place to go if you’d like to try your hand at a new sport, or get back into it, in a no-pressure setting – and have a good time doing it.