Once more hand and arm draw back, once more the basilisk eye locks onto its target 20 yards distant, once more the twang, the whir, and the thump.
Luke Giannoulas looks, nods, draws another arrow. Each arrow he sets flying hits its target dead center at 175-to-180 feet per second.
Three weeks ago, Giannoulas and his father, Ted, opened at 2703 Auburn Way N., something highly prized by the local bow-and arrow set – a 22-lane, 20-yard, indoor archery range, with an honest-to-goodness roof, bright lighting, and one bodacious giant heater.
“Look, we’re in the Northwest,” Luke said. “It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s rainy and windy come January, February, right? No one wants to fight that, so we’re like, ‘Let’s offer something warm. Let’s offer a roof over your head, and a giant heater. Let’s keep everyone warm and happy so we can keep shooting throughout the rest of the year.’ It’s a blast.”
Indeed, Orion Indoor Archery Range, named for the famed archer in Greek mythology, is one of the only indoor archery ranges in these parts, a welcome complement to big, outdoor, 100-yard flat ranges like Skookum in Puyallup or to ranges in Enumclaw and Mountlake Terrace.
Mindi English, who brings her compound bow and gear all the way from her Tacoma home to hone her skills, comes close to gushing about Orion.
“As an archer, it’s awesome having an indoor range. There’s really nothing like it in the area,” said English, who got interested in the sport when she went target hunting with friends.
“Archery is big,” Luke said. “Maybe five or 10 years ago, it was more of a cult following, meaning if you knew archery or you knew somebody who was into archery, then you’d get into it, too. But in the past five years or so, more people have been getting into it. Then, especially with the ‘Hunger Games’ movies that came out and the Marvel movies with Hawkeye in them, people started saying, ‘Wow, that’s neat.’ ”
At 4 p.m. Monday and 6 p.m. Wednesdays, father and son, certified instructors and former competitive archers, offer lessons to new archers, to kids, and, well, to folks who just want to get better. Wednesdays are also team-training days.
“I’d like to think we know something about what we are doing and talking about. As long as you can stand on your own two feet, or sit in a chair on your own, we can work with you,” Luke said.
“Don’t even think you can’t do it,” Ted said. “If there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Luke, a Federal Way native, said it was son who got dad into the sport, not the other way around.
“I started with the YMCA when I was 6 or 7 years old, and with Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, and then I eventually found a club and joined up, and I started loving it more and more,” Luke said. “I really got into it by reading books like ‘Lord of the Rings,’ and fantasy books where you had the big, hot-shot archers. I got really into it, and eventually dad got into it. What else was he going to do, just sit there and watch me for three hours? Next thing I know, he starts getting competitive, and I wake up one morning and he’s better than I am, and I’m like, ‘Hey, wait a second, what’s going on here?’ ”
Orion rents and sells basic, entry-level, three -piece, take-down re-curves, which break down into three small pieces – two arms and a centerpiece – for ease of transportation.
“They are typical of what you’ll find in most modern re-curve bows made, but they are Olympic-style like those used in big world tournaments,” Luke said. “We just have entry-level bows because we’re kind of looking to introduce people to the joy of archery and stuff in a dry place where people can come and enjoy the sport we love throughout winter, when outdoor places are too cold and wet.”
Customers who so desire may order equipment from Orion, Luke said.
There is a $10 door fee for adults and a $5 fee for youth 10 and under who bring in their own gear. That fee, however, does not cover the cost of rentals or instruction. Rent for those without their own gear is $15 for adults and $10 for youth, and that rental fee covers everything a body needs to shoot: three arrows, an arm guard and a finger guard.
Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., every day of the week except Tuesday, when the shop is closed.
“The closing time is not really a hard-set number for any of those days. If we’ve got a group of people here at 7:45 or 8 p.m., we’re not going to say, ‘OK, time to go, everybody out.’ We’re going to let everybody enjoy themselves,” Luke said.
Find Orion Indoor Archery Range on Facebook.