Two-Time World Champion Archer Opens Store in Monterey
I recently learned that the sport of archery is pretty popular in the Allegheny Highlands, both for hunting and competition. An archery store opened this past summer in Monterey, Virginia and I tracked down Keith Trail, the owner, to find out what prompted him to start this business. What’s the name of your store, Keith, and where’s it located?
We’re Southeastern Archery. We’re located at 216 West Main Street here in Monterey, Virginia.
You and I were talking earlier and you’ve got an interesting story as to how this business came about.
It started back at the beginning of this year. Now, I shoot professional archery and I needed a place to practice and I reached out to a couple local residents, Ronnie and Tammy Ralston, and they helped me find this building. As it started to progress, I started thinking about what I could do for the community and I felt that I could do my part and, at the same time, I would still have a facility and a place for myself to be able to practice.
Is there a lot of interest in this area?
Yes, there’s a lot of interest in both tournament and bow hunting. Just about all of your competitive archers started by bow hunting. So that’s how they transition from bow hunting. And during the offseason, when they’re not bow hunting, competitive archery is completely wide open from December to August. There’s tournaments all over the United States, all over the world. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t have hunters here. We have a lot of hunters. I’ve had a lot of hunters come in, I’ve worked on their bows, set up equipment, got them out the door. Just the other morning, I get a message at 3:30 am about “Hey, is there any chance that I could get some arrows; season is opening in two hours?” So, of course, I come in and I cut the gentleman’s arrows, get them squared away and send them out the door and you know, I made him happy.
You’re open 24/7 pretty much, aren’t you?
Yes, sir. And that’s what I’ve tried to let the public know. Yes, we do have hours three days a week – nine to two, but I would rather support the community. I mean, I love helping people. That’s what life is all about. I would rather people know that they can reach out to me by text message, phone call, email, whatever, social media, and let me know that they have an issue and that I’m open 24 hours, seven days a week and I’ll come in and I’ll make sure that the customers are taken care of.
So Keith, I understand you compete professionally. How long have you been doing that?
Since 1995. So that would be 24 years.
And, I understand when you turned 50, you advanced to the senior division. Is that what they call it?
Yes, I advanced to the senior division two years ago. And since that time, I am the back-to-back indoor world champion.
You told me when we were talking that nobody had ever shot a perfect score. A perfect score is 900. You were the first one to accomplish that in the world championships.
That happened this year in Vegas, and it was pretty spectacular.
What plans do you have in the future?
My biggest goal is to help people and to help the sport of archery, the sport of hunting grow. I want to get the kids involved. When you get a young kid out of school that comes in and gets into archery for the first time and actually finds out what their personal capabilities are behind a bow, behind a rifle, whatever the case may be, it’s unforgettable. So my plans are, I want to be able to reach out to the community and get some kids involved. Let’s get them in there. Let’s have an introduction session. It’s not going to cost the parents a dime. Let’s just schedule a time. If I can get enough kids involved, then maybe I can locate a facility here in Highland County to where I can start teaching kids and start learning, start teaching them about archery and how to get into it and give them something to do.
You were also telling me earlier that once you get the kids involved, the wives have a tendency to follow.
And then once they follow there seems to be some empathy, some understanding in the family and everybody’s free to pursue this past time.
Yes, sir. No doubt. You get the kids and the wives involved in it. If the husbands are already involved, it does take pressure off of the husband wanting to shoot or wanting to hunt because then thy the wives actually get an understanding of what you’re doing and what it means to hit a bull’s eye 50 yards or 20 yards out or kill that animal that you’re aiming at in the most ethical way that you can. So that’s what it’s all about.
We’re going to invite Keith into the studio again to talk about his back-to-back wins in the last two archery world championships. In the meantime, Keith will be busy at Southeastern Archery getting bow hunters ready for a successful season. This is Mickey Frank Thomas for Allegheny Mountain Radio.