Editor’s Note: Georgianna Braden of Houston, Texas, is a petite, pixie like lady. If you saw her on the street or in the courtroom, you’d never consider her as one of the top female archers. She is not only a tournament archer, but also an avid bowhunter and an advocate for women’s archery. Georgianna, who’s been shooting a bow for 7 years, and her husband Michael are both members of the PSE Pro Staff.
Outdoorsmen are seeing a tremendous increase in the number of women who are shooting tournament archery and hunting with their bows. When PSE wondered why, Georgianna Braden said, “I think many women are now beginning to understand that you don’t have to be super strong or highly competitive to shoot tournament archery. You make a lot of friends in the sport, and I’ve noticed since the time I started shooting archery 7 years ago, that everyone was very friendly and welcomed me into the sport. I also noticed that at first there were only a few women coming to the sport of archery to be with their husbands or boyfriends, but I have seen a real change. Today a growing number of women are shooting bows just because they like the sport. At a field tournament for the National Field Archery Association (NFAA), you’ll often have 200 lady shooters or more. In 3D archery, like ASA or IBO, you’ll also have several hundred women competing in different divisions.
“The vast majority of women who shoot archery do become interested in hunting and actually pursue bowhunting. They all find that bowhunting is a great complement to tournament archery. I believe the reason that more women aren’t involved in archery is that they have no knowledge of it, and they never have had an opportunity to shoot a bow. I guess I’m a classic example. I went on a vacation one summer to a nice resort, which was much like a Club Med. This resort had a wide variety of activities in which its guests could participate – like boating, tennis and archery. I’d never shot archery before, so I tried it and was amazed at how well I could shoot. I almost seemed to have magnetic arrows – I couldn’t miss. So, I spent the whole weekend shooting a bow. I couldn’t believe I could do it, and I really couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed it. As soon as I got back home, I looked up the address of a local archery shop. I went down to the shop and bought my very first bow and arrows. Six weeks later I entered my first local competition. That’s where I met Michael Braden, who later become my coach, and still later became my husband.”
One of the elements of archery that hooked Braden was that she didn’t have to be really strong to shoot the bow. The second most important factor was that she was successful in a short time. Because of the new designs and developments that have been made in bows, most women who come into the sport are amazed at how fast they can learn to shoot accurately. But, the real deciding factor that caused Georgianna Braden to dive into archery wholeheartedly was that she discovered she was good at it, and that she could improve and get better. “I have friends who run marathons, but I don’t have a desire to do that,” Braden explains. “I have friends who can exercise and lift a lot of weights, but I can’t do that. However, I do have the ability to pull my bow back, release the arrow and be competitive in archery. I’ve discovered that shooting a bow is an awful lot of fun.”
While Georgianna was having fun with competitive archery, she was also moving up in her ranking. She won first place in the NFAA Indoor Nationals, first place in the NFAA Outdoor National Field Championship twice, first place in the NFAA Marked 3D National Championship and won an ASA championship in the Known 40 division. So, in 7 years, Georgianna Braden has gone from being a woman on vacation with no experience with a bow, to winning national championships. “What I have noticed not only for myself but with other ladies who come into the sport of archery is that the sport almost becomes an addiction, because it’s so much fun, and you can make so many new friends. You want to practice and go to tournaments – both to visit with your friends and to compete. When people are having a good time and enjoying a sport, there’s a natural desire to do more of it. Also, I found a great coach (grin) who helped me improve my scores and talked me into competing in national tournaments. I learned that a lady could do more things and accomplish more in the sport of archery than she ever may have imagined.”