Fierce competitors on the field and often with each other, these four real-life archery couples prove archery and romance go together like, well, bows and arrows.
Erika Anear and Martin Damsbo, Aarhus, Denmark
Status: Dating three years
Archery: Erika is a compound archer for Australia and Martin is a compound archer for Denmark.
The couple met at the first leg of the World Cup in the Dominican Republic while trying to help the same friend. Martin was helping the friend drown his sorrows in beer after a rough day of shooting, and Erika was helping by swapping his beer for Coke because he had an interview at 10 a.m. the next day.
“Our relationship wouldn’t exist without archery,” Erika said. “Our first dates were all international: Shanghai, Vegas, Turkey. So it all sounds romantic, but when we’d turn around and see our entire team sitting at the next table waving at us, it wasn’t always as romantic as planned. Most days we train together, which makes training better, especially on days we don’t want to train, like when it’s freezing cold or the shots just aren’t landing.”
The couple shares common goals, common frustrations with archery, and a huge pool of mutual friends from before they started dating. They also share a love of roller coasters and “crappy action movies.” Plus, Erika likes to cook and Martin likes to eat.
“I moved from Tasmania, Australia, to Aarhus, Denmark, this year,” Erika said. “We decided on the cross-continental move early last year, but then discovered I had to fly to Sydney to apply for a Danish green card, and then wait for up to two years for an answer. Now I’m attending Danish classes three days a week and getting reasonably competent baking knækbrød, jordbærkage and lagekage. Learning to bake Danish food is a lot easier than learning to say the words.”
Christie and Terry Colin, York, Pennsylvania
Status: Married 11 years
Archery: Both are high-ranking compound archers.
The couple met in 2001 while working at an archery shop in Maine. Before dating, they tuned bows and shot together in leagues and national archery tournaments for two years. Now parents to two young sons, they juggle work and parenting, and find that archery is still one of their favorite activities.
“It is far more enjoyable to date and marry someone who shares such passion and understanding for archery,” Christie said. “I practice while my sons are in school, and Terry practices after work. We support each other’s interests and still make time to shoot tournaments together whenever we can. We’ve also made some of the greatest friends through archery. Sharing friends and interests is really cool.”
The Colins – both accomplished compound archers – also like bowhunting. Terry makes bowstrings in his free time, and hunts as much as possible in the fall. Christie also loves to hunt but usually heads to the woods only a few times a year.
“Hunting is fun because I’m very competitive and hunting puts the competitiveness aside and lets us just enjoy something together without competing,” Christie said.
Maddy Brown and John Whalen, Booneville, Indiana
Status: Dating three years
Archery: 3-D and archery for University of the Cumberlands
The couple started shooting archery together when they began dating. After John helped Maddy start bowhunting and harvest her first whitetail, she picked up 3-D archery. Now they’re both on the archery team at University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky.
“In my first archery tournament, my score was higher than John’s,” Maddy said. “At first he wasn’t happy, but then he was OK with it. He’s a better archer than me, but I’m pretty competitive. He’s better just for the time being.”
“Archery is a bond we have, and we get to travel all over the place for archery,” John said. “We challenge each other whenever we can. Today she’s trying to shoot 6 points up on the course because I shot 6 points up. Nine times out of 10, she can beat me, but it just depends on the day. She’s a good shot.”
Linda Ochoa, Guadalajara, Mexico, and Steve Anderson, Salt Lake City, Utah
Archery: Linda is a compound archer for Mexico and Steve is a compound archer for the USA.
Steve and Linda met at the World Games – the Olympics for compound archers – in Cali, Colombia. Because they each live in their home country, the couple doesn’t practice together often. Instead, they place bets with each other during their daily practice rounds to help stay motivated.
“Dating a fellow archer is perfect,” Linda said. “We have a great understanding of how we feel when we win or when we lose, so we know how to feel good for each other or help each other during tournaments. The best part is that we can compete in the same tournaments, sharing the special moments in archery.”
Steve works for Hoyt. Both shoot Hoyt bows, Easton arrows and Axcel sights. Aside from archery, they enjoy the outdoors, and watching sports and movies. Another shared interest is made possible by archery.
“Archery allows us to compete around the world together,” Linda said. “It’s our way of seeing the world while we’re young. Everybody wants to see the world, and we get to do it together while also competing and working toward our competitive goals.”
From their first meeting at a tournament to their engagement, archery has played a major role in the couple’s relationship.
“Our engagement day was incredible,” Linda said. “We were in San Diego for the SoCal Showdown in June 2013. When the tournament was over, we dressed up for a fancy dinner and went to the beach to walk and watch the sunset. After a perfect talk, Steve proposed right there on the beach.”