Museum of the Coastal Bend forms Atlatl-Throwing Club

March 10, 2012 at 10 p.m.
Updated March 14, 2012 at 10:15 p.m.

Atlatl-Throwing Club members Ben Hernandez and Brandon Hughes, near, use atlatls to throw hunting darts.

Atlatl-Throwing Club members Ben Hernandez and Brandon Hughes, near, use atlatls to throw hunting darts.

Atlatl enthusiasts from throughout the Coastal Bend area can now join an Atlatl-Throwing Club hosted by the Museum of the Coastal Bend at Victoria College.

It started last month, when the museum presented an atlatl-throwing demonstration on campus and offered lunch to go along with a lesson in history.

Ancient weapons authorities Cary Voss and David Noland provided the history of how atlatls were made and used, along with direction on how to throw with an atlatl.

The museum provided atlatl equipment and targets for participants to practice the archaic hunting skill.

What in the world is an atlatl?

MCB Director Sue Prudhomme said it is an ancient weapon whose use preceded the bow and arrow. It's also one of humankind's first mechanical inventions.

"Essentially an atlatl is a stick with a handle on one end and a hook that engages a light dart on the other," said Prudhomme. "The flipping motion of the atlatl propels the dart much faster and farther than it can be thrown by hand alone."

Archeological evidence indicates that the atlatl and darts were used by early people in the Texas Coastal Bend dating back to the Clovis culture - about 13,000 years ago - until as recently as 700 years ago.

Last month's gathering of atlatl fans convinced Prudhomme that an atlatl-throwing club would be a great way to bring people together and continue sharing this interactive way to connect with history.

"Local and regional atlatl-throwing clubs are actually fairly common throughout the country, along with a World Atlatl Association," said Prudhomme. "Our demonstration on campus at VC was so popular, it seemed like a great idea to start one here."

MCB's first Atlatl-Throwing Club meeting gathered its members together on a recent Saturday afternoon at VC to continue practicing their throwing skills. Charter members include grade school students along with college students and community members.

But why would anyone want to learn to use an antiquated weapon?

VC students Matt Fisher and Mindy Montez said it's a great "couples" activity for those looking to try something different.

Ben Hernandez, a student worker at the museum, said it is fun because it's easy.

Prudhomme agreed.

"People like it because they can do it," said Prudhomme. "The desire to throw a stick is human nature, and within a few tries, almost anyone can be good at it."

That includes grade-school students Michael Amolsch, Max Porter and Colt Williams who competed in a youth distance throwing trial. Max won the throw was won by Porter.

According to VC student Chris Cornish, it's more than just fun.

"I like that you can learn about history, plus get out and do something," said Cornish.



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