Mick McJunkin tends to be the best archer wherever he goes, and Minot is no different.
McJunkin, who is set to become the new owner of Dreamland Homes, 6201 U.S. Highway 2 and 52 Bypass W., moved to the Magic City in July this past year and brought his passion for archery and the outdoors with him.
Spending his youth in Idaho and Oregon, McJunkin fell in love with archery at an age when most children still haven't started school.
Dan Feldner/MDN •
Mick McJunkin takes aim at a target 20 yards away at the Souris Valley Bowmen Club’s outdoor archery range June 15. The pole attached to his bow is used for stabilization during a shot. McJunkin moved to Minot last year from Maryland, where he was a state archery champion.
"My first memories of archery, I had an uncle that came to my grandpa's house when I was four or five years old, and he had a recurve (bow). And at that time Errol Flynn had just done the movie 'Robin Hood,' or at least the first time I had saw it, and he had that bow and I just absolutely fell in love with it," McJunkin said. "So from that point forward there wasn't a maple sapling and a piece of string that was safe because I was making bows."
He got his first store-bought bow when he was around 6, shot a couple years in 4-H and won the Oregon state championship when he was 8. Things just kind of snowballed from there.
"Of course I grew up in the country so I learned to bow hunt, and I love the bow hunting part," he said. "I've shot deer and elk and pheasants and quail with a bow."
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It was McJunkin's goal to continually improve his bow hunting skills, and target shooting actually honed his bow hunting skills.
After graduating high school in Oregon, McJunkin did a stint in the Army before getting into the underground utility industry and moving to Maryland. Up to that point he had never seriously tested the waters of competitive archery, but that all changed when he found Maryland is as crazy about archery as Texas is about football.
"I joined an archery club and actually just from shooting all my life I was pretty much better than everyone else there. So they encouraged me to shoot some tournaments and I started going to tournaments," McJunkin said. "And I'd shot little tournaments here and there throughout my life but never got to the point where, 'OK, I can really do this and I can turn pro,' and I have not turned pro quite yet."
With his club's encouragement, he shot more and more competitive tournaments for the next several years, culminating with winning the Maryland state, regional and sectional championships in 1989. Two years ago he also placed 10th in the nationals in Yankton, S.D.
One of his proudest accomplishment's included taking first place in a sport shoot in Harrisburg, Pa., that included over 2,500 shooters,
"So in between I've shot hundreds of local archery tournaments and have won my share," he said. "I don't always win my shoots that I go to, but I try to represent archery real well."
McJunkin moved to Minot because of the souring national economy. He had been in Minneapolis in the manufactured housing industry when that market tanked.
"I came over here on a marketing trip with an installation company, basically setting up manufactured homes, and the opportunity to buy a local business popped up," he said.
At the time of his June 15 interview with The Minot Daily News, McJunkin had not officially closed the deal to buy Dreamland Homes, but was set to do so very soon.
To further pursue his archery passion, McJunkin plans to turn pro within the next year or so. He has a sponsorship with Precision Shooting Equipment out of Tucson, Ariz., and also has a local sponsorship with Archer's Elite Pro Shop in Minot.
This would of course mean he would travel around the country participating in elite archery tournaments. Although he is quite skilled, McJunkin has no delusions about quitting his day job to become a full-time archer. He likes the life he is making in Minot and wants to stay here for a good long while.
"I travel around the country now for amateur tournaments, but I would be going to the same tournaments, just entering into the pro class," he said. "So really I'll be donating money to other people for a while, but you go with the expectations of winning."
After settling in Minot, McJunkin wasted no time finding some local groups to share his passions with. He is a member of the Bremer Outdoors Team, and did an archery demonstration at the group's recent Project Habitat event that allowed area children to build bird feeders and participate in many other outdoor activities in the Maysa Arena parking lot, including archery.
During a demonstration inside Bremer Bank at one of the outdoors team's meetings, he actually shot and shattered a Life Saver at 20 yards, proving all those tournament victories weren't flukes.
He is also a member of the Souris Valley Bowmen Club, and said it is one of the nicest archery clubs he has ever been a part of.
Although he has not yet participated, McJunkin said he would like to help instruct young archers at the club's Youth Archery Program, which takes place Sundays at 7 p.m. The event is free to attend, and the club provides instruction, all archery equipment and targets as well as food for the children. The program is open to children ages 4 to 18.
The program is held every Sunday rain or shine thanks to the club's new indoor shooting range.
The club is located three miles west of Minot and a half-mile southwest of the Trestle Valley railroad trestle between Minot and Burlington, just off Ward County Road 12 at the top of the hill.
He is also excited to attend the club's upcoming first-ever Youth Day Aug. 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is completely youth-oriented and will have booths, a 3D animal target shoot for children and a pro archer from Bismarck who be doing a demonstration.
After getting a taste of working with kids at Project Habitat at the invitation of Brent Mattson, president of Bremer Bank in Minot and a member of the outdoors team, McJunkin can't wait for the next opportunity to share his passion with the next generation of archers.
"I just love going to shoot and help those kids. I'll bet 100 kids went through and shot a few arrows that day (at Project Habitat)," McJunkin said. "People like Brent are the future of our industry and our sport, because he encourages the kids really to get out there and do it. I'm all for helping that."