- First memory of shooting a bow was at 4-H Conservation Camp
- After a home burglary, her dad bought Joella an Indian compound bow, history was in the making
- Today, Joella Bates is an 11-time 3-D Archery World Champion and teaches young people archery skills
By David Gray
If you follow competitive archery, Joella Bates is a name that stands out. Among Joella’s many accomplishments, she is an 11-time 3-D Archery World Champion. Even more impressive is that she won five of the championships using a Compound Bow, five with a Recurve Bow and one with a Long Bow.
Add to her individual accomplishments being a team member on Team USA’s 2017 World Archery 3-D championship win.
For all who meet Joella, it only takes 30 seconds to become infected with her enthusiasm and energy for helping youngsters learn archery.
As a kid she grew up in the outdoors. Her Dad was an outdoor guy. Joella says, “I was my Dad’s shadow.” When he went to the woods or the lake he took me and introduced me to wonderful world of hunting, fishing and shooting.
The shooting however was not with a bow. It was always with a rifle. Using what Dad had taught her and her considerable competitive spirit, she developed an exceptional skill with the rifle. In college at the University of Tennessee, she soon found herself on the college rifle team.
Still, archery was not part of her life. Her first memory of shooting a bow was at a 4-H Conservation Camp event when she was in the ninth grade. At the camp, the 4-H kids could shoot at the rifle range and the instructor let them compete for snacks. When Joella kept winning all the snacks the instructor finally said, “Why don’t you go try archery.” That’s when the magic started to happen.
Her first memory shooting a bow was not good. She only remembers the string hitting her arm and it hurt. Determined to figure out how to shoot a bow and wanting to win a trip to a 4-H Round Up event, Joella asked her Dad to help. He brought out his old compound for practice and she only remembers losing seven of his arrows.
While in college the family firearms where lost in a home burglary. Her guns were gone, but Dad knew she wanted to figure out how to shoot a bow, so he bought Joella a used Indian compound.
The bow did not fit, but she practiced. The draw length was too long and Joella remembers, “I ended up black, blue and purple all over.”
In 1989 after college, working with Tennessee Wildlife Research, a coworker offered, “I have a friend who owns a bow shop and he can set up one to fit you. If you learn to shoot it I will take you bowhunting.” At 28 years of age, Joella got her first bow properly set up with instruction on how to shoot it.
Her skills learned from rifle hunting helped. After much practice, she was invited to go bowhunting.
Joella says, “That was another giant learning experience. I had a world record case of Buck Fever and missed my first five deer. Later that first season, I did harvest my first bowhunting deer.”
In 2001, Joella began traveling, hunting, fishing, writing and speaking about the sports. “I was not getting rich, but I was paying the bills and making many friends.”
She received invitations to hunt around the world.
Joella is the first lady hunter to take the “Big 5 of Africa” bowhunting and the first lady to arrow the “Turkey Grand Slam.”
A love for teaching archery and especially helping young people to get started the right way, lead to the start of JoCamps. This is an archery instruction school that travels to the community the students live in which saves travel time and expenses for the students and parents.
JoCamps include the National Training System used to prepare archers for the Olympics and International competition.
At the recent MONASP (Missouri National Archery in Schools Championship), Joella…while tutoring young shooters, reunited with Brooke Hultz and Trevor Funcannon, former JoCamp participants.
Trevor said, “Joella actually teaches you how to be a better shot, her methods are very effective.”
Brooke said, “The JoCamp method is different and really works.”
Joella Bates can shoot, but to share and teach archery is what she loves the most.
If you have a youngster or archery team interested in a JoCamps archery
training event contact firstname.lastname@example.org.