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Nishu History

History of Nishu Bowmen

Archery is where it is today in North Dakota because of the efforts of many people from all walks of life – all sharing the same interest.

People like Dr. Ralph Wheeler, Mandan, ND, and some of his associates were successful in persuading the 1953 Legislature to lift the ban on the bow and arrow. Thus, making the bow and arrow legal weapons for the taking of big game in North Dakota. A group of local enthusiasts had a fourteen target course north of Bismarck in the vicinity of the old Boy Scout cabin, which was used about two years. National Field Archery Association Tournaments had been held within the state since 1950, however none could be held in Bismarck because of the range requirements set down by the N.F.A.A. More room was needed.

Mr. Jake Swenson, who lived south of Bismarck, was approached and terms of paying the taxes on a parcel of land were agreed upon. Soon a new range south of Bismarck sprang up. Wanting more than just a group of people with no direction, the idea of a club was suggested. Mr. Berk Strothman called a meeting in 1956 at the new range south of Bismarck.

The first slate of officers in this newly formed club were Mr. Fred Tiddens, President, Mr. Berk Strothman, Vice President, and Mr. John Gierman, Secretary-Treasurer. Looking for a unique name for this new organization, the recommendation of the Rev. Boechol, a Methodist minister recently from New Town, ND, was adopted – the Arikara word Nishu, meaning “straight to the mark”. The Nishu Archery Club was born. Though not the first club in North Dakota by any means, the Nishu Bowmen Club has been responsible for the growth of archery in this area and through this clubs effort, we now have the range south of Bismarck, next to the golf course.

Today the club has nearly 200 members who, through the cooperation of the City of Bismarck Parks & Recreation Department, boast an outdoor 28-target range for summer use and a permanent indoor range for winter use. Both ranges are a beehive of activity during their respective seasons as most club members participate in summer and winter league activities – as well as fun shoots, local and state tournaments, or just plain shooting for practice or fun. Regardless of the club member’s preference, target archery or bow hunting, the club sponsors and has range facilities to suit both activities.

From beginners to the old pros, the Nishu Archery Club belongs to and serves the members – and they would like you to become one of them.