Wellings, a native Australian who lives in Michigan, is in town again for the National Field Archery Outdoor National Championships hosted by the Darrington Archers.
"Darrington has my favorite archery range in the entire world. Everything about this place is heaven," Wellings said. "Not only is it aesthetically gorgeous, among the trees and the cool mountain air, but the course is a good one and challenging to shoot."
Wellings, 57, is one of 400 archers packing bows and arrows from around the country who have gathered here this week to participate in the competition. He's been to Darrington many times for national and world championships that the town has hosted periodically since the early 1980s.
The archery contest is a big community event, too, Darrington Archers secretary Candy Vincent said. Most of the visiting archers stay in family homes and eat home-cooked meals at the Community Center.
The community involvement was most evident in March when the Darrington Archers noticed that about $3,000 worth of supplies had been stolen from the association's office.
"People in town rallied because they knew we were getting ready for nationals," Vincent said. "Our business owners and many friends donated so that we fully recovered from the burglary. We also have Darrington people who clean and prepare the course trails and help us in so many ways."
Teko Phillips, 63, travels from Lynnwood for the archery contest.
"The scenery, the weather, the townspeople -- these are the reasons I love the outdoor championships in Darrington," Phillips said. "And I am so glad to see that we have 40 kids participating in the contest this year. We need to keep this going in the next generation."
Wellings competes in the senior professional group.
"I may be older, but I shoot just as well and look a hell of a lot better than the young pups," he said with a laugh. "But mostly I'm here for camaraderie and just to keep shooting."
One archery range on the course, at 300 Sauk Ave., is good for spectators, Phillips said. More information about the championships is available at darringtonarchers.com or by calling Vincent at 425-760-9024.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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