An archery club in northern Alberta is shooting for a world record.
Lac La Biche will be the first Canadian host of the World Archery Field Championships in September 2024.
The president of the local archery club, Rene Schaub, says he wanted “to do something special” for the thousands of people who are expected to travel for the competition.
“If you knew me, it would be easy to understand. I’m always thinking of something that we could do that’s outside the box,” he told CTV News Edmonton during a Thursday interview.
“We have one of the nicest archery facilities in North America and I figured: ‘What would be neater than to have a couple of world records sitting beside it?”
Alberta is already home to nine of the world’s largest somethings: a trifecta of Ukrainian tributes – 2,700-kilogram pyrogy sculpture in Glendon, a 12.8-metres tall kobasa (sausage) in Mundare, and Vegreville’s pysanka that is more than five metres wide – as well as a 12.8-metre tall lamp in Donalda; a pair of the Alberta-native Tricholoma ustale mushrooms in Vilna that stand six metres high; Drumheller’s monstrous 26-metre tall dinosaur; Lacombe’s 12.8-metre long fishing lure and hook; a one-tonne mallard duck in the village of Andrew; and a 12-metre-tall golf tee that towers over Trochu.
“Alberta has a bunch of different places that have some pretty cool items … So when Rene approached us and said, ‘Hey, I want to do the world’s largest arrow,’ we were like, ‘Absolutely. Let’s put it on the map and see what it does,'” recalled Jamie Sturges.
‘IT STICKS OUT’
Sturges runs Savailin Enterprises, a welding and fabrication shop in Lac La Biche.
Normally, his workers are busy with maintenance and repair work for the energy and forestry industries, but over seven days earlier this year, a team of four stitched together a 24-metre long arrow for Schaub.
From end to end – from point to nock, including the fletching – it measures 80 feet and 1 ⅜ inches exactly.
A 24-metre-long arrow, believed to be the world’s largest by its builders, can be found outside the Lac La Biche Archery Building in northern Alberta.
“Trying to keep everything straight was a big [challenge],” Sturges said. “Just because it is over 80 feet long and it is made out of 6061 T aluminium – so it is not flimsy, but it’s just like a regular arrow. Just on a way larger scale.”
He estimated it weighs as much as 450 kilograms and told CTV News Edmonton it is perfectly proportional.
“When it was sitting in the shop, it was definitely a large piece. But once we got it out to location, the size of it beside the building definitely was overwhelming. When you see it beside a building that’s over 100 feet long, it stands out.
“It sticks out.”
A 24-metre-long arrow, built by Savailin Enterprises in Lac La Biche for the local archery club, hangs off the ends of a 20-metre trailer in this undated photo. The arrow was built by Savailin Enterprises in Lac La Biche, Alta., at the request of Rene Schaub, the president of the local archery club.
Of seeing the arrow be hauled to the archery club finally, Schaub said, “It was one of those dreams come true.
“They brought it there with a 65-foot trailer and it overhung on both sides. So it was just out of this world.”
Schaub’s research suggests a 15-metre arrow exists in Russia, so to the best of his knowledge, Lac La Biche’s arrow is the largest on the planet – even if Guinness World Records won’t yet recognize it.
“They’re telling us to classify it as a real arrow, it has to be shot by a bow,” Schaub said Tuesday with a smile.
Guinness told CTV News Edmonton it is currently monitoring for the “largest bow and arrow,” for which there is no current titleholder.
“To achieve this record-title, the record-holder must be a minimum six metres to qualify. For record titles like this one, these are only monitored when the item will be immediately recognizable and can be used in a similar manner as the normal-sized item,” Guinness spokesperson Kylie Galloway said in a statement.
Schaub and his partners could consider having it recognized as a sculpture, like Glendon’s pyrogy or Vilna’s mushrooms.
And as impossible as shooting his gargantuan arrow seems, Schaub says he is contemplating it.
“The bow could be next. I’m not going to say no. I never say no.”
Sturges is game: “I was like, ‘OK, so now we’re building a bow, I guess.'”
The achievement is still sweet for Schaub, partially because of the team effort it was. A former archery student in the Savailin shop led the build. Savailin donated the time for the arrow’s construction. A local automotive shop donated the aluminium pipe that formed the arrow’s shaft. Even the paint was donated.
A Savailin Enterprises worker stands in front of the fletching of a 24-metre-long arrow, believed to be the world’s largest, built in Lac La Biche ahead of the 2024 World Archery Field Championships.
“That’s what our community does the best here. That’s why, as a small community, we can put on a world event,” Schaub said.
The 2024 World Archery Field Championships will run Sept. 16 to 22.
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Amanda Anderson
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