We’re throwing the word Muster around a lot lately and some of you who are relatively new to Traditional Archery might be a little confused.
Its not a new word, its use in the English Language is predominately military and is most often used for a formal gathering of troops, especially for inspection, display, or exercise. It also describes the rounding up of unruly beasts, mustering the sheep, muster dogs etc.
Its use in archery is longstanding, and its meaning for TAA is a little of both of the above. You’ll often see a direction at the beginning of an event for a pre-shoot “Muster”, where instructions for the day/weekend are given.
Calling a trad shoot a Muster predates this organisation, as former president Keith Speight reflected in his “Origin of TAA’s Rules”. Where he spoke of the Australian Longbow Musters in the 1980’s and 90s.
In 2019 Keith wrote to the membership again and discussed the history of TAA and the Musters that had passed.
Over time as new archers came and went and interest from Archers drove the recording of scores, and the tallying of scores became awards and trophies. The phrase Title Shoot crept in and has been used more and more. In truth a Muster can include a "Title Shoot" but not the reverse, in the same way your sandwich can include pickles but you can't put a sandwich in a pickle (or can you?).
Late in 2022 as our organisation struggled to interest our affiliated clubs in hosting either a State or National event. After representations from clubs and interested parties over the previous months, the 2022-23 Management Committee agreed unanimously to relax the requirement for the Shoot Guidelines to be enforced at the State Muster. This enabled clubs who did not have the capability to provide an event exactly to the guidelines to participate. We also brought this initiative to the next Club Representative Meeting as required by the TAA constitution. A direct result of this was the first Tasmanian State Muster hosted by Break O’day Traditional Archery in February 2023. Followed by Far North Queensland Bowmen and then Maydaan Archers holding their first TAA Musters as modified shoots, allowing archers to experience the unique flavour of each club.
We’re now ensuring that your committee communicates changes like this better, by always having direct updates from us to you in your Newsletter Sticks and Strings. The changes above were detailed in Issue 11 this year, in the Vice Presidents “Committee News”.
As we continue to refine our processes to allow the continuity and consistency of our practices, you’ll soon see newly revised Shoot Guidelines. There's a subcommittee working on it as I type. We’ll be ensuring that nominating clubs are clear if they can or cannot provide a Shoot/Muster to the guidelines or if they’ll be modified. We’re very focused on inclusivity as well so being able to cater for the Para “Roadie” division is our hope for any club hosting a TAA event.
Ultimately folk will compete and that’s their choice, but whether you call a Shoot a Muster, a Shootout, a Gathering or Barbara, the main purpose and drive for TAA to gather is for the joy of archery, and the preservation of all that encompasses Traditional Archery, our focus on fellowship, traditional skills and novelty events that sets TAA apart.
On behalf of the TAA Executive Committee 2023