Women in Archery: How They Got into Archery & What It Means to Be an Archer

We interviewed 5 female archers Jennifer Brooks, Lea Steward, Samantha McCann, Contessa Loh, & Angela Nester to gain some insight on how they got into shooting and what makes them want to keep doing it. Each of their stories describes a newfound love that continues to grow for the community, competition, and opportunities that come with being an archer. (Pictured - Olivia Dean, left, & Alexis Ruiz, right)

We asked 3 questions... 

How did you get into archery? What does it mean to you? What gear do you use and why?  

and got Elite answers. 

Jennifer Brooks 

My husband Nathan got me into archery when we were dating. I attended a local tournament with him and thought I would really like shooting. So, for Christmas that year, he got me my first bow. I hit the ground running after that point and have absolutely loved shooting from that moment on!

Archery means so much to me. I have made many friends in the years that I have been shooting, and now they have become my family. The archery community as a whole is filled with great people and I enjoy staying in touch with them on and off the range.  I love the level of competition at tournaments as well as the hunting aspect of archery. There’s nothing like making a good shot whether it be on paper, a 3D target, or an animal. 
I am currently shooting the Elite Envision for 3D and hunting, this bow has a shorter ATA which fits me very well as I am a shorter draw length. I have the CBE Elevate sight and shoot the Scott Hex release. Currently, I am shooting Gold Tip Pro 700 arrows and Vortex Optics provides me with binoculars.  

Lea Steward

I went to the Alabama Deer and Turkey Expo with my father when I was a child. We were able to watch the Buckmasters Tournament while we were there, I thought it looked like fun and asked for a bow for my 6th birthday. I practiced in the yard and shot my first local tournament the next year. I then was able to shoot my first national tournament when I was nine years old. Fast forward several years and I now shoot on the professional level. Last year, I was able to shoot on the USA 3D world team in the international competition! 
Archery means everything to me. It’s a sport that all ages can do individually. I have been fortunate to make friends all over the country and get to travel to different places to compete and hunt. Recently, I was able to represent the USA on a world team. It was a great experience getting to meet archers representing so many different countries. Also, getting to walk in the parade of countries waving the American flag and hearing others chant, “USA!”, was an experience like no other. If it wasn’t for archery, I wouldn’t get to have these experiences.

The gear I am using for the 2023 3D and USA archery tournament season is the Elite Omnia, I also plan to use this bow hunting this fall. I chose the Elite omnia for several reasons. The S.E.T technology make this bow tunable to my style of shooting. Whether I am preparing/ tuning different arrow setups for different styles of tournaments or shooting my Slick Trick Broadheads for hunting, I know I will be able to get my equipment tuned and setup with just a small move of a screw. I can also tune my setup with S.E.T technology in the field without a bow press. Also, with the Elite Omnia I can get the speed that I need shooting archery tournaments. With my 24.5” draw, this is something that I have struggled with in the past. The micro adjustments on the Elite bows make it easy to get an individualized setup up with holding weight, draw cycle, etc. For tournaments I am shooting the performance mods but for hunting I will transition to smooth mods to fit my hunting style. 


Samantha McCann

For me, archery began about 13 years ago as a way to spend time in the woods with my husband. Later, we started shooting local 3D ranges to spend time with our friends. In 2013 we attended our first national ASA, where I competed in the Women’s Hunter class with my Elite Energy 35. After that tournament, I had built confidence and I was hooked to shooting. My first full season I won out and made the jump to Women’s Open B then A. The winning continued, and faster than I thought possible, as I had won my way out to the Women’s Pro class by 2018. After overcoming many obstacles, I was able to make a shoot down last year in the Women’s Pro class!

Archery has always been a way to create bonds and share experiences with friends and family. From the time I started shooting, I wanted nothing more to be a fierce competitor. Until the moment I had my little girl, Gracie, that was my primary focus but now I want to share archery experiences with her. She is 5 years old and a few months ago she said, “Mommy, I want to shoot like you!” Of course, she got a bow. Since then I have been blessed to share many special moments with her. There is nothing like seeing the excitement in her eyes when she hit the target for the first time. At the end of the day, I still want to be the best I can be but she has taught me to appreciate the small victories as well. 

Archery has always been about spending time with my friends and family. The archery community has been welcoming and very helpful. I am grateful for the bonds that I have developed over the years and want to spend my time helping other archers on their path to success whether that be on the range or in the woods.  

While having the TOG brands in my hands I am confident and feel at home. Many women and younger archers are looking for the perfect bow. For me, Elite has been the bow that fits all. I can use the same bow to hunt and shoot tournaments. This year I am shooting the Omnia because I can gain speed without sacrificing the smooth and solid Elite feel. I also shoot a CBE VTX Scope on my CBE sight bar. It is a very dependable combination that has worked for me for many years. Shooting has not always been a smooth ride for me the last couple of years. About two years ago I found myself battling target panic. With the help of the Scott Ascent, I have been able to overcome this battle. No matter what kind of pressure I have been in, whether it was putting my pin on a deer in the woods or on the black panther at 50 yards in the shoot down...I have been able to rely on my equipment to perform flawlessly. 


Contessa Loh

I first tried archery in 2004 when my dad signed us up for a beginner's class. He had been shooting guns and thought that archery would be a good complement for us in Singapore. What we both didn’t expect was for me to win my first-ever competition just shortly after the class.

Initially, archery was just something for me to spend more time with my family. But overtime, it became much more than that. I have seen the pride and inspiration my shooting has brought to my countrymen and flag, as well as the shared pains and disappointments when I fail. Since then, I have come to realize that archery is more than just wins and losses, it is a sense of community and belonging that I am very grateful for. 
My choice set-up is the Elite ReZult, with Winner’s Choice Strings and a Scott Ascent. When I am on the line, I need something that is reliable, sturdy, and powerful to help me get the job done. These three are just that for me. In fact, I just finished the World Indoor Series with 3 straight PBs, so I know they work. Plus the colors make me happy, so why not? 

Angela Nester 

I got into archery around 25 years ago back in high school. My husband (boyfriend at the time) and his family were big into shooting archery for hunting and at competitions. He decided to be brave and let me try to shoot his Mountaineer Ranger. I was hooked from then on. Got myself a little target and took his bow home with me. I would shoot about every evening. 

It means so much to me that in 2019 my husband and I opened up our own Archery shop (Nesters Archery Shop). It is always fun having competition between husband/wife and friends whether it is indoor or outdoor. I enjoy being able to be outside and enjoy a sport with a great bunch of archers. 

I shoot Elite bows - I say bows because I have a Verdict (ASA/Indoor), Era (IBO), Ritual 33 (indoor) and Valor (hunting). I absolutely love the tune ability of these new elites. To be able to adjust multiple things on these bows without evening needing a bow press is just amazing. Stabilizers I shoot CBE Torx Spyders due to how small and stiff they are. I can tune my holding and aiming well with these. 



Archery means taking on a new lifelong skill that will bring so much opportunity into one’s life. This Mother's Day, give her the gift of ELITE – the opportunity to be part of something truly rewarding.