By Alec Deyong, Contributing Writer
If you ask a McKendree student what there is to do around town, you might be a bit underwhelmed at the response. There’s Cobblestone; there are the tailgates, but there isn’t much in the way of entertainment without making the haul to O’Fallon or another neighboring city off of highway 64. Now, this isn’t to take anything away from the Leb; we knew it was a small college town when we enrolled here and keeping a campus of college-aged young adults entertained is a task too great for any one city.
One establishment has cropped up to help shoulder that burden, Sure Shot IL. Sure Shot is an axe throwing and archery range located just down the road in Mascoutah. If you’re surprised to hear this, that is probably because they opened up in November of 2018, just before finals and winter break. If, for some reason, launching bladed weapons at wooden targets doesn’t pique your interest, they also have an array of archery related attractions.
Sure Shot was started by husband and wife duo Tony and Jaime Barrale. Before opening Sure Shot, Tony worked in management for a few companies, including Gander Mountain and Academy Sports, but said that he and his wife just wanted to do something different. They originally intended for Sure Shot to be an archery and firearms range but later had a change of plans. “We had some things popping up where the state’s just making gun laws tougher so we held off and had to fit something in the space,” Tony said. As you may have guessed by now, they ended up settling on axe throwing after having it suggested to them by more than one person.
Sure Shot is an eight or so minute drive straight down Route 4, held in a hangar-like building. You might drive right past it if it weren’t for the yard sign pointing patrons to the building and the large bullseye logo in the window. When I stopped by Sure Shot myself to see what they were all about, I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted first by a friendly canine and second by Tony himself. Sure Shot houses an axe throwing range, an elevated archery range, an archery simulator that lets you take down everything from 8-bit ducks to dinosaurs, and an archery tag field.
Beyond being able to test your marksmanship with an array of projectiles—from axes to batarangs—you can also bring food and drinks (including any alcoholic beverage short of hard liquor for those of age). Their archery simulator is not only the first of its kind in the country, but it is also able to be used with a crossbow or the previously mentioned batarangs. However, at an establishment that mixes axes, batarangs, and beer, somehow those aren’t even the most interesting attractions. Past the axe throwing range, next to the archery simulator, there is a field divided by white lines and marked by inflatable obstacles. It is on this field that you can pay for the privilege of actually shooting your friends with a bow and arrow. Okay, the arrow has a soft, marshmallow-like tip, but archery tag is still a wildly interesting activity. It plays out something like a combination of dodgeball, paintball, and archery. “We wanted something that people could do as far as a fun thing and there’s nothing like that around,” Tony explained. He said that they were looking for something that anyone, from kids to adults, could play and have fun with, and that it fit within their theme.
As if you needed more of a reason to check out Sure Shot, they are also looking to add a discount soon for McKendree students that present their ID. Sure Shot is an interesting attraction that provides something unique and fun for patrons across a wide age range. They are open for you to walk on in Wednesday through Sunday, with Monday and Tuesday being reserved for private events. For more information, visit their website at http://www.sureshot-il.com.