The Diablo Bowmen was started in the spring of 1954 through a newspaper advertisement placed by a group who were interested in bow hunting and who had discovered, through a copy of Archery Magazine, that their new-found interest could be an organized club activity The first meeting resulted in about twenty male members and a determination to find a place to install a range. After about two months of searching, the City of Martinez came to the rescue with eight acres of city park land, and the first 28 target range was on is way to reality.
The next five years were packed with fun, but the members discovered that an archery club does not run itself nor can it be self-sufficient. The club had out grown the original location. In the fall of 1960, an opportunity arose to lease 32 acres of property and a small frame house on the slopes of Mt. Diablo. This opportunity required that the club triple the existing dues structure; and their first serious club difference of opinion was underway.
After a great deal of arm waving and shouting, the “Yes” votes outnumbered the “No” votes and the club launched on with the second range-building venture, with dissenters working as hard as the rest. This development turned out to be one of the most rewarding. In a short time the club found themselves with a clubhouse, complete with a cook-shack, running water, toilets, television, and a stock of food and beverages, and all of it available to the club members.
The club made a 42 target range. The pride of the members was justified when a short time later, the facilities were awarded one of the first NFAA Five-Star ratings in the nation and a feature story ran in the June 1963 issue of Archery Magazine. In the summer of 1965 the roof fell in on the original club members and they were all notified that a portion of the leased land had been sold and that they had to vacate all the hard work they put in.
In September of 1965 the members found themselves with no place to hang their bows. On March 3, 1966 the club’s board of directors: Dave Jensen — president, Chuck Hunter– vice president, Bill Huckaby — director, Darryl Marshall — secretary and Harold Swanson — director, were all present when Diablo Bowmen wrote a check for $ 20,000.00, which launched the club on a new course. The check was a down payment for the purchase of 82 acres of land on the east side of Mt. Diablo, which they believed to be ideally suited for building an archery range.
The members felt that the problems involved in making such a large purchase would be insurmountable, and they would have been were it not for the ingenuity and willingness to donate time and talent on the part of the members.
A right-of-way into the land had to be negotiated with adjoining property owners. Surveys had to be made and arrangements for construction of a new access road. Certainly not least, a sum exceeding $ 24,000.00 had to be raised to make a down payment, hire legal help and handle contingencies. None of the members was without mental reservations regarding the feasibility of such a large project.
It was amazing the way the details and problems were taken care of. One of the members did the surveying with the help of many of the members, at no cost to the club. The necessary money was raised entirely from within the ranks of the membership; no one member contributing any excessively large amount (a real tribute to organized archery). On March 11, 1966 the club officially received the title to the land. A contract was made to have the needed road constructed, and this work started immediately.
(Information from this story was provided by an article written by the club’s secretary of 1966, Darryl Marshal. The article appeared in Archery Magazine’s April 1966 issue.)