Emily Bee could have hardly expected to be shooting arrows for the United States’ national team based on her first experience at an archery competition — as a spectator at one of her little brother’s competitions. “My brother is about a year younger than me and was in (an archery competition) at the Livingston Conservation and Sports Association,” said the 18-year-old Hartland High senior. She watched him compete, again and again. “I was forced to go,” Emily Bee said. “I had to sit and watch, and after about a year, I decided I want to try it.” But what started out as something to do to pass the time is now more than a hobby for Emily, who’s traveling to Nimes, France, to compete in the Indoor World Championships in February.
The Bees have all practiced archery from a young age on the family’s 10-acre property in Howell, Mich. “We’d shoot around the house a little bit,” she said. Emily’s brother, Chris Bee, also stayed with the sport, and now is an accomplished archer in his own right. Both compete at an elite level as members of the Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) and the National Archery in Schools Program (NASP). Her achievements in just the last three years form an impressive list — she finished third in the 2012 JOAD Indoor Championships; third at the 2012 National Indoor Championships; second at the 2012 National Field Archery Association (NFAA) Vegas Shoot; first at the 2011 National Indoor Championships; and second at the 2011 NASP World Championships.
She seems to have fallen in love with the competition aspect of the sport completely, listing several aspects that she enjoys. “I enjoy meeting different archers all around the country,” Emily Bee said. “I love the competing part of it.” Even the tense moments of competition, which others might shy away from, are embraced by Bee, which is something she’s picked up from experience. “It’s so much fun with the pressure and being able to shoot with different people all the time,” she said. While the competition might be her favorite aspect, there are a few other cool perks about being among the best in the country at her sport, she said. One of those perks might be unique to archery, she said — the opportunity to shoot alongside those in the sport she looks up to. “Not many people who play basketball get to play with professional basketball players,” she said, describing a competition she took part in against Erika Jones, a 25-year-old former world No. 1 archer.
Emily Bee isn’t quite sure where’s she’s going to school next year, yet, but she’d like to be a Spartan next year at Michigan State, in part because of their archery program. But she knows wherever she ends up, her success will be in her hands, and that’s exactly how the focused archer seems to like things. “That’s another thing I really like about (archery),” Emily Bee said. “You don’t have to rely on anyone else, whatever you put into it, you get out of it.