Taking the shot

Most 15 year old girls have a lot of things on their mind. From everything that is happening in school and getting prepped for graduation to the latest updates in their friend circles and the newest trends. Sadie Tesch, however, is not your average high school girl.

At age eight, Sadie and her dad Denny were strolling along in Cabellas and stopped alongside a booth for Pennington County 4-H. After the woman at the booth had asked Sadie if she had an interest in archery, the Teschs signed up for a test run and her passion for target shooting was ignited.

Archery is a sport that takes dedication. Although you shoot for a team, it’s an individual sport that takes a lot of focus and a competitive mindset to progress – skills that Sadie has had from the beginning.

“Her dedication is inspiring,” said Sadie’s mom Dawn. “There are some mornings before school she’ll get up and go and shoot her bow because she knows she has something to do after school. So, as I’m getting ready for work, she’s heading out ‘I’m going to go shoot; I’ll talk to you later!’”

That dedication combined with her humble heart and her drive to help others, has helped Sadie become a rising star in the sport, not only on a regional or national level, but one of the top shooters in the world.

In 2017, Sadie shot the top scores in multiple tournaments throughout the nation, earning her a spot on the USA Archery Team for 2018. At the Cadet level (based on age), this recognition shows Sadie as one of the top 5 shooters in the US under 18 years old.

On January 18, 2018, Sadie’s scores earned her a place at the World Archery Tournament in Nimes, France – shooting against sportsman in her category. After qualifying third, Sadie was declared 4th in the world cup event.

But that hasn’t been her only success in the sport. With the help of her mentor Al Kraus, owner of Black Hills Archery and Head Coach for the Black Hills Archery team, Sadie has earned a spot on the Matthews Inc. pro shooter team – the youngest team member to be signed in the history of the company who is ranked in the top five vendors for its products.

In addition to being a pro shooter, Sadie loves helping kids and was eager to start coaching others through the 4-H program. After taking classes and becoming certified, she is helping beginners ages 8-12 learn the sport she loves.

“I like helping the younger kids,” Sadie said with enthusiasm. “It reminds me when I started and the people who helped me when I started. If I didn’t have those people, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

“Sadie is our little beginner,” Al said with a smile. “She came in and wanted to shoot a bow, and we started her just like everyone else. She’s a hard worker and she’s as strong as they get. Now she’s standing on the line with me as a coach, which is pretty awesome.”

Every day is a new day, and no matter what is going on, shooting is somewhere in Sadie’s schedule. “It’s not like you have a team there that makes you shoot every day,” Sadie explains. “You have to want it more than other people do. It’s a personal decision.”

Her hard work continues to show as Sadie sweeps the scores tournament after tournament, most recently taking the title at the Arizona Cup in Phoenix against her Cadet division. And although she enjoys the energy of tournaments and the rush it can bring, Sadie says the biggest thing she’s learned along the way is simple: be humble. “There is always someone better than you – they might have just not been at the tournament.”

Wrapping up her winning week after Arizona, Sadie and her family received a letter on April 11, 2018, notifying her that she was nominated and elected into the Rapid City Sports Hall of Fame as the Independent Athlete of the Year.

Although many 15-year-olds have a lot on their plate as they navigate their teen years, Sadie is setting an example that hard work and dedication, along with a strong support system, can get you anywhere you want to go.

“We’ve put a lot on her,” said Al. And what he wants most for his All-Star shooter? Happiness. “I just want her to be happy with what she’s doing.”

With that kind of support, from her mentors, parents and friends, Sadie has no intention of slowing down.

Written by Jenna Carda
Photos by Jesse Brown Nelson

What is 4-H?

4-H is the Nation’s largest youth development organization with over six million youth enrolled nationwide. 4-H is a program of the United States Department of Agriculture and is administered through the Land Grant University in each state. In South Dakota, that is South Dakota State University. You can read more here.

Why should kids get involved?

Parents and youth should get involved to learn more about themselves and to develop leadership, citizenship, and life skills. 4-H is a volunteer organization and relies on volunteers to serve as positive role models for 4-H members by leading a 4-H club, or serving as a mentor to 4-H members. All Pennington County 4-H volunteers are background checked and receive training.

How to join

Typically, most new members join between October and December, however, youth may joining at any time throughout the year. For club and registration information, you can contact the Pennington County 4-H office at 605-394-2188.