Archery Becomes a Lifelong Winning Passion for 16-Year-Old Grady Kane

Sometimes, we never know what’s going to grab us for the rest of our lives until we get a little nudge in the right direction.

For Grady Kane, that nudge from being an archery spectator to a committed, trophy-winning athlete came from his grandfather.

“I was wanted to shoot a bow from watching bow hunting on TV,” Grady recalled. “Then my grandfather showed me videos on USA Archery of a pro shooting, and it looked like it was fun and cool. That got me involved in target archery.” 

As is often the case of youth participation in the hunting and shooting sports, an organization helps participants find their own path to success. With Grady, Explore Archery, which is operated by USA Archery, supplied the necessary resources.

Grady Kane

Explore Archery is an education program dedicated to introducing beginners of all ages and abilities to archery. The focus is on building fundamental skills and a competitive edge and not necessarily athletic ability or perfect scores. USA Archery, meanwhile, is a driving force in coach certification and athlete safety to promote strong athlete participation, competition and training.

Grady received his first bow in 2019 for Christmas, during the COVID epidemic. Even at 12 years old, he committed himself to making the best of the isolation mandates of the time and spent time practicing at home. It all paid off. He was entering tournaments and competing and winning against some college-age competitors.

As Grady’s father Mike put it: “It was an eye-opener for us that this was something real.”  

Looking back, Grady recounted that “the deal was that if I got a bow I would have to find someone to teach me to shoot archery.” No one in his family shoot bows, so he found USA Archery and JOAD, which is shorthand for the US Junior Olympic Archery Development program. Also operating under USA Archery, JOAD teaches participants ages eight through 20 range safety and shooting skills, while also developing club administrators and instructors.

Grady competing in the USA Archery Team Buckeye Classic where he placed second in his category.

Grady competing in the USA Archery Team Buckeye Classic where he placed second in his category.

Still, the Madison, South Dakota native said “I really started shooting archery in the summer of 2020. When you join JOAD you compete in the tournaments. I was receiving lessons from the local coaches in JOAD and they introduced me to tournaments and I started getting better and better. My scores would improve, and I would start going up in the ranks.”

A milestone for Grady was winning his first national championship in the summer of 2021. 

“That was in Decatur, Alabama at the JOAD nationals to decide the best shooter in the nation,” he explained.

As of February 2023, he shoots the Precision Shooting Equipment Dominator Duo compound bow. Before that he used a Hoyt Invicta bow. “Hoyt changed the model and the PSE bow was a better fit for my style of shooting,” he explained.

Grady gears up for major competitions by shooting about 300 arrows per day for three to four-to-five hours per day. Otherwise, his normal practice routine covers two-to-three hours per day on a 20-yard range in his basement or a local outdoor range.

Grady will tell you that archery has dramatically improved his focus, drive and determination. “It helped me with time management” he said, for example when it comes to balancing practice and competitions with school.

Grady happy with his performance.

Grady happy with his performance.

Mike saw how his son has become “extremely driven. Archery game him a path or direction to channel it into. He’s 16 now. As a parent we noticed he gained specific goals. He took the initiative of becoming the driver of getting himself involved in it today.”

Grady’s success can be partially attributed to his father. Mike grew up hunting in Montana. He became involved in precision rifle shooting. Grady’s older brother Hayden was also drawn to the long-range sport.

“When the pandemic hit, it put the brakes on our rifle shooting,” Mike said.

Regardless, Mike was able to teach Grady “the mental side of things, how to focus, how to manage difficult situations and build a process that goes from there. Shooting a bow and a rifle are not the same thing, but the mental process of how you break trigger are the same. You have to have the ability to put the competition out of your mind and focus on where you need to be at that moment.”

Now that the Kanes are into 2024, they’ve been logging thousands of miles driving to tournaments across the U.S., and even flying to Pennsylvania and Las Vegas to compete.

“The majority of the travel that Grady has is long weekends,” Mike said.” My wife and myself alternate travel with him around work. I get five weeks of vacation per year, but it’s definitely a balancing act. It’s not a cheap sport to participate in.”

Grady, along with his family, have realized that the competitions, camaraderie and travel have helped him navigate the passage from boyhood to manhood. 

Grady competing at the Lancaster Archery Classic, where he placed fourth.

Grady competing at the Lancaster Archery Classic, where he placed fourth.

“Grady played football and baseball,” Mike said. “The archery, it was a change in the travel and competitions, it was something we had to wrap our heads around. He went from just being a kid to being competitive nationally. It was a big change for us from a family standpoint. We had a young man, we had to decide how much to support him. Now he has an opportunity for college scholarships.”

Grady made the 2023 USA Archery Team in the category of compound bow under the age of 18. July 2023 saw Grady fly to Ireland member of Team USA at the World Archery Competition. His team won two gold and a bronze medals in the compound bow under 18 individual, mixed team and team events. That year, Grady also scored a gold medal in the compound bow under 21 category and the USA Archery Field Nationals.

Grady’s success has attracted several sponsors, including PSE Bows, Gas Bowstrings and TRU Ball/AXCEL Archery and Easton Archery.

“Archery showed me that there’s a path in life to something I can do forever,” Grady said. “There are some people who have made archery their living and that’s his goal. I’ve become a young man now instead of a young boy dreaming about becoming a professional archer, and now I’m living the dream.”

Irwin Greenstein is the Publisher of Young Awesome Hunter and Shotgun Life, the first online magazine dedicated to the best in wing and clays shooting at

Helpful resources:

The web site for USA Archery

The US Junior Olympic Archery Development Program web site

The web site for the Explore Archery Program


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