Archery shoot remembers an outdoorsman, raises funds
It has been a year and a half since Tanner Simonis died in an all-terrain vehicle accident, and some days it feels like yesterday, his family said.
But being able to hold a memorial in his name to raise money for other children who are as enthusiastic about life and learning as he was keeps the 12-year-old boy alive.
The second annual Tanner Simonis Memorial Archery Shoot will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, at Blackhawk Archers Range on County Road Z, Custer.
“Tanner was a big, avid outdoorsman – I couldn’t keep him inside,” said Jeremy Simonis, Tanner’s dad.
“We wanted to do something archery-related or fishing-related, and we belong to the club and the shooting league starts in January so we thought it would be a good way to kick off the year, having a memorial tournament for him,” he said.
There are three divisions for the 3D shoot: Adults, which cost $15; crossbow, which cost $15; and juniors 15 and under, which cost $5. There also will be raffle drawings and the big “Tanner’s Raffle.” Raffle tickets are $5 each or three for $10. This year, there also is a band, PM MIX, that will entertain from 7 to 11 p.m.; cover charge for the band is $5.
There are 28 3D targets and areas of the range set up for younger archers. The goal is to keep the tournament fun rather than competitive, Simonis said, and those interested do not have to come both days or stay the entire tournament time. They can “just show up and shoot,” he said.
Proceeds from “Tanner’s Raffle” go toward scholarships and other assistance for Sacred Heart School of Polonia, where Tanner was a sixth-grader when he died.
“It’s where the kids went, and they were really helpful with the loss of Tanner,” Jeremy Simonis said.
“We run into people who don’t want to go to Sacred Heart just because they can’t afford it so we want to help,” said Elizabeth Simonis, Tanner’s mom. “It’s a good way to give back. We’d like it to be bigger and better every year, but the whole point is to give what we can.”
About $4,000 was raised last year, which went to field trips and scholarships for students to attend the school. Sacred Heart checks with the Simonis family for approval prior to spending the funds.
This year, the band was added to bring more fun and extend the festivities. Prizes include a Parker Eagle Bow from Top Gun Archery, a Yellow Jacket Target from Bucks and Bulls Archery, Big and J attractant and a hand-made deer quilt from Cindy Kosmalski. Nearly 20 companies and individuals are sponsoring the event.
It was June 15, 2015, and Tanner and his sister Emily, now 13, were riding an ATV along a flat, dry stretch they had covered many times before without incident when the ATV rolled over. Tanner, who was driving, was killed, and Emily was injured and flown to Marshfield where she received treatment and eventually was released back to her family.
An ensuing investigation yielded no answers, Jeremy and Elizabeth Simonis said, and that remains a difficult point to process.
The pain remains fresh, seen in the couple’s eyes and their posture when reliving the memory of the crash. “Every day, you never forget the little guy,” Jeremy said.
Any mention of Tanner, however, and smiles grow, some sparkle shines in their eyes and even a bit of laughter comes forth.
It can’t be helped when thinking of the rambunctious boy, they said.
“He used to sit on the picnic table and cast for hours,” Jeremy recalled. “We had a black lab that loved to fetch, so one day he (Tanner) said, ‘You have to come out,’ and sure enough,” Jeremy chuckled. The lure Tanner practiced casting caught – the dog.
The family, who also includes a brother, Casey, now 15, still is actively involved in the outdoors – Emily is involved with the archery league and Casey is a member of the archery club at Stevens Point Area Senior High School – so having the memorial at the club and continuing a family activity that each Simonis enjoys helps some, said Elizabeth Simonis.
For more information, contact Jeremy Simonis at [email protected].