Great Lakes Longbow Invitational (GLLI)

August 8-11, 2019

  • $6 per adult admission to Charlton Park if staying for the day

  • $10 to camp Friday-Sunday (without electricity)

  • $20 to camp Friday-Sunday (with electricity)

  • $25 unlimited 3D shooting for non-members

  • $20 unlimited 3D shooting for members

  • Special Event shooting $5 per event

  • Adults MUST shoot longbows.

  • No rangefinders or binoculars allowed in competition.

  • All arrow types are welcome

  • Kids 15 and under shoot free (must be accompanied by an adult)

  • Camping and food vendors available

  • Boating, fishing, and swimming in beautiful Thornapple Lake


In the spring of 1983 the Michigan Longbow Association was officially formed. April marked the very first MLA sponsored shoot and the fledging organization was on its way.  Within just a few months founder and first president Ron LaClair welcomed two men to the leader ship ranks of the MLA that helped him fulfill a dream.  Jerry Brumm, and Rick Shepard then attended a competition in Alabama that was held specifically for longbow shooters. It was at this event that LaClair had won the title of World Longbow Champion several years earlier. Ron had long fostered the dream of such a shoot here in the heritage rich mitten state. Together these men knew they could do it better than the Alabama shoot. So plans were made to bring the biggest and best longbow gathering in the world to Michigan.

One night at the LaClair home during a planning session, Ron’s wife Nancy, declared that the shoot should be called the “Great Lakes Longbow Invitational”. The name stuck. This newly formed club called the MLA had sponsored several shoots at the Wilder Creek Conservation Club, in Marshall, Michigan. So when a date was vacated by another archery organization, the calendar was filled by the first time longbow event.

Plans were put into place and the promotion phase started. An ad was taken out in the Longbow Digest, flyers were made and handed out. The biggest names in traditional archery were contacted. It was a full year in the making but in July of 1985 a new era for the traditional archer was born, the first ever Great Lakes Longbow Invitational was held. It was fondly referred to as the GLLI. That first year was a resounding success. The goal was to draw 150 longbow shooters from across the nation. The actual count was over 500. The rest as they say is history.

A shoot of this magnitude had to have it’s own identification, its own symbol so in 1991 award winning author and radio personality Dan Bertalan designed the GLLI logo called “Drift Back In Time”. It featured modern longbowmen in a canoe with their refection rendering Native Americans canoeing home with a deer in the boat. Now the biggest and the best longbow shoot in the world had arguably the finest traditional archery logo of all time.

There were many growing pains over the years and lots of moves around the state of Michigan but now the GLLI has found a home. It can still be enjoyed each summer on the banks of the Thornapple River in Hastings, Michigan.  Every August in Barry County’s Charlton Park, longbowmen from around the country meet to shoot and share the longbow lifestyle. There are vendors selling everything archery for the traditional shooter. There are campfires and food. Friendly competitions, kid’s programs, raffles and 3-D target ranges.


Charlton Park’s 1880’s village is open to all visitors with folks in period dress talking about the by gone days. The Great Lakes Longbow Invitational is the grand daddy of all traditional shoots. It has the distinction of being the first gathering of it’s kind in the modern archery era.  It was then and is today a truly wonderful experience and we invite you to come and share it with us.

Event SCHEDULE FOr 2019

Events for this year are TBD. This is last year’s schedule to give you an idea of what the GLLI is about.

9:00 am Vendor area and 3D courses open
9:00am-10:00 am Youth program shooting event (Events Tent) 
11:00am-3:00 pm Youth archery area staffed
12:00-2:00 pm Turkey Shoot
2:00-4:00 pm High Meadows Event (Exhibition Hall for trolley) 
4:00-6:00 pm Turkey Shoot
5:00 pm Vendor area close
6:00 pm 3D courses close
7:00-8:00 pm Now Strike Campfire talk (Pavilion)
9:00 – 10:00 am Youth program (Events Tent) 
9:00 am Vendor area and 3D courses open
10:00 am Maid Marion (Main Event Area) 
10:00 am 1:00 pm Turkey Shoot
10:00 am 12:00 pm Kids shooting area staffed
11:00 am Sherwood Challenge (Main Event Area) 
1:00 pm 3:00 pm Jim Belcher Bow Building (Events Tent)
1:00 pm Youth Silver arrow competition Under 7 years
1:45 pm Youth Silver arrow competition 8-11 years
2:30 pm Youth Silver arrow competition 12-15 years
3:00 – 5:00 pm+ Turkey Shoot, sudden death shoot-off at 5:00
4:00 pm Adult Silver arrow (Main Event Area)
5:00 pm Vendor area close
6:00 pm 3D courses close
6:00 pm Commemorative Arrow Salute (Main Event Area)
7:00 pm Tomahawk Throwing (Pavilion) 
7:00 pm Trade Blanket (Pavilion)
8:00 am Non-Denominational church service (Village Chapel) 
9:00 am Vendor areas and 3D courses open
9:00 am 10:00am Youth program shooting event (Events Tent) 
10:00 am ‘Ol Sagamore Event (Main Event Area)
10:00 am–12:00 Youth shooting area open (After youth program)
12:00 pm Vendor and 3D Courses close (no starts after 12:00) 
1:00 pm Barn raffle (Steam Barn) 
2:00 pm GLLI concludes

Event Details


An area designated specifically for the pre-teen crowd. Adult supervised with a large variety of targets. Don’t worry if your child does not have their own equipment. We will have bows and arrows on hand for this shooting station and an experienced MLA volunteer will always be on hand to provide assistance or advice.

Kid's Silver Arrow

A friendly competition for ages 8-15. Each archer gets three arrows to land a hit in the gold ring. If by chance they do, then they advance to the next round. If they do not advance, there is always next year to try. A prize bow is awarded to the top three finishers, and everyone who shoots gets an MLA t-shirt and a prize from the kid's table!

Adult Silver Arrow


Archer's take the line! The Silver Arrow is another friendly field-archery competition similar to the Kid's Silver Arrow, but held for those 15 and older. With dozens of skilled archers in attendance, this one is a can't miss! The winner receives a commemorative arrow and bragging rights for the next year. Don't think you have what it takes? Enter anyway. It's only a few dollars and a lot of fun.


If you enjoy friendly competition and think you have what it takes to operate a longbow under pressure, this is the event for you. Gather a team and go shot-for-shot with the MLA's finest, as you fling arrows while navigating an obstacle course. It's fast, it's challenging, and it's a whole lot of fun. What else would you rather be doing on a Friday?

Old Sagamore's Turkey Shoot

Test your skill at hitting stationary clay pigeons in succession. This competition runs Friday and Saturday with a shoot off on Saturday afternoon to determine who is the best. A board with the event's top shooters is displayed with the best of the best on top for the world to see. The top shooter will receive an award arrow and all the bragging rights that come with.

The Sherwood you have what it takes?

The Sherwood Challenge

How good a longbow shooter are you? Can you save Maid Marion from the clutches of the sheriff’s henchmen? You will find out if you enter this competition. This one is straight out of the pages of your imagination and is an award arrow event!

The Maid Marion (NEW)

Robin Hood isn't the only hero of this classic tale. He had a little help from his friends - a lady in particular. Now she has a bow of her own and knows how to use it. Enter the Maid Marion. With this timeless heroine as inspiration, the ladies of the MLA have created a new shooting event. Four targets, each getting progressively more challenging, to test their skills as archers. Journey with Maid Marion as she's chased through Sherwood Forest by the Sheriff's men, captured by bandits, and, eventually, becomes Robin Hood's only chance at survival. You won't want to miss this one ladies!


A fitting tribute in the quiet stillness of the evening mist on the shores of the Thornapple River. 21 special arrows will be loosed to commemorate those loved ones who have gone on before us. Have you lost a friend or family member this past year? Sign up to be a shooter at this very solemn but very special event.

Trading blanket

Our members like to buy, sell, and trade archery related items, so we are giving them a place and time to do it this year. Should you have the urge to barter, bring your items or cash down to the pavilion on Saturday evening and find someone to swap with. Archery-related items only!

Stinking Fish

So you think you can shoot. How about your ability to drop an arrow into a target from above? Nothing to it, right? Like shooting fish in a barrel? NOT!

Tomahawk Throwing

You have seen it done on TV and in the movies. It looks easy doesn't it? All the mountain men can do it, why don’t you give it a try? Tomahawks will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own.

MLA Story Time

Come on down and and take a seat at the pavilion fire pit. The GLLI is 33 years old and everyone has at least one story to tell. From the range to the woods, hear our illustrious members share their stories and experiences, and encourage you to tell yours. You will laugh and you may cry, but you will not want to go back to camp. In fact, you better bring a blanket and snacks!

3D Target Courses

With three scenic courses to choose from, you can shoot until you can’t lift your bow. No scores and no losers, only winners. Grab your favorite longbow, a quiver full of arrows, don't be afraid to miss, and get ready to laugh. Shooting 3D targets is fun for the whole family, and I would challenge anyone to find better scenery than we have in the woods and hills of Charlton Park!


The "big red barn" and surrounding tents serves as the centerpiece for the GLLI and is loaded with vendors selling every archery-related product imaginable. You'll find it difficult to stay away and won't be leaving empty-handed. Need a bow? This is the perfect place to buy one. Not for the impulsive archer...or is it?

Disclaimer: You must pay your Charlton Park entrance fee UPON ARRIVAL to participate in these events. Charlton has been good to us and it is important that we are good to them.