Blind archers proving no challenge is too great

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Posted at 3:32 PM, Nov 28, 2022

BROOKFIELD, Wisc. (TMJ4) — A group of blind archers are breaking barriers.

“Not only am I a blind archer, I’m a blind mother," said Jasmine Vandiver.

She's been blind for about 10 years.

“I was a victim of a very heinous crime, so that’s how I lost my sight," she said.

Vandiver is taking inspiration from archery to continue living life to the fullest.

“You know, how the arrow flows, I think that's how life should be. It should always be moving forward, not being stagnant or complacent," she said.

Vandiver is part of a group of blind archers that practices at West Town Archery in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

“I believe it gives them a chance to be competitive. It gives them a chance to do something that nobody thought they could do," instructor Lyle Maryniak said.

He came up with the idea with his friend Dan Smars in 2017. Smars approached Maryniak asking to try out archery.

“And I looked over at him and said Dan, your nickname is 'Blind Dan,'" Maryniak joked.

But then after a bit of talking, they came up with a way to make it happen. Five years later, Smars has become a big fan of archery. It's an outlet for him.

"You can’t do certain things a certain way, so now you have to find a different way to do them. That’s all it comes down to," he said.

He has a disease that slowly reduced his vision until he became blind. He didn't want to let that stop him from enjoying life.

“It’s all about choices. We have just choices in life, and you can either choose to sit there or get up and do some archery," Jasmine Vandiver said.

This story was originally reported by James Groh on