Museum of the Coastal Bend forms Atlatl-Throwing Club

Atlatl-Throwing Club members Ben Hernandez and Brandon Hughes (near) use atlatls to throw hunting darts.

Atlatl enthusiasts from throughout the Coastal Bend area now have the opportunity to join an Atlatl-Throwing Club hosted by the Museum of the Coastal Bend at Victoria College.

It all started last month, when the museum presented an atlatl-throwing demonstration on campus and offered lunch to go along with a lesson in history.

Ancient weapons authorities Cary Voss and David Noland were on hand to provide the history of how atlatls were made and used, along with direction on how to throw with an atlatl. The museum provided atlatl equipment and targets for participants to practice the archaic hunting skill.

What in the world is an atlatl?

According to MCB Director Sue Prudhomme, it’s an ancient weapon whose use preceded the bow and arrow. It’s also one of humankind’s first mechanical inventions.

“Essentially an atlatl is a stick with a handle on one end and a hook that engages a light dart on the other,” said Prudhomme. “The flipping motion of the atlatl propels the dart much faster and farther than it can be thrown by hand alone.”

Archeological evidence indicates that the atlatl and darts were used by early people in the Texas Coastal Bend dating back to the Clovis culture—approximately 13,000 years ago—until as recently as 700 years ago.

Last month’s gathering of atlatl fans convinced Prudhomme that an atlatl-throwing club would be a great way to bring people together and continue sharing this interactive way to connect with history.

“Local and regional atlatl-throwing clubs are actually fairly common throughout the country, along with a World Atlatl Association,” said Prudhomme. “Our demonstration on campus at VC was so popular, it seemed like a great idea to start one here.”

MCB’s first Atlatl-Throwing Club meeting gathered its members together on a recent Saturday afternoon at VC to continue practicing their throwing skills. Charter members include grade school students along with college students and community members.

But why would anyone want to learn to use an antiquated weapon?

According to VC students Matt Fisher and Mindy Montez, it’s a great “couples” activity for those looking to try something different.

Ben Hernandez, a student worker at the museum, thinks it’s fun because it’s easy. Prudhomme agrees.

“People like it because they can do it,” said Prudhomme. “The desire to throw a stick is human nature and within a few tries almost anyone can be good at it.”

That includes grade-school students Michael Amolsch, Max Porter and Cody Williams who competed in a youth distance throwing trial that was won by Porter.

But according to VC student Chris Cornish, it’s more than just fun.

“I like that you can learn about history, plus get out and do something,” said Cornish.

Membership in the Atlatl-Throwing Club is free and open to the public. Children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who is 18 or older. Please contact the Museum of the Coastal Bend at 361-582-2511 for more information.

The Museum of the Coastal Bend is located on campus at Victoria College on the corner of East Red River and Ben Jordan. Regular admission to the museum is $3.50 for adults, $2.50 for senior citizens and $2.00 for student’s ages 4 years through 8th grade. Admission is free for museum members, faculty, staff and students of Victoria College and the University of Houston - Victoria, and for children under 4 years of age.


Atlatl-throwing demonstration dates:

Friday, Mar. 23, 3:30–4:30 p.m. at Riverside Park (Grover’s Bend) in conjunction with MCB’s Spanish Colonial Hiking Tour

Sunday, April 22, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. at Jungle Jubilee Earth Day Celebration at The Texas Zoo, Riverside Park

Saturday, May 12, 3–4 p.m. at Bayside Community Center in Bayside for the Bayside Historical Society

Saturday, May 19, 5–6 p.m. at Riverside Park (Grover’s Bend) in conjunction with Spanish Colonial Living History program & MCB hiking tour


posted on Thursday, March 8, 2012 by Katy Long



VC student Chris Cornish likes learning history while enjoying a beautiful day.

Youth members Max Porter, Michael Amolsch and Cody Williams see who can throw the farthest.

Matt Fisher demonstrates good throwing technique.

Atlatl authority David Noland demonstrates how to straighten cane for use as an atlatl dart.
Published: Thursday, 08 March 2012

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