The archery contest is a major recurring theme in the legends of Robin Hood.
In the earliest Ballads the archery contest appears twice in the Gest, and once in the The Potter. (For an introduction to the ballads and legend see the Legend of Robin Hood enrty) in all three of these instances the location of the contest is specified as Nottingham.
On the second occasion in the Gest, and again in The Potter the location given is the town Butts (Holt 1989).
Such contests must have been common in medieval times, with people shooting at Butts, or watching others.