Moffat County 4-H archers shoot for state, potential return to nationals
Two dozen Moffat County 4-H archery competitors took to the fields of the Wyman Museum Saturday, July 20, with their sights set on qualifying for state.
“Shooting (a bow and arrow) is as hard as you make it,” 4-H coach Shawn Polly said.
Polly’s wife and fellow archery coach, Sarah, said the sport is just like anything else requiring dedication — “Practice makes perfect.”
“I know that’s what you hear with every sport,” she said. “It also gave them a sense of camaraderie. They made a lot of friends and not just here.”
Children ages 8 to 18 aimed at paper and 3-D targets positioned at distances of 40, 30, 20 and 10 yards.
Leading up to the competition, the 4-H team met twice a week to practice at the grounds of the Wyman Museum.
Among those advancing to compete at the state competition in Colorado City near Pueblo are the junior unlimited compound bow group of Caitlyn Adams, Kaeden Martinez, Brook Wheeler, Abbie Blackwell, and CJ Berkey; the junior limited team of Kaison Martinez, Logan Duncan, and Talus Folks;
the senior unlimited group Ty Blackwell, Alexander Nichols, Blake Duncan, Christopher Hill, Kimber Wheeler, and Tiffany Hill; Alyssa Duncan and Haley Boatman in senior limited; and Brandon Madsen in the recurve.
Katie Wheeler looked on while her two daughters, Brook and Kimber, competed Saturday. Wheeler said both of her daughters got into archery at the behest of their father.
“It was something fun he could do with them,” she said.
“The Hunger Games” may have also had something to do with their initial interest in the hobby, she joked.
Kimber’s performance at state last year got her to the next level, competing in late June at the 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships in Grand Island, Nebraska.
Ty Blackwell also hit nationals as part of an 11th-place Colorado group, while Kimber was part of the recurve team that took seventh.
Shooting with the traditional bow, her highest individual ranking earned her second place in the field category.
She noted that the field event was the first part of the competition and her strongest.
“I kind of just went into it as, ‘just another competition, and I might get beat, but I might as well try,'” she said. “I got stuck with a really good group of kids who were super-helpful and super-nice, and that made a difference getting that higher score that day.”
She noted that she shoots Olympic-style recurve, and though it may be tough, representing her nation at the greatest level would be an honor.
“It’s a dream that I wish I could get to, but it’s a very far-off dream,” she said.
Though she won’t be able to compete in recurve nationally again per contest rules, she’s already looking forward to being at state in the compound event.
“I started with my compound, and I really like that because it’s more competitive, but it won’t be easy, since I’ve gotten used to different styles and my form going back forth,” she said. “It’ll be challenging, but it’ll be a good experience.”