On a sweltering Saturday evening, the Citrus Archery Club held its annual Club Day and Bob Jones Memorial Event. Named in honor of the club’s late president, all proceeds went to the Citrus Archery Scholarship Fund, and the competition consisted of two rounds. The first of these was a novelty round of archery battleship ranging from 10 to 25 yards. This saw archers firing at specific spots on a grid which were arranged much in the same way as ships in a traditional game of battleship. The second event was a modified 600 round that increased the distance to between 30 and 40 yards. The contest, which was open to adults and youths, saw competitors of all ages turn out for the weekend tournament. Club President Dave Ireland had hoped to see as many as 25 archers drawing their bowstrings, but unforeseen call-outs and vacations dwindled the number of attendees to nine.
While there were two events, there were four contests within these tournaments: one for archery battleship and three in the modified 600 category. The divisions in the 600 include adult freestyle, adult barebow, and youth. Below are the results of the weekend’s festivities:
Champion – Pat Herbert
Runner-up – James Holmes
Third Place – Marianna Carroll
Honorable Mention – Bekum Papa
Adult Freestyle First Place – Dave Ireland
Adult Freestyle Second Place – Pat Herbert
Adult Freestyle Third Place – James Holmes
Adult Barebow First Place – Elly Parker
Youth First Place – Nikolai Kalenchenkow
Youth Second Place Michael Goetschius
The Sun had the opportunity to talk with the competitors on Saturday and pick their brains on what led them to pick up a bow. Answers varied, but some, such as Patrick Herbert, have been in the sport casually or competitively for over 40 years. For Herbert, who emerged victorious in two categories at the tournament, it was the added level of difficulty that led him to archery.
“Started out with guns. You can get pretty good with a gun. Archery is a lot tougher. So, it is a little more of a challenge,” Herbert said. “A lot more physical, a lot more adjustments you got to deal with. See, there’s traditional archery, then there is compound archery. Compound… there is a lot of adjustments in that. Traditional is just a bow and string, so it’s a lot easier.”
James Holmes, a 57-year-old former professional water skier, also started with firearms before switching to bows. He then made the switch as a cost-saving measure before turning the hobby into a family activity that does not require an overwhelming amount of physicality.
“I like shooting, and, honestly, bullets got seriously expensive,” Holmes said. “Also, it is something you can do at home. It is quiet. So, I got my stepson into it, my wife into it, we were all doing it as a family, and then they basically petered out. I did too. Then, I just picked it up again like six months ago and said good hobby, exercise, you are outdoors… This, it doesn’t kill you. The bows all come in different draw widths, so there is no reason to get one that would kill you.”
Elly Parker, a schoolteacher at Christian Life Academy in Brooksville, was introduced to archery at a young age. An accident sidelined the hobby for years until Ireland reintroduced her to the sport after he began teaching at the same private school. While club President Ireland is always trying to teach children the joys of archery, he also managed to rekindle the spark in Parker as well.
“I did it when I was a youth for a long time. Got into a bad car accident, had to have neck surgery. So, I picked it up a year ago,” Parker said. “I’ve always been interested in it. My dad used to take us camping. So it was me, my brother, my sister. It was a family thing… My husband shoots, my kids shoot, my grandkids. So, it is very much a whole family thing.”
In addition to organizing the event, Ireland also took part in Saturday’s competition. The club president took first in the adult freestyle thanks to his experience as an Olympic-level archer with nearly 50 years of experience. As a child growing up in the ghetto and having almost nothing to his name, he decided “to pick up a bow one day and started shooting it.” He continued to practice and looked for more competitions, and Ireland eventually rose through the ranks to compete as an alternate in the 1972 Olympics.
The next event the Citrus Archery Club will be holding will be the Club Championship on August 18th. “It was a warm but fair event weatherwise,” Ireland said. “Our heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who came out in support of our Bob Jones Memorial Youth Scholarship Fundraiser!”