Grand Junction, CO—“Holding off the wolves” was not in his vocabulary before, but it became apparent the moment he stepped on the line to shoot his first round of competition at the 33rd annual Big Sky Archery Open in Grand Junction, CO June 15, 2013. It was a definitive moment in time for Jeremy Terhune, from the small town of Rozet, Wyoming. Terhune had the feeling this weekend definitely belonged to him.
The scenario wasn’t the same as when Bill Rucker showed up at the Big Sky Open in 1977 and won the championship. Rucker was in a class of his own; no one knew who he was. No one knew where he was from. No one had ever heard of Bill Rucker before and the pros just kept saying, “Who is this guy?” Consequently, Rucker was labeled the Dark Horse from that time forward.
Jeremy Terhune (who shoots a German made bow) has been competing in the Big Sky Open since 2006 and always in the Mens FreeStyle Championship Division. Archers know him as the dude who won three Idaho Open’s (one was a shoot-off with Reo Wilde), the Iowa Pro/Am (2012), and was in the shoot-off at Las Vegas this year. Of course, these were all indoor events. Outdoors shooting is not Jeremy’s forte as he doesn’t care to mix with the elements and is quoted as saying, “If I didn’t have to ever shoot outdoors, I wouldn’t. I like shooting indoors.“ Indoors. No wind and just one site setting.
The Big Sky Open has three events. Friday evening, the GoForIt” clay pigeon round. Saturday and Sunday, regular competition with staggered yardages on the V-Formation multi-colored targets. Saturday afternoon is the “Big Sky Shoot-Down” competition with archers trying to break clay pigeons. It’s a “last man standing” type of fun. Stationary, of course. All three are have guaranteed purses.
Following tradition, the Big Sky Open began on Friday with the “GoForIt” clay pigeon round about 5:30 in the evening. This is a two-arrow event (one if you hit the clay) designed to give archers the chance to loosen up, check out their competitors and site-in for the regular round. This event is also for those who want to only shoot the clay pigeons. With registration for the Big Sky up, the GoForIt doubled from last year. It isn’t a timed event, but a fun event and if you can break a pigeon, or two, or maybe all, then you could be in the money.
Jeremiah McConnell/CO won first in the Mens Championship, with a score of 48 over Ray Tenbrook/CO and Robert Gregg/NE. Ira Houseweart/CO won the Mens first Flights with a score of 50; Flight #2 was Tracy McConnell/CO; Flight #3 was Jeff Lindsay; Flight #4 was Mike Kiser/CO. In the Womens Flights first was Francis Seneca/UT.
A ten-arrow salute goes out to Ira Houseweart who was the only one to accomplish a perfect score and is the newest member of the “50 Club”. A very shaky Houseweart was simply stunned that he was now on the roster with some pretty impressive target archers who shot perfect in past BSO GoForIt events. In fact, since 2000, there are only 16 who have managed to do this. Dave Cousins holds the most with three and Becky Pearson is the only woman to shoot a perfect. Besides the perfect score, Ira fulfilled his weekend in archery by shooting a Robin Hood. This particular accomplishment can drive the news media into a frenzy and Houseweart was on cloud nine.
Another short story about this event comes from Coby Hudson, a Cub who wanted to experience shooting the clay pigeons. On the line with the big boys (even though he turned in a score of 11) Coby pinwheeled the 65-yard clay pigeon with one shot. That’s a long way to nail an inkspot for such a little guy and everyone gave Coby a well-deserved display of congratulations!
Saturday morning dawned with a full spray of sunshine on those who woke early trying to squeeze in whatever practice they could before the competition was underway. The colored targets could hardly wait for the archers to start pounding the heck out of them.
Okay, it’s an outdoor tournament and what would an outdoor tournament be if a little bit of the elements were not involved! For Terhune, who won’t shoot in the wind at home, says his temperament can’t handle it. So after checking it out, he decided the stir in the air was a “breeze and found he could live with it after all. (There is a standing invitation for anyone to go to Wyoming and experience what wind is really like and how constant it blows.) So, Saturday morning started out to be a little breezy. Terhune’s nearest competitor, Steve Anderson of Utah, practices in the wind all the time and his confidence appeared to have an edge over Jeremy. As the day wound down however, Logan Wilde/UT, Richard Potter/MO, and Henry Bass/UT trailed the former two, respectively in score.
Competing again in the Womens Championship Division was last year’s winner, Seneca Francis/UT who kept pace ahead of Anne Geist and Misty Young, both of Colorado.
This year, the NFAA recognized seniors by dividing them into classes that defined their way of competing. Long-time bowmen, who have spent most of their lives in the sport of archery, now have a way to compete fairly in tournaments. They are classified by age and no longer have to compete with way younger archers to prove themselves. Thus, when the NFAA announced a Senior, Silver Senior, and Master Senior divisions, the Big Sky Open (a NFAA Sanctioned tournament) complied by recognizing the divisions as well. The Big Sky Open attracts a good number of senior archers and their registrations are appreciated. While many of us find it hard to get old, we are determined to not let age get the best of us, so we do what we do and cling to the art of shooting archery competively and now, fairly.
The younger Men Seniors (the largest section) was lead by Tony Harbaugh/ID on Saturday shooting a 573 over his closest competitor and mentor, Dee Wilde. Dee has won this division five times and while he respects Tony and is good friends with him, he found it hard to bring his score past Tony’s to keep his title and win the guaranteed purse.
Silver Senior Don Borg/UT was having a grand time keeping ahead of Bob Shipman and Johnny Walker of Colorado. Walker was simply having fun and kept most of the archers cracking up with his style of talking and antidotes. Walker’s apparent philosophy? Stay relaxed, have fun and you just might shoot well. Johnny Walker – now there is an unforgettable name and we’ll leave it at that!
In the Master Senior Division, Bill Rucker and Carl Speakman tied the first day with Bob Jacobsen/UT with only four points behind. Dark Horse Rucker was way over-due for a win. Jacobsen is a past-winner of the Vegas Open.
In the Womens Senior division, returning archer Marie Hulbert, via Australia and now Arizona, was keeping LeAnn Thompson and Jeanne Swaeby at bay while she racked up a score of 523 on the first day.
In other Championship divisions, Richard Luconagioli/CO was leading the Barebow archers; Daniel Nunn/CO kept ahead of his competition in the Bowhunter FS.
Another event, sponsored by American Whitetail, Inc; Kiser Trucking and Total Bow Performance, is the “Shoot-Down” on Saturday afternoon where archers try their best to stay in the competition by breaking all the clay pigeons they can from ten-yards to however far the last man/woman is standing. Three divisions determine who the expert of the day may be: Championship Men, Women and Mens Flights.
Up first were the Women and out of nine who wanted to see how far they could advance, Lindsay Argyle/ID made it to 45 yards and placed first in the money. In the Mens Flights, a laughing Jason Wardrip missed his first 10-yard pigeon and was automatically eliminated. Walking away to the sidelines, Wardrip was heard to say through his laughter, “And I waited all this time just to do this?” Wardrip, the good sport he is, lingered at the sidelines cheering on the other competitors as they advanced in the heat of the day. From five lines of competitors, Kurt Geist/CO was last one out on the 50-yard line to win the money in that division. Last, but not least, the Championship Men lined up at the 10-yard line to try their luck. One by one, the archers dropped away except for Dillon Sether, who kept his cool up to the 55-yard line and was declared winner of the largest purse awarded in the Shoot-Down. Thanks so much to the sponsors for this event.
Saturday is full day of shooting for archers. The regular competition begins at 8:30 a.m. and lasts until about 2 p.m. The Shoot-Down begins approximately an hour after the regular competition is completed and lasts for another two hours giving archers plenty of time to relax and plan an evening with others. By the time I get back to my room from working on the Big Sky, it is dark. One last look at the range before I enter my room at the DoubleTree Hotel, I am able to take in the activity below and this time, I was intrigued to see a pretty lady in a long summer dress, practicing in the dark while her husband shined a the light from his cell phone on the 20-yard target she was aiming at. I ran to find one of my staff and said, “Come quick, you have to see this!” It wasn’t the fact she was practicing. It was the attire she was practicing in. Quodos, Kelly Kinsel! It wasn’t sporty, it was classy!
The final day of shooting is never looked forward to when you’re having such a great time, but there it was, Sunday and the end was getting ever so nearer.
Terhune, determined, but not exactly sure of himself, thought he may have blown the win on Sunday. A couple of mistakes can drop you to the bottom of the pile, but he pulled through and the champion of a couple indoor shoots, added the Big Sky Open to his list and his first outdoor title.
Henry Bass, sponsored by Mathews and a perfect competitor, kept inching his way to the top and overcame Wilde and Anderson to take second position, three-points under Terhune. Bass is a solid shooter. Last year, before the Big Sky Open, he had his equipment stolen and then this year, a limb broke on his bow. Henry rebounded and for the second straight year, came in second place through sheer determination and practiced marksmanship.
In the Womens Championship Division, Brenda Wilde, determined to make her mark on the Big Sky Open, overtook Young and Geist for second place. Most of the upsets in the tournament were for second position. Those in first, stayed in first! Not so in the Flights as many of those in first place changed hands further down and shot their best scores the second day.
- Mens Flight Winners: #1-Drew Hortman/UT; #2-Kolby Brewer/UT; #3-Tyler Tenbrook/CO; #4-Paul Penrod/MO; #5-Kerry Baird/ID.
- Womens Flight Winners: #1-Regina Marani/UT.
- Amateur Winners: MFS Inter Logan Downey/CO; FFS Inter-Kaylee Geist/CO; MFS Jr-Max DeMarco/CO; FFS Jr-Dani McCurdy/CO; MFSL Jr-Tanner Butler/CO; FFSL Jr-Deidre Thornton/CO; MFS Cub-Coby Hudson/CO.
Mathews, PSE and Easton offered contingency money. While the former two did not have any winners, Easton did and gave a total of $600 to those who represented them well.
Again, it is an honor to thank our Sponsors of the Big Sky Open: Mathews, Inc; Gordon Glass; Jake’s Archery; Specialty Archery LLC; Gold Tip; B-Stinger; Easton; Carter Enterprises; BCY; Sportsmans Warehouse; American Whitetail, Inc; Kiser Trucking; Total Bow Performance; and US Archer Magazine. To those who donated door prizes, a big thank you! Without the help of these fine Manufacturers and businesses, the Big Sky Open could not be!
Also thank you to all the help we received putting on the Big Sky Open, from staff to referees to sign makers, to all who shot and competed – you are all appreciated. A special thank you to all who mentioned they enjoyed the tournament and the way it is run. This too, is appreciated. The Big Sky Open is a tournament for archers, by archers! We hope many, many of you will return next year, June 13, 14, 15, 2014. Have a great year in shooting and enjoying archery!
For list of results, go to www.bigskyarcheryopen.com.