State archers take aim

Bill Royce, of Aztec, N.M., aims during the American Round of the New Mexico Bowhunter’s State Tournament on Saturday at the Marshall Junior High football field. The tournament finished Sunday. (staff photo:Eric Kluth)

By David Irvin

No, you don’t shoot apples off of your opponent’s head. The object of the game is to hit the bullseye on a target, from 40, 50 and 60 yards — 30 times from each distance.

No, the competition did not take place in Sherwood Forest. The New Mexico Bowhunter’s Association and National Field Archery Association competition played out Saturday and Sunday behind Marshall Junior High School.

And no, Robin Hood didn’t win. The top shooter — in the adult, male freestyle class — was Buster Breitenbach of Farmington. He scored 1,725 of a possible 1,800 points.
Archery may not be Clovis’ best-known sport, but its supporters will tell you it’s competitive, great exercise and a lot of fun.

“I enjoy the camaraderie,” said Charlie Barnes, tournament vice president for the state’s bowhunters association. “Archery is similar to golf, in that a lot of times you are battling yourself.”

About 35 archers came from across New Mexico for the tournament in Clovis this weekend.

Good weather made the tournament successful, said Kerrie Beevers, secretary of the Clovis Bowhunter’s Association,
“I thought it went fantastic, actually,” Beevers said. “We had a way better turnout than we were expecting. The wind didn’t even blow near as much as it usually does.”

Many of the competitors were from Clovis and the region. Beevers said her organization has 50 or 60 members.
The sport is not for couch potatoes. Beevers was complaining of a sore back Sunday night, saying 180 shots from a bow can be extremely tiring.

The tournament’s highlight: It may have been when Kirtland’s Monte Bates split one arrow with another.

“We all ran over and looked at it,” Beevers said. “It’s extremely rare. I’ve been shooting for 10 years and I’ve only gotten one.”

Shooters of all ages were on hand, including six who were younger than 14, officials said.

Mathew Olguin of Farmington finished with the second best score of the weekend to Breitenbach with a score of 1,711.
Barnes said he does not recall ever seeing a pefect score of 1,800.

The next NFAA tournament is scheduled Jan. 8-9 in Farmington. The NFAA state indoor tournament will be held in Portales the first weekend in March, Beevers said.

• NFAA tournament results

Top scores from the competition by category.
• Male senior BHFS: Bill Carthel — 1649, George Bates — 1565
• Male senior FS: Ray Clark — 1652, Jim Butterbaugh — 1587
• Adult male BHFS: Monte Bates — 1664, Jamie Hipp — 1659
• Male senior FS: Robert Duke — 1599
• Adult male FS: Buster Breitenbach — 1725*, Walter Beevers — 1684
• Male senior BHFS: Lonnie Pickel — 1539
• Female senior FS: Penny Clark — 1649, Ruth Aukland — 1563
• Master senior male FS: James Lucero — 1687, Doug Aukland — 1675
• Adult female BHFS: Michelle Corella — 1357
• Female adult FS: Kay Griffith — 1659, Kerrie Beevers — 1515
• Youth male FS: Jared Massey — 1684, T.J. Wood — 1635
• Young adult FS: Mathew Olguin —1711, Mark Olguin — 1413

-FS (freestyle), -BHFS (bowhunter’s freestyle)
* high score of the tournament

Source: Compiled from data provided by Clovis Bowhunter’s Association.