Archery is a sport where the competition is against you and a target, except when your brother is competing right next to you. Then, it becomes a sibling rivalry.
Forty teen archers, including Mason County brothers Ben and Isaac Snider, competed for top scores in the Illinois 4-H State Archery Shoot held Sept. 8 at Pekin Archers in Pekin. The brothers, 14 and 16 respectively, finished first and second in recurve bow competition, 270 points ahead of the nearest competitor. As the lead went back and forth, the main question was who would claim the championship.
The competitors started the day in the wooded area around the Pekin Archers complex where they shot both three-dimensional targets and flat field targets. The Sniders shot dead even on the 3D course. In field shooting, Ben held a two-point lead going into the lunch break.
In the afternoon, participants shoot at large, round targets from distances of 50, 40, and 30 yards. At this point of the competition, participants start to feel fatigue from repetitive shooting. By the end of the day, each competitor will make 105 shots.
Ben gained a 60-point advantage over Isaac in the round target competition and was awarded the championship buckle in the recurve division.
Other top recurve placings included Alexander Ford of DuPage, third; Jamie Anderson of McHenry, fourth; Lawrence Rhyner III of McHenry County, fifth; Michael Perkins of McHenry County, sixth; Brittney Rhyner of McHenry County, seventh; and Kailey Foster of McHenry County, eighth.
In the compound division, Macon County teen Dominick Trujillo returned to successfully defend last year’s championship. Dominick scored 830 points out of a perfect score of 885 points. Other top finishers include Levi Nusz of Stark County, second; Kutter Thompson of Adams County, third; Carter Carpenter of Marion County, fourth; Jessica Shilling of Edwards County, fifth; Carson McGill of Iroquois County, sixth; Jacob Maschino of Edgar County, seventh; Isaac Adams of Woodford County, eighth; Celtan McGinnis of Peoria County, ninth; and John Reutter of McLean County, tenth.
The atmosphere was relaxed and supportive, with families pitching popup tents and relaxing in chairs awaiting reports back from their teens. “4-H is meant to come from the people,” said Curt Sinclair, interim University of Illinois Extension shooting sports coordinator, “and this is exactly what these families wanted to be doing with their kids today.”
A team of certified state 4-H shooting sports volunteers organized the event, but youth scored their achievements as a shooting cohort after each end of arrows. Though a competition, that didn’t stop the teens from encouraging and helping their shooting partners, Sinclair said.
Though rain pounded the area the day before the contest, the skies cleared for the event. An avid sportsman, Kutter Thompson said he chose competing that day for a chance to make the national Illinois 4-H archery team over scouting a 15-point buck. The 16-year-old placed third, just 16 points back from the winner in the compound division. A skilled baseball pitcher, the teen divides his time between baseball, hunting, and fishing.
For some youth, archery is their only 4-H experience. Others, such as Madi Hofreiter of Mason County, participate in a variety of 4-H programs. “4-H opens up new experiences to me which some people don’t have access to.” She serves as vice president of the Happy Handful 4-H Club.
Brianna Hayes of Peoria County studies photography, cooking, and visual art projects, but said archery allows her to compete in a sport.
In the compound division, Carter Carpenter had the highest point total in the round target division with 516 out of 540 possible points, followed by Levi Nusz in second with 513 points. Dominick took first place in the 3D division with 152 out of 165 possible points, as well as first in the field targets with 169 out of 180 potential points.
Mason County claimed the recurve team award, and Marion County earned the compound bow division.
The Illinois 4-H Foundation supports the Illinois 4-H shooting sports team members who will compete in the National 4-H Shooting Sports competition in June 2019.