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A Bridesmaid No More

By Ken Piper

Buckmasters founder Jackie Bushman presents a $25,000 check to Tom Boatwright of Perdido, Ala.
Buckmasters founder Jackie Bushman presents a $25,000 check to Tom Boatwright of Perdido, Ala.

Tom Boatwright was quickly becoming the Buffalo Bills of archery.

Several times, he made it deep into the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor World Championship before finishing second or third. It took a perfect round in the finals, but Boatwright claimed the 2010 Buckmasters title at the 17th Buckmasters Expo in Montgomery, Ala., Aug. 20-23.

How close was it? The championship came down to the final shot — aptly named the Last Chance Target.

Fellow Alabamian Skipper Booth, from Northport, needed a bull’s-eye to match Boatwright’s perfect score of 215. Booth’s arrow hit in the yellow, putting him 10 points short.

“The last chance target is really important, because if you miss a runner and the other guy misses the same runner, you’ve always got the red dot in the Last Chance Target,” Boatwright said. “That’s 10 bonus points, so you can’t ever give up.”

2010 Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor World Champion Tom Boatwright
2010 Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor World Champion
Tom Boatwright

Booth didn’t give up, but perfect rounds are few and far between in the Buckmasters Top Bow competition. Between the difficult shots and the pressure of shooting in front of a big crowd, perfection is rare indeed.

“This is by far the most difficult tournament on your nerves that you could ever shoot in,” Boatwright said. “The first thing I do when I step on the platform is try to calm my nerves. When you first get up there, it’s like looking at a TV channel with no station. Everything is just fuzzy. I look over the range and try to calm my nerves until I can see a few targets. Until you look through your sights at this range, you can’t imagine what it’s like.”

If the crowd, music, lights and hard shots don’t provide enough pressure, there’s the incentive of competitive archery’s biggest prize: the $25,000 check that goes with the Buckmasters Top Bow title.

Even after receiving the check, Perdido, Ala.’s, Boatwright seemed happier with winning the title than getting the money.

“This is unexplainable,” he said. “People say shooting the Buckmasters gives you the same feeling of when a big 8-point buck comes up and your insides turn over. Winning this tournament is that times a thousand. I probably won’t sleep for a month, I’m so excited right now.”

The Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor tournament starts in March with two qualifying events. The top 24 shooters from each of the qualifiers advance to the championship at the Expo in August.

The top six place winners in the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor World Championship
The top six place winners in the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor World Championship.

Each of the qualifier winners receives $1,240 and a Yamaha ATV. The 2010 qualifier champions were Dusty Bishop of Arden, N.C., and Jamie Patterson of Tallassee, Ala. Brian Goza of Bryant, Ala., won the $500 Easton Hot Spot shootout.

The top six place winners in the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor World Championship were Larry Goza of Crossville, Ala., sixth place; Jamie Patterson of Tallassee, Ala., fifth place; Joseph Goza of Flat Rock, Ala.,  fourth place; Tom Boatwright of Perdido, Ala., first place; Keith Brown of Greensboro, N.C., third place; and Skipper Booth of Northport, Ala., second place. Buckmasters Expo presenting sponsor Yamaha representative Rob Braun presented ATV prizes to Booth for his second-place finish, and to Patterson and Dusty Bishop of Arden, N.C., for winning the two Top Bow qualifier events.

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