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A Game of Inches: 24 Archers Qualify for Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor World Championship

Jackie Bushman and Randy HendrixBy Daniel Dye

Randy Hendrix Wins South Carolina Regional Qualifier Title

Randy Hendrix, right, of Winston-Salem, N.C., edged out the 55 other competitors to win the 2008 South Carolina qualifier in the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor archery competition as Jackie Bushman, founder and CEO of Buckmasters, looks on.

While terms like bogey, slice and club house may not be part of an archer’s vernacular there’s no denying that archery and golf do indeed share one striking similarity – the need for accurate shots. 

The old saying in golf is you drive for show and putt for dough. At the Buckmasters Top Bow World Championship every shot should be considered a putt.

Randy Hendrix of Winston-Salem, N.C., won the game of inches in a sudden death shootoff against Tom Boatwright of Perdido, Ala., at the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor qualifier held during the Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic in historic Columbia, S.C., March 28-30. 

Top Six Place FinishersPhoto: The top six place finishers in the 2008 South Carolina qualifier in the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor archery competition were: Chris Berry (fifth place); Keith Brown (third place); Tom Boatwright (second place); Randy Hendrix (first place), Brian Dansby (fourth place); and Dusty Bishop (sixth place). Buckmasters founder and CEO Jackie Bushman stands proudly in the center of the qualifiers.

Both archers posted perfect rounds to send the competition into overtime.

This was the third time in the event’s history that first place was determined in sudden death.

Hendrix, the owner of a commercial drywall business, was awarded a Yamaha Grizzly 350 ATV, $2,000 cash and entry into the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor World Championship to be held at the 2008 Buckmasters Expo in Montgomery, Ala., this August.

“My round against Tom Boatwright was the second time during this event I had to shoot a perfect round to stay in it,” Hendrix said. “I thought the course this year was pretty tough. A lot of us were having a rough time judging the distance on some of those shots."

Hendrix, a Top Bow veteran, who has won the South Carolina event in the past and placed second in the Top Bow World Championship five times, had to shake off charges from Brian Dansby of Hamilton, Ga., in the quarter finals and Chris Berry of Sarcoxie, Mo., in the final eight.

Boatwright made his way through the pack by downing Keith Brown of Greensboro, N.C., in the quarter finals and Brian Clarke of Traverse City, Mich., in the final eight.

The Buckmasters competition is regarded as one of the most difficult archery competitions because the targets, life-size deer molds, are programmed to pop up from behind shrubs, “walk” from behind trees, or appear in no-shoot situations. Think of it as Disney’s “It’s a Small World” amusement ride meets Buckmasters. Sans the music, of course.

“We designed the competition to test the archers’ nerves as well as their archery and hunting skills,” said Buckmasters founder Jackie Bushman, who was on-hand to emcee the finals. 

Once again, Buckmasters Range Master Mike Foster had set up a tough course with lots of long shots, scenes with multiple bucks, and a shot in the first round where a doe was blocking a buck. Several of the newcomers fell to Foster’s trickery and shot at the buck, which took valuable points away for shooting in the direction of the doe. 

The course certainly tested nerves and had its way with the competitors during the first round of competition. No one posted a perfect score and only 19 of the competitors put up more than 100 points each. As a result, the audience was treated to a disappointing “thud” sound each time an arrow stuck in the deer decoys’ non-scoring areas.   

Final Shoot-Off TargetPhoto: The final shoot-off target proves once again that the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor archery competition really is a game of inches. Randy Hendrix’s shot just found the orange target. Tom Boatwright’s shot was wide. 

A new twist was added to the event this year in the form of a bonus target worth 12, 25 or 50 points depending on where the arrows hit.

During the second round of competition more archers heard the reports of their successful shots with a resounding “thwack,” think boat oar meets the top of the water, each time as the arrows punched through the aluminum sensor pads affixed to the deer targets.

Twenty-three archers scored more than 100 points each. The second round had a total of 223 possible points including the 50 point bonus target and an additional 15 point bonus area affixed to one of the deer targets.

The Columbia event is the first of two qualifying tournaments held before the World Championship, during the annual Buckmasters Expo. An additional 24 archers will qualify for the World Championship in Birmingham, Ala., this July.

Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor Qualifiers from the Columbia, S.C., Qualifier, March 28-30, 2008
Name   Hometown  State
Randy Hendrix, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Tom Boatwright, Perdido, Ala.
Keith Brown, Greensboro, N.C.
Brian Dansby, Hamilton, Ga.
Chris Berry, Sarcoxie, Mo.
Dusty Bishop, Arden, N.C.
Brian Clarke, Traverse City, Mich.
Clyde Huckeba, Oxford, Ala.
Robby Workman, Hector, Ark.
James Akins, Ft. Payne, Ala.
Dale Howington, Buford, Ga.
Tom Pruitt, Stotts City, Mo.
Jeremy Odom, Bay Minette, Ala.
Bubba Browder, Ft. Payne, Ala.
Gene Goddard, Brighton, Iowa
Rod White, Lockridge, Iowa
Rusty Moore, Gibsonville, N.C.
Randy Barley, Brown Summit, N.C.
Jeff Johnston, Dodgeville, Wis.
Tyron McDonald, Cottageville, S.C.
Alex Ballenger, Shelby, N.C.
Josh Deering, Maple City, Mich.
Jason Ballou, Del Rio, Texas
Bryan Reeves, Summerdale, Ala.

By spaniard @ Sunday, April 20, 2008 7:28 PM
Is it possible to see a picture of the two shots in the shoot-out at the Columbia S.C. Buck Master qualifier?

By spaniard @ Sunday, April 20, 2008 7:42 PM
Let me clearify, I would like to see the arrows in the target,not the holes.

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