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Birmingham Shootout: 24 Archers Advance to Buckmasters Top Bow World Championship

Skipper Booth of Tuscaloosa, Ala., takes aim at a target on the Buckmasters archery course. Booth's steady shooting earned him a first-place win over Hunter Junkin 220-195 at the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor regional qualifier on Sunday in Birmingham, Ala.
By Daniel Dye

-- Skipper Booth Takes Home Alabama Regional Qualifier Title

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Skipper Booth of Tuscaloosa, Ala., outscored Hunter Junkin 220-195 in the championship round of the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor regional qualifier Sunday before a standing-room only crowd.

His efforts were rewarded with a Yamaha ATV valued at $4,199, $2,000 cash and a big shot of confidence going into next month's Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor World Championship slated for Aug. 15-17 in Montgomery, Ala., during the Buckmasters Expo.

"This is a tough competition," Booth said, who works full-time as a pipe fitter. "I tried to take my time, hold steady on the targets and take good shots." Holding steady yielded two perfect rounds for Booth who finished the competition with a cumulative score of 1270, which earned him the Dan C. Busey High Score award good for an additional $400.

"Hunter is a great archer who has a lot of natural talent," Booth said of his friend. The two competitors met at local archery events in Tuscaloosa and travel to archery tournaments throughout Alabama and beyond.

Booth made his way through the pack with head-to-head wins over Brad Wheeler 233-102 in the semi-finals and 2003 Top Bow World Champion Justin Martin 174-169 in the quarter-finals to face Junkin in the championship round.

Junkin managed to edge out Bobby Hubbard 202-158 and Lynn Morrison 202-185 in the semi- and quarter-finals, respectively.

The Buckmasters competition is regarded as the most difficult of all indoor archery tournaments because the targets, life-size deer molds, are randomly programmed to pop up from behind shrubs, "walk" from behind trees, or appear in no-shoot situations.

"I designed the Buckmasters Top Bow competition to test the competitors' archery and hunting skills, ethics and certainly their nerves," said Buckmasters founder Jackie Bushman, who emceed the finals.

The top six place finishers in the 2008 Alabama qualifier in the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor archery competition were: Terry Goza (sixth place); Hunter Junkin (second place); Lynn Morrison (third place); Justin Martin (forth place), Bobby Hubbard (fifth place); and Skipper Booth (first place). Buckmasters founder and CEO Jackie Bushman stands proudly in the center of the qualifiers.
"The archers really put on a show for the Birmingham crowd. I'm eager to see what they can do at the Buckmasters Top Bow World Championship this August."

Once again, Buckmasters Range Master Mike Foster had set up a tough course with lots of long shots, scenes with multiple bucks and two "running" bucks in the first round of competition. 

Feast or famine best describe the archers' opening round scores. Over half the field posted double digit scores while only 11 archers recorded more than 125 points out of a possible 184 - blame the low scores on opening round jitters or simply trying to figure out the distances of each target. Even Top Bow veterans Jackie Caudle and Larry Goza did not break the triple digit plateau.

"On top of the nerves, crowd and pressure, we are trying to judge the distances of the targets," said Martin of Enterprise, Ala., following a 137-point effort in the second round. "After the first round, you have a good idea as to how far away the targets are going to be in the next rounds. You can make some adjustments and go from there."

He finished the weekend in fourth place. 

Saturday's second round scores were nearly as low as Friday's first round scores. Fifth-place finisher Hubbard of Talladega, Ala., led the pack, which was whittled down from 60 to 40 archers, going into third round of competition with a combined score of 297.

By the third round, the archers figured out the Top Bow course. Twelve of the top 16 archers who made the cut for Sunday's competition turned in scores over 125 points each, which included perfect round performances by Kaylon Cole of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and two perfect rounds by Booth. Sixth-place qualifier Terry Goza missed a perfect round when his arrow hit high of the target on a 20-yard shot.

The weekend's fourth and final perfect round was notched by Morrison.

The event was held in conjunction with the 25th Annual World Deer and Turkey Expo at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor qualifiers from the Birmingham, Ala., event are:
Skipper Booth, Northport, Ala.
Kaylon Cole, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Darren Collins, Galena, Kan.
Allen Conner, Atalla, Ala.
Stephen Dockery, Coker, Ala.
Brian Goza, Bryan, Ala.
Joseph Goza, Flat Rock, Ala.
Terry Goza, Flat Rock, Ala.
Wesley Hicks, Hayleville, Ala.
Bobby Hubbard, Talladega, Ala.
Hunter Junkin, Gordo, Ala.
Justin Martin, Daleville, Ala.
Lynn Morrison, Northport, Ala.
Robert Morrow, Hartselle, Ala.
Jamie Patterson, Tallassee, Ala.
David Pearce, Opp, Ala.
Jeremy Pruett, Brookwood, Ala.
Buster Stone, Andalusia, Ala.
Crayton Tayler, Verbena, Ala.
Ted Turner Jr., Townsend, Ga.
Ted Turner III, Townsend, Ga.
Keith Thomas, Boaz, Ala.
Brad Wheeler, Buford, Ga.
William Whitley, Gordo, Ala.

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

Sponsors of the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor Competition are:
Yamaha, Chevrolet, Realtree, Remington, Federal Ammunition, Nikon, Mission Archery, Whitewater, Scent-Lok, Easton, Tink's, Morrell Manufacturing, American Pioneer Powder, Streamlight, Toxonics, NAPA, Primos Hunting Calls, Pennington Seed, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco, American Broadhead Company, U.S. Army, John Marshall Design, Hoppe's, Outdoor Channel

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