By Mike Handley
Bowhunters Bob Decker and Kyle Simmons pose with their shared Golden Laurel trophies in front of "The Rack," which bears the names of world Top Bow champions. To earn the former, one must stick a really BIG buck; the latter requires mastering the most challenging targets in competitive archery.
-- Immediately prior to the Aug. 16 archery finals of the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor World Championship, two bowhunters were presented trophies of a different sort. Bob Decker of Eau Claire, Wis., and Kyle Simmons of Spragueville, Iowa, seemed a bit nervous when told -- in jest -- that they might have to tackle competitive archery's toughest targets. But neither man lost his nerve when staring at a real live monster through a peep.
Because Decker arrowed the much ballyhooed "Field & Stream Buck" in Buffalo County, Wis., and Simmons felled the absolute largest whitetail to hit the ground last season, they shared the 2009 Golden Laurel Citation. The cowinners, relieved that they would not have to participate in a red-dot shootoff (which decides a tie in the archery competition), were handed identical trophies during this month's Buckmasters Expo.
The shared award marks the fifth time in 14 years that the GLC has been shared by two exceptional whitetails.
Inches alone do not determine which deer will be awarded Buckmasters' prestigious Golden Laurel Citation. The recipient must be deemed the most significant entry in "Buckmasters Whitetail Trophy Records" for a given year. That said, it's easy to see why the 2009 award bears the names of cowinners.
The stories behind these outstanding specimens were published in the August issues of Rack and Buckmasters magazines.
With a BTR score of 268 5/8 inches, the Simmons Buck is not only a new Iowa state record, but it's also No. 2 in the world among bow-taken Irregulars -- second only to the Mike Beatty Buck. The Decker Buck, once touted as a walking world record "Typical" when grainy video footage was posted on the Field & Stream website, also is an Irregular. Its official score is 220 5/8.