GJ stop gets archer on target

Braden Gellenthien checks out the grouping Sunday during the Big Sky Open archery finals at the DoubleTree Hotel. Gellenthien won the men’s championship freestyle.



It wasn’t the money that brought one of the nation’s best archers to Grand Junction. It was the practice.

Boston’s Braden Gellenthien, en route to Ogden, Utah, to compete for the United States this week in the third stage of the Archery World Cup, used the Big Sky Open for training.

“It’s polishing my form and my bow in a competition setting,” Gellenthien said. “Win, lose or draw, it’s always better to train in a competitive setting.”

It’s also always better to win, which is what Gellenthien did Sunday with a final round 590, bringing his two-day total in the men’s championship freestyle division to 1,178, nine points better than Henry Bass of Riverton, Utah, and Steve Anderson of Salt Lake City. Bass, who is traveling with Gellenthien to the World Cup, won a scorecard playoff.

Gellenthien also pocketed the winner’s purse of $1,700, while Bass earned half that, and Anderson received $625.

“I don’t ever go to an event and plan on not winning,” said Gellenthien, who is in the middle of a month-long stretch in which he will be home for one day.

He entered the day just one point ahead of Anderson, but his 295 in the first half of the round provided a little cushion, so he didn’t sweat a hiccup early in the second half on the 30-yard target when he put an arrow in the eight-point ring.

He shook it off and continued his rhythmic approach to each shot at the targets in the V-shaped formation, which are staggered at five-yard intervals, starting at 20 yards and ending at 65 yards. He scored another 295.

“I really enjoyed the event,” Gellenthien said. “I love the format. It’s something that’s unique to this event.”

Bass entered the finals in fifth place, trailing Anderson by five points, a deficit the 20-year-old attributes in part to breaking in a new bow at the Big Sky because his equipment was stolen several days earlier in Boston.

“Normally it wouldn’t be that big of a deal,” he said, “but having one day to prepare between tournaments ...”

Saturday’s first round required adjusting his bow during the round. Sunday, with his bow adjusted, Bass focused on shooting and mounted his comeback.

Anderson was disappointed in his performance at the end, which cost him the runner-up spot.

“I missed five of my last six shots,” Anderson said, referring to the nines he recorded instead of tens, including three such misses on the 60-yard target.

He blamed his own carelessness for that, saying, “I failed to check the wind.”

Anderson still enjoyed his first Big Sky Open and the opportunity to compete against Gellenthien.

“He’s a nice guy,” Anderson said.

Women’s champion

Seneca Francis won the women’s championship freestyle title, shooting a final-round 558 to claim her first Big Sky Open title in Grand Junction. It was the 21-year-old’s third appearance at the event.

Francis started strong Sunday, while her closest competitors started slowly, helping put her in a comfort zone.

“The first day I was only winning by like two points. It was neck and neck, kind of intense,” she said. “Today, they had some bad shots, and I got ahead by about 10 points. That took some of the pressure off. I could shoot a bad shot and not lose it completely.”

But there was no such mistake from the Utah State University student who won the U.S. Intercollegiate Archery Championship national title for women’s compound bow in May.

“I stayed pretty strong,” she said. “I wanted to finish strong.”

Men’s senior freestyle

Dee Wilde went the comeback route to climb past his friend and fellow Idahoan, Tony Harbaugh, for the men’s senior freestyle title.

Wilde trailed Harbaugh by nine points after the first round, and he knew why.

“Yesterday, I was struggling a little bit,” Wilde said. “I was fighting my release. Today, I got that fixed.”

The comeback comes as no surprise. Wilde treats the senior title as if he owns it. This year’s title gives him three in a row and five in the last six years.

Wilde, who has been coming to the Big Sky since 1989, said he didn’t know that was the case. What he did know was: “I’ve won this a lot.”

Wilde, 61, also won the Big Sky championship freestyle in 1992 and 1993 before entering the senior ranks at age 55. Neither of his sons, Reo and Logan, made it to the Big Sky this year, but Reo has won the championship freestyle three times, including last year, and Logan has won it twice.

It wasn’t the money that brought one of the nation’s best archers to Grand Junction. It was the practice.

Boston’s Braden Gellenthien, en route to Ogden, Utah, to compete for the United States this week in the third stage of the Archery World Cup, used the Big Sky Open for training.

“It’s polishing my form and my bow in a competition setting,” Gellenthien said. “Win, lose or draw, it’s always better to train in a competitive setting.”

It’s also always better to win, which is what Gellenthien did Sunday with a final round 590, bringing his two-day total in the men’s championship freestyle division to 1,178, nine points better than Henry Bass of Riverton, Utah, and Steve Anderson of Salt Lake City. Bass, who is traveling with Gellenthien to the World Cup, won a scorecard playoff.

Gellenthien also pocketed the winner’s purse of $1,700, while Bass earned half that, and Anderson received $625.

“I don’t ever go to an event and plan on not winning,” said Gellenthien, who is in the middle of a month-long stretch in which he will be home for one day.

He entered the day just one point ahead of Anderson, but his 295 in the first half of the round provided a little cushion, so he didn’t sweat a hiccup early in the second half on the 30-yard target when he put an arrow in the eight-point ring.

He shook it off and continued his rhythmic approach to each shot at the targets in the V-shaped formation, which are staggered at five-yard intervals, starting at 20 yards and ending at 65 yards. He scored another 295.

“I really enjoyed the event,” Gellenthien said. “I love the format. It’s something that’s unique to this event.”

Bass entered the finals in fifth place, trailing Anderson by five points, a deficit the 20-year-old attributes in part to breaking in a new bow at the Big Sky because his equipment was stolen several days earlier in Boston.

“Normally it wouldn’t be that big of a deal,” he said, “but having one day to prepare between tournaments ...”

Saturday’s first round required adjusting his bow during the round. Sunday, with his bow adjusted, Bass focused on shooting and mounted his comeback.

Anderson was disappointed in his performance at the end, which cost him the runner-up spot.

“I missed five of my last six shots,” Anderson said, referring to the nines he recorded instead of tens, including three such misses on the 60-yard target. He blamed his own carelessness for that, saying, “I failed to check the wind.”

Anderson still enjoyed his first Big Sky Open and the opportunity to compete against Gellenthien.

“He’s a nice guy,” Anderson said.

Women’s champion

Seneca Francis won the women’s championship freestyle title, shooting a final-round 558 to claim her first Big Sky Open title in Grand Junction. It was the 21-year-old’s third appearance at the event.

Francis started strong Sunday, while her closest competitors started slowly, helping put her in a comfort zone.

“The first day I was only winning by like two points. It was neck and neck, kind of intense,” she said. “Today, they had some bad shots, and I got ahead by about 10 points. That took some of the pressure off. I could shoot a bad shot and not lose it completely.”

But there was no such mistake from the Utah State University student who won the U.S. Intercollegiate Archery Championship national title for women’s compound bow in May.

“I stayed pretty strong,” she said. “I wanted to finish strong.”

Men’s senior freestyle

Dee Wilde went the comeback route to climb past his friend and fellow Idahoan, Tony Harbaugh, for the men’s senior freestyle title.

Wilde trailed Harbaugh by nine points after the first round, and he knew why.

“Yesterday, I was struggling a little bit,” Wilde said. “I was fighting my release. Today, I got that fixed.”

The comeback comes as no surprise. Wilde treats the senior title as if he owns it. This year’s title gives him three in a row and five in the last six years.

Wilde, who has been coming to the Big Sky since 1989, said he didn’t know that was the case. What he did know was: “I’ve won this a lot.”

Wilde, 61, also won the Big Sky championship freestyle in 1992 and 1993 before entering the senior ranks at age 55. Neither of his sons, Reo and Logan, made it to the Big Sky this year, but Reo has won the championship freestyle three times, including last year, and Logan has won it twice.


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