Pair of Brits add some intrigue to Big Sky Open

Chris Bell, of Birmingham, England, and Liam Grimwood of Liverpool are lending an international air to this year’s Big Sky Open archery tournament.

Arrows fly and so do archers, particularly if you live in Liverpool, England, and compete in Grand Junction.

British archers Liam Grimwood, 22, of Liverpool and Chris Bell of Birmingham, 24, are giving this year’s Big Sky Open archery tournament some international flair.

Grimwood is no stranger to U.S. archery tournaments. This weekend is his fifth trip to the U.S. this year and he’ll stay for next week’s tournament in Yankton, S.D., before flying home to compete in the English team trials for the World Championships next September in Korea.

“Yeah, my frequent fliers miles are doing all right,” Grimwood said with a laugh. “I’ve spent a lot of time in the air recently.”

Grimwood has been shooting for 15 years and turned professional 18 months ago. He’s been ranked as high as seventh in the world standings.

Bell, on the other hand, has no desire to become a professional archer and instead makes his money the old-fashioned way — he gambles for it online.

“I’m a professional poker player,” he says, putting on his best, umm, poker face. “I’m not the caliber of shooter Liam is, although I like it well enough. I don’t spend the time practicing it takes to be that good.

“But there always are people playing poker who really aren’t good enough and shouldn’t be playing.”

The two Englishmen share the driving when it comes to motoring around America and Bell took the shift Thursday from Denver to Grand Junction.

“It was magnificent, I’ve never seen anything like that,” Grimwood said.

Bell laughed.

“How would you know?” he asked. “You were sleeping.”

He and Grimwood are being ushered around by Dave Cousins of Standish, Maine, one of the nation’s top archers and two-time winner of the Big Sky Open. Grimwood met Cousins at an earlier tournament and the two became good friends.

“He’s a real good guy and a terrific shooter,” said Cousins, who isn’t too bad himself, having been on the U.S. national team since 1998.

Cousins is making sure the two Brits get more than a tour of archery tournaments.

“We were at his house fishing two weeks ago,” said Grimwood. “It was pretty good, too.”

Grimwood shot a respectable 580 (out of a possible 600) in Saturday’s first round and said he was pleased with his results.

“I really like this format, it’s very different from what I usually shoot,” Grimwood said. “It’s a new experience for me but so far I think it’s a good idea.”

Other than a bit of international rivalry, Grimwood has even more incentive to do well. Today is his 22nd birthday and there’s nothing like winning a new tournament on your birthday.

“Yeah, that would be great,” said Grimwood. “But if it doesn’t happen, I’ll still have a great time.”


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