Top archers will be in town for Big Sky Open

Braden Gellenthien, center on the shooting line, competes last year during the finals of Big Sky Archery Open at the DoubleTree Hotel. Gellenthien, a world-renowned archer and fresh off a victory May 18 at the Shanghai World Cup, will be back for this year’s event.

Braden Gellenthien checks out the grouping during the finals of the Big Sky Open last year. Gellenthien won the men’s championship freestyle.

Several hundred competitive archers will be drawing and releasing during the 33rd Big Sky Archery Open June 14-16 at the DoubleTree Hotel.

This National Field Archery Association-sanctioned tournament annually draws some of the top shooters in competitive archery, and this year the list of registrants includes Logan Wilde of Pocatello, Idaho, winner of the 2010 Big Sky Open men’s freestyle unlimited championship title.

Other top returning archers include local favorite Randy Brabec and last year’s men’s championship winner Braden Gellenthien of Woodbridge, Va.

Gellenthien recently won the individual, team and mixed team compound gold medals at the Shanghai World Cup on May 18.

Big Sky Open tournament co-director Margaret Brabec also said Australian archers David Rowson and Marie Hulbert will be returning this year.

“They enjoyed the tournament so much last year, they are coming back again to hone their skills in shooting for money,” Brabec said.

What makes the Big Sky Open so outstanding is it’s the only major tournament that uses three different sizes of Olympic-style colored targets in an outdoor V-formation with distances from 20-65 yards.

The tournament begins at 5 p.m. Friday with the first round of individual competition on the four-inch clay pigeons, a warm-up for the weekend’s rounds of shooting.

Weekend events begin around 10 a.m.

Shooting outdoors, especially in early summer in western Colorado, means archers have to deal not only with the intense competition but also wind, heat and occasional rain.

Perhaps the best prepared for the varying conditions are the members of the Grand Mesa Bowmen, who each year are well-represented on the tournament roster.

This year’s sponsors include archery equipment manufacturer Mathews Inc. and Gordon Composites of Montrose.

More information about the Big Sky Archery Open is available online at


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