A solid start

Terhune takes lead after first day at Big Sky Open

Grand Junction’s Sheila Johnson takes aim at a target Saturday during the Big Sky Open archery tournament at the DoubleTree Hotel.



Hotchkiss’ Ira Houseweart shows off his Robin Hood shot Saturday at the Big Sky Open. After hitting the 10 ring on the 50-yard target with one arrow, Houseweart split the first arrow with a second arrow.



What Colorado calls wind, Wyoming calls a breeze. So, Jeremy Terhune doesn’t shoot his bow outside in the wind back home in Rozet, Wyo.

“I don’t have the right temper for shooting outside there,” said Terhune, who predominantly practices indoors instead.

But what Colorado calls a breeze was the calm before the storm for Terhune on Saturday at the Big Sky Open archery tournament.

Terhune piled up 588 points out of a possible 600 to take the Day 1 lead in the two-day tournament’s men’s freestyle unlimited division, the tournament’s top prize-money class.

“It’s the best I’ve ever shot in this round. I’m smokin’ happy with that,” said Terhune, who has finished in the top 10 at the Big Sky every year going back to 2007 and finished fifth three times in the past four opens.

Although many archers lament wind, Terhune said Saturday morning’s breeze was manageable, and the conditions were about as good as they could be.

“There was a little breeze, but I’m from Wyoming, so this was nice,” he said.

It was an intermittent breeze, he added, one where he could fire his three arrows between gusts and do it in the allotted two-and-a-half minutes at each distance in the V-shaped target formation that starts at 20 yards and increases in five-yard increments to 65 yards.

Although Terhune hopes to see the same conditions today, Steve Anderson of Salt Lake City wouldn’t mind seeing conditions that make Terhune feel like he’s back in the Cowboy State.

Unlike Terhune, Anderson frequently practices outdoors in Utah’s wind, and he said if it’s breezier, he feels like he has the advantage in knowing how to adjust.

Wind or no wind, Anderson, who sits in second place at 583, will try to rise to the top in his second Big Sky appearance after making a good run at the title last year before settling for a second-place tie with Henry Bass, who won a tiebreaker to claim an extra $225 of prize money.

Anderson said of his opening round, “It wasn’t good, but it was good enough for second.

“(Terhune) has a good-size lead, but nothing you can’t make up.”

Anderson, 25, clearly brings more confidence to his second go-around at the Big Sky.

“Last year I was still kind of up and coming, trying to figure out where I stood,” he said, adding one of his successes since then was qualifying for the U.S. World Games team, and he said he and Bass are on pace to finish in the top eight in the USA Team rankings, which would land them on the USA Archery team.

Bass, of Herriman, Utah, called his opening-day 576 “not so good,” but the start is similar to one year ago when he rebounded on Day 2 to climb to second place behind winner Braden Gellenthien.

Terhune knows he needs another fantastic round to claim the title. He said he led after Day 1 at the Big Sky several years ago, but he didn’t bring it home in the second round.

The first key to getting the job done today, Terhune said, is good weather. The second is: Don’t think about winning, just focus on making each shot a good one.

“All you can do is shoot the shots you’re trained to shoot,” he said.

Third title in his sights

Another contender lurking is Logan Wilde, who is only six points back in third place and knows what it takes to win at the Big Sky. He’s done it twice, most recently in 2010.

Wilde said the morning breeze affected the first half of his round, but it subsided for his second half, “and I wasn’t able to take advantage of it.”

He thought he could easily have been five or six points better, so, “It hurts for today, but tomorrow you can make up for it. As long as you don’t hurt yourself on the first day, you can be in it.”

Perfection and another rarity

For the second year in a row the Big Sky Open began Friday evening with a perfect score of 50 in the just-for-fun GoForIt competition in which archers shoot at 20 clay pigeons from varying distances.

The real surprise was that it came from an archer in the Flights division: 34-year-old Ira Houseweart of Hotchkiss. And no one was more surprised than Houseweart, who said the realization of what he was doing hit him with four distances to go. He proceeded to hit his shots at 60 and 65 yards, then proceeded to the shortest distances, 20 and 25 yards, which are supposed to be the easiest but were anything but.

“I was nervous,” he said. “I had a little shake going on. I thought I was going to blow it on the last one. I thought, ‘I’m not going to be able to hold it together.’ “

But that final clay broke, making Houseweart the 16th competitor to achieve perfection in the event. Dave Cousins leads that group, having done it three times.

Houseweart said he looked at the Big Sky Open’s program and saw the listing of previous archers who accomplished the feat.

“It’s a pretty elite group of names of target archers, so I’m totally stoked about it,” he said.

Houseweart added another fun rarity Saturday, when he Robin-Hooded an arrow on the 50-yard target. After placing an arrow in the 10 ring, his next arrow split that one.

Houseweart said he’d done that to arrows in practice but never in competition, and he added, “I never had a reporter ask me about one.”


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