On target

Bass, Anderson, Hamilton tied for first at Big Sky Open

Gary Cowart, left, gets ready to shoot Saturday during the Big Sky Open at the DoubleTree Hotel. A trio of Utah archers, Henry Bass, Steve Anderson and Colton Hamilton, are tied for first after the first round. The final round is today.

The wind during the first half of Round 1 had many an archer grumbling Saturday morning, but three of them couldn’t complain too loudly.

Neither Henry Bass nor Steve Anderson was thrilled with the 585 points out of a possible 600 each scored Saturday, but it put them in a three-way tie with fellow Utah bowman Colton Hamilton for first place going into today’s second and final round of the Big Sky Open archery tournament.

Bass, the runner-up the past two years in the men’s Championship Freestyle division, didn’t have to break in a new bow at the last minute this year. Two years ago his bow was stolen a week before the Big Sky. Last year, the limbs of his bow broke before the Big Sky, and he had to adjust to a new one.

This year, he has the same bow he used a year ago at the Big Sky, but he said he was sighting his bow Friday, “So nothing’s changed.”

The reason this time? “I’m not prepared,” Bass said, getting a chuckle from Anderson, who was standing next to him.

Bass shot a 290 on the first half of the V formation, then rebounded with a 295 on the second half Saturday, when the wind was less of a factor. He chose not to blame the wind for his higher first-round score, though.

“It wasn’t really the wind as much as my marks being off,” Bass said. “And then there were times I thought there was wind, and there wasn’t.”

Bass performed much better on the second day of the tournament the previous two years, to which Anderson said, “That means I have no chance tomorrow. He always makes a big comeback on the second day.”

Anderson, who finished fourth last year and third two years ago at the Big Sky, had a similar day to Bass. He shot 291 on the first half and 294 on the second half. He could have been alone in the lead, but on the final target, the 65-yarder, he put each of his three arrows in the nine-point ring.

His eyes deceived him, as he said he thought each was in the 10 ring.

But there was a balance to it. He thought he put all of his arrows in the 9 ring at 60 yards, but each was in the 10 ring.

Bass and Anderson said the guy to interview Saturday was Hamilton, so they called him over and learned he was tied with them at the top.

Hamilton, who competed at the Big Sky for the first time last year and placed ninth, said he entered the tournament this year feeling like he can win it. The first round has him halfway there.

“I felt like I did really well. I held during the winds in the morning, then it calmed down in the afternoon,” the 20-year-old said. “I feel pretty good and confident going into tomorrow.”

No practice, no title repeat

Last year’s men’s Championship Freestyle champ, Jeremy Terhune of Wyoming, characterized his first round 564 as “bad,” but it was to be expected.

Terhune said he switched jobs during the past year. The former mechanic now does welding and field maintenance in the Wyoming oil fields.

“I’ve been getting 80 hours a week,” he said, “so I haven’t been getting much time to play this game.”

What he meant by “not much time” was no time. He said he hasn’t shot a practice arrow in six months. All of the arrows he’s shot have been in competition.

“It’s been rough, and it’s showing,” he said.

Pearce leads women’s field

Utah’s Seneca Francis, the two-time defending champion in the women’s Championship Freestyle, will have to rally in order to claim a third straight crown.

Paige Pearce of California leads the division with 556 points, two ahead of Utah’s Easter Brock. Francis is eight points off the lead, tied for third place with Arizona’s Becky Pearson, a five-time women’s champ at the Big Sky (1988, 2000, 2003-05).

Gregg leads seniors

Robert Gregg grabbed the first-round lead in the men’s Championship Senior Freestyle with 574 points, five ahead of Bill Pellegrino, who is trying to add a senior title to the Championship Freestyle crown he won in 2008.

Benton Christensen is third at 566, and Dee Wilde, the Big Sky’s senior champ in five of the previous seven years, is fourth at 558.

Teen attains perfection

Friday night’s “GoForIt” clay-pigeon-shooting contest yielded its 21st perfect score since 2000.

Kyle Douglas, a 17-year-old from Harrisville, Utah, is the 17th archer to attain perfection, a score of 50 points, in his first time at the Big Sky, which he said also is his first outdoor tourney.

“Everything just seemed to go right, seemed like I couldn’t really miss,” Douglas said. “Everything just worked. It was one of them days.”


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