Participation in Big Sky Open likely to increase this year

Based on the early returns for registration, participation is likely to be up for this year’s Big Sky Open archery tournament.

In its 34th year, the largest archery tournament on the Western Slope, which pays out $20,000 in prize money, had more than 150 registered competitors as of Thursday, according event organizer Tootie Brabec.

“We haven’t had that many in quite a few years,” she said of the early registrations.

Brabec said many more archers will register when they arrive in Grand Junction for the tournament, which runs today through Sunday behind the DoubleTree Hotel, 743 Horizon Drive.

Competing in the tournament’s top division, Championship Freestyle Men, will be:

■ The Wilde brothers, Reo and Logan, who have combined to win the tourney’s top division five times. Reo won in 2003, 2007 and 2011; and Logan won in 2005 and 2010. Both are from Idaho.

■ Utah’s Henry Bass, who placed second the past two years.

■ Utah’s Steve Anderson, who placed fourth last year and third two years ago in his first trip to the Big Sky.

■ Brabec said last year’s champion, Jeremy Terhune of Wyoming, had not registered as of Thursday, but she said other people have told her he’s coming back to defend his title.

For Championship Freestyle Women, Seneca Francis of Utah will go for her third championship in a row.

For Championship Senior Freestyle Men, Dee Wilde, father of Reo and Logan, will try to regain the title. He won the senior title three years in a row from 2010 to 2102, then placed second last year behind fellow Idahoan Tony Harbaugh. Dee Wilde also won the senior freestyle title in 2007, and he was a two-time winner in the Championship Freestyle Men, taking that title in 1992 and 1993.

Brabec added quite a few competitors are returning this year after several years away from the tournament.

Action begins at 5:30 tonight with a fun event, the “GoForIt” clay-pigeon shoot.

Then, competitors get serious Saturday and Sunday with the two rounds of shooting multicolored targets that are set up outdoors in a V formation. Ten targets, ranging from 20 to 65 yards, are staggered at five-yard intervals on each side of the V.

Archers shoot three arrows at each target, and the maximum two-day score is 1,200 points.

No one has ever shot a perfect score at the Big Sky Open, nor has anyone shot a perfect round of 600.


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