Straight shooters

Terhune comes out on top at Big Sky Open

Henry Bass, front, lines up a shot at the Big Sky Open archery tournament at the DoubleTree Hotel in Grand Junction on Sunday. Bass, a 21-year-old from Herriman, Utah, finished second to Jeremy Terhune, who hails from Rozet, Wyo.



Champion Jeremy Terhune checks out his handiwork at the annual Big Sky Open archery tournament on Sunday. Terhune’s victory netted him a check for $1,500.



Seneca Francis won the Big Sky Open’s women’s title for the second consecutive year.



Jeremy Terhune made two mistakes he feared would cost him because he knows what Henry Bass can do with a bow. He knows how straight Steve Anderson and Logan Wilde make arrows fly.

He knows what a whole bunch of archers at Grand Junction’s annual Big Sky Open can do because he sees them at other archery tournaments around the region and nation. Many are his friends, but the affable archer from Rozet, Wyo., also knows this: “These guys aren’t going to give you an inch.”

So, when he gave them an inch on two occasions Sunday, he feared the worst as he tried to hold on to his Day 1 lead and win the men’s freestyle unlimited division.

But, after the final arrows had been fired behind the DoubleTree Hotel by the lead quartet, Terhune grinned as he walked back to his bow after checking the 65-yard target. He believed he had won, and a minute later an official announcement confirmed, indeed, he had.

Terhune said it was his first outdoor tournament win “on a big stage,” and he collected the Big Sky’s largest winners check: $1,500.

“I was able to hold off the wolves. It was hard,” Terhune said. “That’s all I was doing, holding off. I wasn’t making up any ground, I tell you that.”

But what happened to Terhune on Sunday, dropping off 10 points from his first-round 588, was happening to most of the rest of the field. A more difficult wind than the day before was knocking five to 10 points off many archers’ first-round scores. Those who went up were usually just a few points better.

Defying the wind to the tune of an 11-point improvement over Saturday was Bass, who carded 295 of a possible 300 points on the first half Sunday, and that got everyone’s attention.

“That was a great score given the conditions,” said Anderson, who entered the day five points behind Terhune in third place but finished the tournament nine points back in fourth.

But Bass’s second-day charge, similar to the one he mounted a year earlier, left him settling for second place for the second straight year. The 21-year-old from Herriman, Utah, finished with the day’s best round, a 587, but it left him two points behind Terhune.

“I was a little nervous on that first (half) that he was going to make it up on me,” Terhune said.

Terhune would have felt much more comfortable if he hadn’t suffered what he called “a complete brain lapse” on one target on each side of the tourney’s V-formation.

He misfired by a couple of inches on the 45-yard target during the first half of the second round Sunday, scoring 25 of a possible 30 points. On the second half of the round, he shot a 26 on the 50-yard target.

“Shooting with guys like these, there’s no room for any of those,” Terhune said.

But he refocused after each one to close strong.

“The key is getting that aside and start shooting arrows. ‘Hey, stupid, don’t do that,’ ” Terhune said. “Any short lapse, recover as fast as you can.”

When the tournament was over, Terhune suggested his heart needed to recover, adding, “I might have a blood-pressure issue.”

Francis defends women’s title

Seneca Francis, two weeks removed from defending her college national championship in the women’s compound bow, followed it up once again with a Big Sky title.

Now a Utah State University graduate, the 22-year-old from Smithfield, Utah, shot a two-day 1,120 to finish 17 points ahead of Brenda Wilde and pocket $475.

Francis entered the day with a two-point lead, and her 565 Sunday was 10 points higher than her first-round score and six better than Sunday’s next best score in the field.

“I led early and tried to stay there,” Francis said, adding being the defending champ was good and bad, knowing she could win the Big Sky but also feeling pressure to win again.

She had one hiccup late in the second half of Sunday’s round, misfiring for a seven on one arrow because “I set my sight wrong.” But she added two 10s on that target, then closed strong on the final three targets.

Harbaugh holds on this time

Tony Harbaugh finally outlasted his friend, mentor and fellow Idahoan Dee Wilde to claim the men’s senior freestyle championship at the Big Sky.

A year ago, Harbaugh led Wilde by nine points after the first day only to get caught on Day 2 as Wilde claimed his third title in a row and fifth in six years in the division.

Leading Wilde by two points after Day 1 this year, Harbaugh shot a 575 to Wilde’s 567 and finished with 1,148 points, 10 ahead of Wilde, who took second.

“It’s about time,” Harbaugh said with a smile. “I’ve come awful close. I’ve come in leading a few times and never pulled it off.

“I didn’t let Dee get me this time. He came out real strong, too. I’m like, ‘OK, I better stay close to him.’ I did pretty good on some of those long (distances).”

Wilde said Harbaugh, who rode with him from Pocatello, Idaho, to Grand Junction, deserved to win.

“I tried my hardest to beat him,” he said. “He just outshot me.”

Bow woes beleaguer Bass

Bass for the second straight year was left wondering what would have happened if he got to use a bow broken in to his liking.

A year ago, his bow was stolen in Boston the week before the Big Sky. This year, he said, “The day before I left (for Grand Junction), my bow blew up.”

That means the limbs broke on it.

“I tried to get this one set up the way I had the other one,” he said. “I didn’t have it quite right, didn’t have enough time to shoot it.”

Bass said it takes him about three days of shooting several hours each day to adjust to a new bow. He had just one day to get his bow ready for the Big Sky.

Unlucky No. 7

Anderson said his chances to catch Terhune suffered a damaging setback during the first half of the second round on the 55-yard target.

“I broke two good shots right as a gust of wind hit,” Anderson said. “I ended up with a seven, an eight and a nine. A nine you can live with, but a seven, I don’t think I shot a seven all year.”

That score of 24 made a comeback next to impossible as he said, “With a guy like Jeremy at the front, you’re not going to catch him.”

Couldn’t happen to nicer guy

Anderson hoped to win the Big Sky this year after tying Bass for second last year, but when that didn’t happen, he was happy for Terhune.

“Jeremy’s a guy everyone respects and likes,” Anderson said. “Jeremy’s a good person, just a good dude. He’s a good family guy. Nobody’s upset if he wins.”

Anderson also praised Bass for what he did Sunday to make a run at the title.

“It was good to see Henry throw down an awesome round when everyone else is dumping points,” Anderson said.

Nobody does it better

Kelly Kinsel of Laramie, Wyo., has been competing regularly at archery tournaments for two years, and she made it a point to tell Big Sky Open organizer Tootie Brabec the Big Sky is the most organized tournament she has encountered.

“They get scores up right away. You know when you’re shooting on the first day well in advance of the tournament. And I like that they put you on deck before you shoot,” Kinsel said.

She added, “I’ll be back next year, hopefully shooting a little better.”

One nicely dressed archer

Brabec got a kick out of what she saw Kinsel doing late Saturday night, heading out to the range behind the DoubleTree Hotel to sight in her bow while wearing a long summer dress.

Brabec said she was telling people, “Come here, you’ve got to see this.”

Kinsel pleaded guilty as charged. She said she and her husband, Shane Kinsel, got back to the hotel from dinner about 10:30 p.m. and said, “Hey, it’s calm, let’s go shoot.”

She said there was enough light to see the 20-yard target, and Shane used his cell phone to shine light on the sight itself for her to adjust it.

Entranced by recurve

This year marked the return of Melanie DeBusk to the Big Sky Open after three years away. She was the lone entrant in the women’s classic limited division and finished with 930 points shooting her recurve bow.

The 47-year-old from Cody, Wyo., got her start in archery 21 years ago shooting a compound bow, but “I watched others shooting recurves and I was entranced,” DeBusk said.
A member on three U.S. Archery field teams over the years, she also likes the challenge of a recurve, saying, “It’s fun.”

But there are times when the recurve gets left at home.

“I cheat,” she said. “I hunt with a compound.”


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