Mar 19, 2017 - By Scott Akanewich, Sports EditorRiverton's Hunter Bradshaw finished in the top 25 at the national archery championships in Las Vegas.
Experts often time the release between their heartbeats for maximum accuracy.
Riverton High School junior Hunter Bradshaw is well on his way to that level of expertise as an archer.
The 17-year old Riverton resident competed in the National Field Archery Association championships at the South Point Casino in Las Vegas on Feb. 10-12 and finished 24th overall against a field of over 100 competitors in the 15-17 year old age division.
Young American archers competed with talented youth from the Netherlands, Iraq, Mexico and Japan, along with many other European nations in an international field.
The competition consisted of 10 rounds with three arrows per round over two days.
A perfect score is 300 -- meaning 30 bullseyes.
Bradshaw hit the bullseye 23 times and the nine-point ring seven times on the first day and scored a 293,finishing the opening day of the competition in 12th place.
His second day tally was 291 for an overall score of 584 in the tournament.
"There was a kid that shot a 300 the first day and a 299 the next," said Bradshaw, of New Jersey's Tyler Heritage, who finished first in the 15-17 division. "He was the winner."
Bradshaw shoots a Hoyt Defiant 34 bow and uses Gold Tip model Triple X Pro arrows.
Bradshaw started shooting when he was 10 years old with his father Trapper Bradshaw.
"My friend, Levi Coyle, got me into 4-H and I started shooting," said Hunter.
"Wyoming 4-H has enabled Hunter to be in a league setting and to be able to shoot in competition," said Trapper Bradshaw. "4-H offers a few of the select kids who shoot the best to go on and shoot at the state level and 4-H pays their expenses."
4-H shooting features paper targets as the competition in Las Vegas had, but also offers 3-D shooting with lifelike targets. Hunter was first in paper and second in 3D at state.
It's a familiar sport for the Bradshaw family, with younger brother Drake, a Riverton seventh-grader and mom Britney shooting, as well.
Trapper Bradshaw started at 17 as a teenager in Idaho.
"My dad (Craig Bradshaw of Idaho Falls) kind of shot, with a recurve," said Trapper Bradshaw. "It was more of an opportunity to hunt.We used it to extend the season.You get a little extra time."
Archery season opens before rifle season, offering early hunting opportunities to the intrepid archer.
"Now as I'm growing a little older, with the boys shooting at more of a competitive level, we've all transitioned into that a little more," said Trapper Bradshaw. "As a family, we shoot 3-D tournaments all over the state."
For Hunter Bradshaw, archery is more than just a sport, he said.
"It's fun -- it's just fun to do. Having that feeling of the perfect shot every time is amazing," he said. "It's relaxing and I love the competition."
Hunter Bradshaw plans to continue the sport for a long time.
"I want to compete professionally," he said. "I'm going to try to get some sponsors soon."
Archery is not an inexpensive sport, but in comparison to rodeo, trap shooting, motocross and other outdoor sports, archery is not as costly.
"It does cost a lot of money, but it's worth it if you're willing to put in the time," said Hunter Bradshaw. "I have $3,000 into my bow, but it's worth it all."
Hunter Bradshaw also competes in track and field at Riverton High School, is in 4-H Leadership and is an avid hunter and fisherman.
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