By John Simeone
They said it couldn’t be done. “ You will never get the Crossbow legalized in Louisiana.”
There is a certain pride in a job well done in any sport, and so I would like to express my pride and appreciation to the Crossbow Archers who came to the First ACF State Crossbow Championship ever held in the United States. Sanctioned by the American Crossbow Federation, Fort Polk Louisiana was the starting point for future events, with the world class Shooting Complex being able to host any shooting sport event you can imagine.
For six years ACF Louisiana has fought the good fight to get our hunters legal for hunting in Louisiana, now after the first year we celebrated with six generations of all around hunters, from all over the country. Kade Parker, my young counterpart of the Uncle John Outdoors hunting adventures asked me if I was going to shoot today. “No, you take my crossbow and arrows and pass it around to any new shooter that wants to compete.” I had already won my match.
Then the fun started in the Men’s, Woman’s and Disabled Hunter Divisions. Scott Ward a successful big game hunter and wheeling sportsman, drove all the way from Tuscaloosa, Alabama to fire the first shot down range, it was a dead center 10 that started the pace. Then came Jason Thomas, fresh off an African Safari where he and his family must have broken every ACF world record with a crossbow.
It turned into a real dual between two master crossbowmen. No physical handicapped could get these guys down, they were serious. In the end in true sportsmanship Jason edged out Scott by a few points, although if the 3-D targets had been real, there would have been enough back strap to feed the Army.
With the beautiful and big custom trophies from Cryer Sports of Leesville Louisiana, if you placed in this State Championship you had a real hot looking trophy to take home. Just for the record, Jason got to take home as additional first prize, a Scorpyd Crossbow, donated personally by the true inventor of the reverse crossbow, Jim Kempf.
Next was what will be henceforth known in crossbow history as “The Battle of the Lady Hawks.” Just coming off her win at the 2009 Top Gun Challenge, Sandy Moore lined up with teen age basketball star Nikki Manes. To this day I will never be able to explain this. Sandy had plenty of gun experience but Nikki had never shot anything before. Kade Parker and I just shook our heads every time the Lady Hawks cut loose, both shooting my Horton HD-175, as they both kept their shots mostly in the 10 ring all the way out to 40 yards. Somewhere along the line Aunt Sandy dropped a couple of points and Nikki won. She was very happy when she found out she just won a Parker “Pink Stinger” crossbow donated directly from the Parker Archery Company. If you haven’t noticed Nikki just might be your next outdoor super model.
Now before I go any further, let me tell you about the volunteer soldiers that took some of their rare time off to help out with our wounded warriors and wheeling sportsmen. I just casually mentioned I could use a little muscle the day before the match and Justin Bennett showed up with his Army buddies, Tom Marinak and Jason Hyry. Now with these guys around, if you were in a wheel chair, all you had to do was merely start in the direction you wanted to go and suddenly you were already there. I think the best part was the fact no one really needed a cocking devise, these guys just bare handed all the crossbows just to save time.
When the men’s division started none of these guys had their own crossbows so retired Navy CPO, Allan Wilhelm of Grand Lake Louisiana and me said, “Look guys if you want to shoot just use ours.” This was no problem as out of the whole match I only had one damaged arrow and Allan lost one vane off an arrow.
Allan did however want a new scope before the match, so the pit crew at our oldest outdoor sponsor Star Gun and Archery of Leesville got him back into action before the division started.
Kade Parker, who has won so many shooting awards with the rifle and bow made his first tournament with horizontal archery equipment. Surprise, Allen Wilhelm came in with a higher score with the Barnett with the new scope and then our real GI Joe, Justin Bennett of Fort Polk Louisiana, made sure no Navy guy took first place on an Army Post. This was just pure fun while Justin got to take home a PSE Copperhead crossbow donated by Star Gun and Archery of Leesville.
Bow use and safety was demonstrated for all to see. I think I will rest now knowing that the combined effort of these folks made sweet the Louisiana Crossbow…
Therefore, special thanks goes to Dan Hendricks American Crossbow Federation Horizontal Bowhunter Magazine, Leone Russo Crossbow Connection Magazine, Mona Hayden Louisiana Road Trips Magazine, Jon Ballard Foremost Hunting.com, Lynn Hayes Crossbowhunting.net, Ft Polk MWR, James Callaway and the Range Staff at Ft Polk Shooting Complex.
Prize Donations by Jim Kempf-Scorpyd Crossbows, Parker Archery Company, and Star Gun and Archery of Leesville Louisiana. Trophies by Cryer Sports of Leesville.
Special Recognition to the Beadaptive Company LLC, makers of the finest equipment for disabled hunters.
And to a Band of Brothers
JRTC and 10th Mountain
United State Army
Fort Polk, Louisiana
Pass it on…