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If you don't know who John Demmer III and Rick Stonebraker are, you're missing out on some fine barebow shooting.
These two archers - who prefer shooting recurve bows without sights, clickers or stabilizers - are proof that archers shooting barebow style can be as fiercely competitive as their recurve and compound counterparts.
Demmer began at the ITAA 18 Meter and 25 Meter Indoor State Championships in Sycamore, Illinois, where he broke three records in a single weekend. At 18 meters, Demmer shot a 565 out of a possible 600, reportedly breaking a record that had stood for 40 years, originally set by Rod Hoover.
At the 25 meter distance, Demmer put up a score of 568, breaking a record set by James Shaw 38 years ago. Demmer's combined 18 meter and 25 meter scores also set a new national record, besting a 1977 record also set by Shaw.
But John Demmer wasn't finished by a long shot.
A week later, the Pennsylvania-based archer arrived in Fiskdale, Massachusetts for the U.S. National Indoor Championships, ready to play. Over the course of two days, Demmer shot an incredible 573 at 18 meters, followed by a 560, surpassing his own 60 arrow score, and setting a new one for 120 arrows.
Then, there's Rick Stonebraker: tournament organizer, esteemed competition judge, and top recurve and barebow archer for many years.
Both of Stonebraker's records were set in the Masters barebow division, one at 25 meters, the other at 18 - and that, shot in the high-pressure environment of the U.S. National Indoor Championships. Stonebraker delivered a score of 538 during the Indoor Nationals, toppling the 18 meter record set by Mike Frizzell in 2010.
When asked what he enjoys most about barebow archery, Stonebraker doesn't pull any punches: "Recurve took a lot of my time to be proficient and these days, the working class person cannot keep up with the youngsters who are sponsored. Moving into the masters division is wonderful, as we no longer have to deal with those youngsters. We are with our peers," he explains.
"However, once turning into a 'master,' I had no desire to do the same thing in the masters division that I did in the adult division," Stonebraker notes. "I don't have to devote as much time to practice and I have a lot less equipment to deal with. Because I was once 'proficient' with a recurve, I have an idea of what good-to-great scores are. I know it is not reasonable, nor practical, to emulate the same scores with a barebow. It is a challenge and I am enjoying archery as much now as when I was in contention. When I pop a 30 with the barebow, that is cool!"
For more information on how you can compete in the barebow division at USA Archery events, check out this recent press release.
Cover photo: John Demmer, credit: http://www.fieldarcher.org. Inset photo: Rick Stonebraker, credit http://www.texasarchery.org.
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