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February 13, 2015

Ryland Hartman: Barebow Champion and JOAD Olympian

Meet Ryland Hartman. This young archer took the barebow world by storm last summer when he made the World Archery Field Championships team, and achieved his Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) bronze Olympian award, no small feat for an archer who doesn't use a sight or stabilizers, just his bow, arrows and an arrow rest.

We caught up with Ryland recently to talk about how this barebow archer got his start, what drew him to that style of shooting, and what his goals are for the future.

How did you get started in archery, and how are you currently involved? 

I got started in archery through the 4H Shooting Sports project in the fall of 2012.  I was a little reluctant to try archery because I was really enjoying 4H rifle competitions but after the first time I picked up a bow and shot an arrow I was sold. I still do other 4H projects, but archery is my favorite.

Soon after completing that first 4H archery season, I joined Colorado County's T.H.E. JOAD Club which is coached by (2004 Olympian) John Magera and Michael Hollmann. I really enjoy being a member of T.H.E. JOAD Club and we shoot both indoor and outdoor seasons. Coach Magera has helped me make huge improvements in a relatively short period of time. If it wasn't for the time Coach Magera has given me, I doubt I would have come to like it as much as I do. 

What do you love most about shooting your bow? 

When the arrow goes where I point it (because that doesn't always happen). 

Why did you choose barebow-style shooting, instead of shooting Olympic recurve or a compound bow?  

I started with Barebow because that's what was available in 4H and and just stuck with it. It's --challenging but very rewarding when you do well. There weren't many people shooting barebow in JOAD though, and I liked the novelty of doing something different. My coach would joke with me, calling me Legolas.

I plan on shooting archery the rest of my life and hope to coach one day, so I'm sure I will take the time soon to work with both recurve and compound bows. 

Please tell us a bit about how you started competing, and why. 

I started doing 4-H county and district competitions and found them to be really fun. I like being competitive and shooting against other people. It's also nice to meet new people at tournaments.  That first year, I found out that the Texas State Field tournament is held just a few miles from our house.

While I had never shot field before, I just couldn't pass up the chance to compete so close to home. Coach Magera gave me the field basics and I had a great time. As it turns out, Field Archery is my favorite kind of archery, so far.  I wish I had known about archery a lot sooner. 

You traveled to Croatia for the World Archery Field Championships this past summer. Please tell us a bit about that trip.  

Croatia was great. Pretty much everything was a new experience for me except the shooting. It was fun being with so many other archers from all over the US and the world. As for the qualifying courses, the scenery was beautiful and if it wasn't for the rain, it would have been a lot better.  

The finals made me a little nervous, knowing so many people were watching and having the giant jumbo-tron right in your face. but I felt pretty comfortable with the targets and it was a very nice course to shoot. And getting the Bronze medal was pretty exciting.  

Regarding out of the competition, Zagreb was a neat place. It and the surrounding countryside was very beautiful. There truly wasn't anywhere we went I didn't enjoy, although the Cathedral was one of my favorites. 

Congratulations on earning your JOAD Olympian award! What advice do you have to share with other archers who are trying to earn their JOAD pins? 

 Compete with yourself and not necessarily other people. Find the average of your own scores and shoot for that and then work for gradual improvement. Throughout the most recent outdoor season I improved my average scores until I got my Bronze Olympian. 

What are your goals in archery, and what steps are you taking to achieve them? 

Nothing is out of the question. In the short term, I do hope to get to try my hand at 3D this year and I'm really looking forward to shooting at Nationals in Alabama this summer.  

I plan to stay with archery for the rest of my life. I think I will probably coach one day. I did get certified as an Assistant Coach with 4H earlier this year so that I can help out with the younger kids.

I like how archery can be a family sport. My younger brother started shooting when I did and my Dad decided to start shooting about a year ago. And recently my Mom got us to put a bow together for her. It's nice to have an activity that includes everyone in the family.

Interested in trying archery? Check out USA Archery's nationwide archery programs. You can also find a club or connect with a coach.


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