By John Hayes / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The London Olympics spotlighted some of the world’s best archers. But not all of them.
About 1,000 bowhunters from more than 20 countries will converge on the aptly named town of Champion, Westmoreland County, Wednesday through Saturday when Seven Springs Mountain Resort hosts the 2012 McKenzie International Bowhunters Organization World Championship and Archery Festival.
It’s a high-stakes series of 30 shooting classes including 24 ranges, some 400 life-size 3D targets and $200,000 in cash and prizes, as well as bragging rights to the title of world champion.
Olympic archery, like most bow and arrow contests, is a challenge of marked distances and set shooting. The International Bowhunters Organization (IBO) circuit sends archers afield in complicated simulated-hunting situations. Teams of four to five shooters are assigned to three ranges per day and shoot from designated spots. Instead of scoring on targets of concentric circles, IBO archers face life-size foam replicas of indigenous and exotic animals with scoring rings over the anatomically correct locations of vital organs.
“At distances of 20 to 50 yards, you can’t see the rings you’re shooting at,” said IBO president Ken Watkins, a bowhunter for 42 years. “You have to have a good working knowledge of hunting and of the animals. There’s an educational element to our competitions. We want the hunter to learn what a good ethical shot would be — not shooting through brush or too far. The last time we did a poll, 97 percent of [IBO archers] hunted.” Click Link Below For Full Story!