At the urging of a friend, Bill Petransky bought his first bow 37 years ago.
"A buddy of mine kind of talked me into in," the 61-year-old said, before adding with a laugh, "and he's been trying to beat me ever since."
Actually, just about everyone has - though very few have succeeded.
Bill Petransky took up archery 37 years ago and has been capturing titles ever since.
P-J photo by Scott Reagle
A champion at his former club in 12 of the 14 years in which he competed, Petransky, then competing in the 50- to 60-year-old senior class, won the Outdoor World Championships in 2004 and had also captured, along the way, a National Triple Crown (awarded to the competitor with the most combined points in shoots at three different locations throughout the northeast), another World Outdoor Championships in 2005 at West Virginia and three Indoor World Championships.
Correction, make that four Indoor World Championships.
In mid-January, the Frewsburg resident, competing for the first time in the Masters Class (60- to 70-year-old Division), traveled to Cleveland and claimed yet another archery title at the International Bowhunters Organization 3-D Indoor World Championships, held in conjunction with the Cleveland Outdoor Adventure Show at the IX Center.
"It was a good feeling," Petransky said of his victory, which qualified him for the next Indoor World Championships that are slated to be held in August at Seven Springs Ski Resort in Pennsylvania. "I was pretty confident, and you just know when you're shooting well.
"I started figuring out the yardages better, and went from there."
Shooting at 3-D foam animals, each placed at unknown distances ranging from 5 to 45 yards, Petransky tallied 15 perfect shots and racked up a total score of 393 points, besting nine other competitors from places such as Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
The runnerup, John Davidson from Slippery Rock, fell 19 points and five bullseyes short of Petransky's winning tally.
"The targets can be anywhere from zero to 45 yards, but we actually only had two that were under 30 yards," Petransky said, "so they handed it to us pretty hard. You've got to be able to judge (distance), and (I was able to do that) because of a lot of practice and experience."
Thirty-seven years and weekly competitions at His Way Archers (he shoots on Thursdays during the winter) will give you that kind of practice and experience necessary to win, and win often, as he does.
What has kept him dedicated all these years, however, is his love of competition.
"I'm a pretty competitive person," he said, "in most everything I do."
A Master Class World Championship victory now under his belt, Petransky is already looking ahead and expecting similarly solid showings at future competitions.
Just a few days ago, in fact, he was already making hotel reservations for the first leg of this year's National Triple Crown.
"I'm looking forward to doing well in this class," he said, "now that I don't have to shoot against those young 50-year-olds anymore."
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Along with Petransky, five other Christian Bowhunters members took part in the competition in Cleveland, which featured some 480 shooters in all classes.
Jim Ingerson of Russell, Pa., was first in MBR and Dave Ingerson Sr., of Celoron was seventh in the Senior Hunters Class.
Jim Livak of Dewittville was 12th in the MBO Division with a class of 135 shooters.
Tracy Paxton of Jamestown was 13th in the Hunter Class and Bill Kiendl of Bemus Point held the same position in the Senior Hunter Class.