By Jay Young
ELLICOTTVILLE - Local archers have a long history of success in national competitions, but they may have surprised even themselves at this year's IBO World Bowhunting Championships at Holiday Valley Resort earlier this month.
Bill Petransky of Frewsburg, Bill Kiendl of Bemus Point and Jim Marsh of Jamestown could not have done a better job of representing His Way Archers of Jamestown at one of the biggest archery events in world.
Kiendl took home the "Best of the Best" event and claimed the $1,000 purse after fighting his way through single-elimination shoots against the best archers from every IBO class. He also took seventh in his regular event, the Senior Hunter 50-60 division.
Meanwhile, Petransky took home the World Championship in the Masters Bowhunter 60-70 Division with a 12-point victory while Marsh claimed fourth in the Master Hunter 60-70.
In the end, it may have been their local connection that helped push the trio to success.
"We all shoot together, and I think that is what gives us an edge," said Kiendl. "This is a national-level event, and it was really neat to have this thing in our backyard and to have a couple of us do this in our backyard. It shows the commitment to the sport that some of the local archers have.''
In addition to his most recent World Championship, Petransky also took home the Outdoor World Championships in 2004 and 2005 and has won three Indoor World Championships.
"I was pretty optimistic that he was going to win it," Kiendl said of his friend's victory in Ellicottville. "We work hard at it, I've been doing this competitively for 10 years and Bill has been doing it forever. I attribute a lot of my success to what he and other archers have taught me.''
Even after taking seventh in his regular event, Kiendl could not have been happier with his victory in the "Best of the Best" shoot.
The aptly named event pits the Triple Crown event winners from each class in a single-elimination shoot to see who takes home the overall title. To start, 17 national champions from their respective classes are put into groups before being whittled down to a final pair.
For Kiendl, who is no stranger to competition, just getting a chance to shoot in the final pairing was one of the most exciting moments of his archery career.
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"I've been in a lot of pressure tournaments over the years, but this was by far the most pressure shot that I have ever had to make," Kiendl recalled.
The most impressive feat was that Kiendl was able to make it through so many rounds shooting against different competitors. On his way to the finals, he outshot winners from the Female Hunter Class, Standard Hunter as well as traditional shooters who use older-style, recurve bows.
"As you eliminate the competitors, you move on, and then it came down to the finals with myself and a Senior Open Class shooter from La Grange, Indiana- Bob Heltel," Kiendl said.
Entering that final round with $1,000 dollars on the line, Kiendl admitted that the odds were not in his favor.
"He uses a long stabilizer, adjustable sight that he can move for yardage, so in all probability (I) shouldn't be able to compete against him," said Kiendl, who was using older equipment.
But Kiendl did have one key advantage entering that final round - he won the coin toss and elected to have Heltel shoot first.
After Heltel's turn, Kiendl made the most of his opportunity.
"I stopped for a second, re-evaluated the shot and estimated the yardage and I made a perfect shot in the 11 ring (bullseye) to win it. It was unbelievable."
Of course, Kiendl made that final shot in front of 500 people, using a bow with fixed pin sights, no magnification and a short stabilizer not used by most professional shooters.
"I swear you could hear a pin drop before I made that shot," Kiendl said.
Holiday Valley has now hosted the World Championships five times from 2008-2014, and continues to have archers from around the region perform well in their own backyards.
Also joining the regional winners was Richard Nollinger of North East, Pa., who took home the Senior Masters Class (70-and-older) by a single point.
The members of His Way Archers would like to invite anyone with an interest in archery to come enjoy their indoor facility at 31 Water Street in Jamestown, which is open through the winter. Interested parties may also call 487-2997 or visit www.hiswayarchers.com for more information.