Cylie Lagao, 11, of Baker City has already won the Oregon Bowhunters’ annual Triple Crown challenge. Lagao won the first leg in Bend in February, the second leg held at Sherwood in June and the 3-D shoot held at Eagle Point. (Courtesy photo)
Baker City archer making name for herself at early age
BAKER CITY — The first time Cylie Lagao hefted a bow, pulled back the string and felt that distinctive twang tingle in her fingers as the arrow flew, she was hooked.
That was a few years ago.
Today, having turned 11 just a week ago, Cylie is an experienced competitive shooter.
And an award-winning one.
She will join dozens of archers on the slopes at Anthony Lakes Ski Area this weekend to aim at 3-D targets in the annual Eastern Oregon Super Shoot.
Cylie was browsing with her mom, Heidi, at the Baker County Fair a few summers ago when she noticed the booth for the Elkhorn Archers, Baker County’s archery club.
“I wanted to try something different,” Cylie said.
She talked with Bob Reedy, Elkhorn Archers president, and another club member.
Then Cylie fired her first arrow.
“After one shot I was really into it,” she said.
“I really liked it the first time.”
Cylie, whose grandparents are Bill and Colleen Taylor of Baker City, went back to the Elkhorn Archers booth at the next two fairs.
(The Taylors, who are Heidi Lagao’s parents, are fair fixtures; Colleen recently retired as the longtime fair manager.)
The next real milestone, though, came at Christmas 2012.
One of Cylie’s gifts was a Mathews Genesis compound bow.
In hot pink.
Less than two months later she was competing at an indoor archery event in Bend that’s the first leg of the Oregon Bowhunters’ annual Triple Crown challenge.
Cylie, then 10, won the club level, which is for shooters 12 and younger.
On June 29-30 she won the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Outdoor Field Championships at Sherwood.
Those two victories clinched the Triple Crown championship for Cylie.
But she went ahead and won the third leg anyway — the State 3-D Championships last weekend, July 20-21, at Eagle Point.
Cylie will receive her Triple Crown award in February 2014.
For now, though, she’s back in Baker County, not only to attend the Fair, but to compete in the Super Shoot Saturday and Sunday.
The annual event is sponsored by Elkhorn Archers and the Grande Ronde Bowmen of La Grande.
Cylie will compete with her Genesis bow, but she’s also eager to get started mastering the Mission Craze bow that was a present on her 11th birthday, July 18.
The new bow should be simpler to use because Cylie will employ a release, a device that holds the bow string when it’s pulled back.
With the Genesis bow Cylie uses only her fingers to grip the bowstring, a more challenging method.
“She’s always been very consistent, very steady,” Heidi said of her daughter.
Cylie’s success as an archer has prompted changes in her family’s travel schedule, Heidi said.
She said her family used to travel often to rodeos when Cylie’s older sister, Codie, who’s 17, was the queen of the Haines Stampede court in 2011.
“Now, we go to archery events,” Heidi said.
She and her husband, Philip, have five daughters, of whom Cylie is the youngest: Cymbrie, 13; Codie; Kelsey, 20; and Angel, 22.
Heidi grew up in Baker City and graduated from Baker High School in 1994.
She lives part of the year in Sisters, where Cylie,
Cymbrie and Codie attend school, but the family spends summers and other vacations in Baker City.