August 01, 2002 11:00 pm
BOW LIFT: Rob Alexander, left, and Randy Carter, both of La Grande, ride the Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort ski lift to the start of the Super Shoot competition on Saturday. (Observer photos/Dick Mason).
BOW LIFT: Rob Alexander, left, and Randy Carter, both of La Grande, ride the Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort ski lift to the start of the Super Shoot competition on Saturday. (Observer photos/Dick Mason).

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

ANTHONY LAKES — Joseph Stella of Reno, Nev., spoke like someone who had hit the jackpot.

Stella is one of about 250 people who competed at the Super Shoot 3D archery tournament Saturday and Sunday at Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort. Few traveled further than Stella to take part.

"Six-hundred miles is a long way to come but it was worth it,'' Stella said.

"It was great shoot. They did a phenomenal job of putting the course together.''

Archers fired at 80 targets on a sometimes rugged course. Archers were provided rides on the ski lift to the top of the Anthony Lakes area.

Archers fired at Styrofoam wildlife targets placed in positions meant to challenge their skills and simulate a real hunting environment.

"It is set up so that you really have to think,'' Doug Kunkle of Enterprise said Sunday.

Many shots reflected the steepness of the terrain.

"There are more vertical, up and down shots,'' said Randy Carter of La Grande. "Most of us don't practice these types of shots.''

The course was unforgiving at times. Many targets were in front of rocks. Those who missed the target often found their arrows shattered.

"When you hit a rock, parts of the arrow go everywhere,'' said Scott Wilson of La Grande.

Wilson is among those who lost arrows. He started the shoot with seven arrows but ended with three. The lost arrows did not dim Wilson's enthusiasm for the event.

"The surroundings and the setting are gorgeous,'' Wilson said.

Words similar to this were echoed by many other archers including Roy Booth of La Grande.

"The scenery is something else,'' Booth said.

Archers also like the challenging nature of the course. Wilson noted that several targets required archers to fire from difficult angles.

Angles pose a challenge to archers because they make it difficult to judge distances. Calculating distances is critical for bow hunters since they have to make quick estimations before firing at actual deer and elk.

Many of people at last weekend's tournament were honing their skills for the upcoming deer and elk bow seasons. The bowmen welcomed the opportunity to compete at Anthony Lakes.

"The targets are about as close to an actual hunting situation as you can get,'' said Dick Stiles of Estacada. "...In the last 30 years this is one of the best shoots I've ever been to.''

Kunkle said that the quality of the course and its realism is a credit to the people who put the course together.

"A lot of time was put into it. (The course) was like real life,'' Kunkle said.

Norm Paullus of the Grande Ronde Bowmen played a key role in designing the course. He spent about a week setting up targets.

"When I was setting up the course I looked for shots that would occur naturally,'' Paullus said.

The course was designed so archers would not have to make many uphill treks. Still, walking the course was a physical challenge because of the altitude and the terrain.

"I was sucking air a little at the top,'' Stiles said.

In addition to mountainous terrain, another feature of the course was the "money spot'' targets. Those who hit them could win up to $300. Archers won about $3,000 by hitting money spots.

There were no supervisors at the target sites since competitors were on the honor system. Maryann Correll of Centerville, Idaho, found this refreshing. She noted that at many other tournaments judges monitor targets.

"It is neat that they trust everybody,'' Correll said.

The numerous targets at the tournament included 3D replicas of buffalo, coyotes, bears, goats, white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, bears, turkeys and other wildlife.

The Super Shoot, an annual event, is put on by the Grande Ronde Bowmen and the Elkhorn Archers of Baker City. The clubs received assistance from Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort and many area sponsors. This is the first year the event has been conducted at Anthony Lakes.

Many of the competitors at last weekend's event did not know each other before the tournament but said they became fast friends. A special camaraderie exists between archers.

"It is fabulous, the whole (archery) fraternity is the best,'' Stella said.