Arnold is world champion archer
About 30 years ago, Barry Arnold of rural Osage picked up bow hunting from his father for sporting purposes. Ten years later, he started competing, and this month, he took world title in unmarked 3-D archery.
That's not the first title Arnold has won though. He has about 25 state titles, and last year placed second in nationals in field archery, his chosen category of shooting, and his proudest archery achievement. He will be traveling to Pennsylvania next month to go for the No. 1 spot.
From the beginning though, it started with "my dad and bow hunting. In the beginning, it was all about bow hunting."
He became a part of the local archery club, Heart O'Lakes Bow Hunters, and practiced indoor and outdoor archery. He said he prefers the outdoor ranges because they are more challenging at 80-plus yards in length, compared to 20 yard indoors.
Traveling to different states for competitions, Arnold traveled to Yankton, S.D. -- headquarters of the National Field Archery Association -- to compete for the world title.
"For a world shoot, it doesn't get any closer than that," he said of the South Dakota location.
He shot for several days on a course that ranged from zero to 60 yards of animal targets. Twenty-one countries were represented at the competition. There were about 300 people at the competition, and Arnold competed against about 20 of them for his title. During the competition, he won the Veterans Compound Invite and then proceeded to win the Men's Senior Bow Hunter Free Style competition.
"They usually come to win, so the competition is there."
The international competition wasn't one Arnold was practicing for, or even expecting to win, instead it was a "fast sign up and shoot it" type of competition.
"I really didn't know where I was," he said in terms of how good he was doing in the competition. "Since I don't practice (3-D archery), I didn't know how I was doing, just that I was winning."
In the next couple weeks, Arnold will be attending other competitions in preparation of the national competition in Pennsylvania, which he said is even harder competition than the international one.
"The level of competition is higher here, (I have) to be that much better to win," he said.
To get that good, Arnold practices a couple hours a day in the summer. Owning his own business, (Barry's Custom Cabinets) allows him more flexibility, and after his wife died last year of cancer, it has provided something to take his mind off of his loss.
"I'm able to practice more," he said, "at a level to compete."
Arnold said he was more involved in archery in the '90s, before getting back into it this past year. The one thing that has changed for him is his age, moving him into a different bracket.
"It (adult) was tougher than this senior stuff," he said with a laugh.
In his yard down the hill from his business, Arnold has targets set for practice. He has several bows set depending on what he's shooting.
"I'm constantly messing with equipment," he said.
Over the next couple weeks it will be practice, practice, practice in order to win that nationals title in field archery. And this competition he'll know more than just if he's winning or not.
"It just developed," he said of his talent for archery. "If I have a knack for something, I just pursue it."