June 22, 2002
Victoria, TX

The 2002 Texas Youth Open, aka The Texas Top Gun
(Photos on this page courtesy of Tom Barker, Tourney Organizer)

It really should be called the "Texas Top Fun", as almost 60 youngsters and their families from all over the state came to Victoria for a fun shoot.

Under hot, but not as hot as last year, conditions these young archers shot a 72 arrow ranking round on Saturday.

After the first 36 arrows and by unanimous consent, the group moved from 3 arrow ends to 6 arrow ends so they could get to the grub and swim at the lake sooner.

The local TV station showed up and "Tournament Organizer" Chelsea Barker did a fabulous job of explaining what was going on. TSAA archers and coaches Rick Stonebraker, Staten Holmes, Jennifer Holmes, Ronnie Bennett, Adam Guggisberg, Ben Dybala, Ed Debee, and Jim Krueger offered valuable advice and coaching tips to the eager youngsters.

Danny Miller and Lee Farias had a feast for kings waiting for the anxious young people. A meal of hamburgers, sausage on stick, hot dogs or chicken breasts was quickly consumed along with chips, salsa, and roasted corn on the cob. The private lifeguards watched over the kids as they swam, came back for seconds and sometimes thirds. Sliced watermelon was waiting for everyone once the lifeguards shift ended at 8:00.

The Barkers retired to their home to rehabilitate many youthfully filled in scoresheets and set the brackets for Sunday. Instead of the originally planned double elimination, the large number and diversity of skill of the archers shifted the organizers to a modified round robin. All archers were assigned a handicap [(120-ranking score/6) * 80%] for the head to head matches. The youngsters were flighted by distance and ranking round score into groups of 5 or 6 archers.

Practice on Sunday morning was augmented with a long shot novelty shoot that was so popular that it had to be continued after the round robin. Targets were set up at 30, 50 and 70 meters with a Stanley Hips smiley face in the center and the closest to the center winning a prize donated by Kreuger Archery Supplies and Ben Dybala. Several of the adults sponsored youth archers other than their own kids in the "3 shots for $1" contest. Once the novelty shoot could be shut down the archers then shot 5 round robins matches against the other members of their group. Scores plus handicaps were used to decide the matches, with an extra 10 points to the overall score for each win.

The handicaps seemed a little hefty with some much improved shooting on Sunday vs. Saturday. While some said the wind was less, many observers noticed the application of some of the things the coaches and TSAA shooters had been suggesting to the kids and that was a significant factor in the improved scores. Of course there were some good-natured accusations of sandbagging from the day before.

The accuracy of the handicaps was validated when there were 8 (!) one-arrow shoot-offs through the course of the morning. Three matches took more than one shootoff to decide the bonus 10 points. So the head to head experience objective of the tournament was well met. In the junior/cadet group there were three groups of 5 meaning that every round, one archer had a bye.

TSAA President Rick Stonebraker brought his bow and challenged the byes to king of the mat. Anyone that beat Mr. Rick with their handicap got a free soda. Shooting director, Tom Barker, was very stingy with Mr. Rick's handicap so about half the time Tom had to pay off. The highlight of this fun was when Trey Reagan beat Mr. Rick straight up on a very well-shot and entertaining match.

After all the shooting, ice cream cones were served to the archers while the adults took down the field, added up score sheets and prepared the award table. The top five archers at each distance received a plaque while the other participants received "prizes and merchandise" from the local archery retailers, South Texas Archery in Victoria, J&J Archery in Port Lavaca, Krueger Archery Supplies in Blessing and Ben Dybala's Gun Shop in Bay City.

All in all, the "Texas Top Fun" for 2002 was enjoyed by all and the kids are much better prepared for both the State 4H Target Tourney next week and TSAA state in two weeks. The archery gods smiled on us this weekend and it was exemplified when two mats were blown over full of arrows and the only casualty was an aluminum gold eagle arrow and a nock.

A special thanks to all the parents that jumped in and helped with concessions, score keeping, range set up and take down, with equipment repair, and assisted the youngest archers at the targets.  I think we made a difference with some young people.     Tom Barker, Tourney Director

From the President:

For anyone who missed this event or any kids event, it was fun. I often said that it is much more fun to shoot archery than it is too watch archery. Well, I was wrong because if you attend a kids only tournament, you can do more than watch, you can get involved and just by bringing the kids to a shoot is already being involved. I get a major kick out of watching and helping the kids, especially if I am able to offer one piece of advice that helps them improve.

I never started shooting archery until I was in my 20's so I didn't have the luxury of shooting as a kid and frankly, my parents could not afford to take me for a weekend. So for you kids out there who read this, thank your parents for taking the time to help you and pay attention to you and encourage you to participate. I am sure they are glad to do it but be sure and thank them. I wish I was as fortunate as many of you kids so when I am around you, I am very jealous of you because you are doing something I was never able to do. Texas archery kids are the best and Texas archery is the best. And if you ever forget to thank the Tournament Director, please do so because they do a lot of work for you, a lot of work. So from me to the kids - thank you for attending. And from me to Tom Barker - thank you very much for all the hard work and the time that it takes to put on such an event. We all appreciate it very much. See you all in two weeks for the state championship.

Rick Stonebraker


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Chelsea Barker, Tournament Coordinator
























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