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Lanesville man taking bow nationally

Lanesville man taking bow nationally
Lanesville man taking bow nationally
Preparing for the 2007 Summer National Senior Games to be held in Louisville, Tom Anderson fires an arrow toward a target 40 yards away. The Lanesville resident regularly practices in his front yard. Anderson will participate in the barebow recurve competition starting next week. (Photo by Brian Smith)

A passion rekindled just seven years ago.
As a five-year-old boy, Tom Anderson picked up his first bow and arrow, following in his father’s footsteps. Archery eventually became a hobby for the young man.
When he married, he put his bow away, and turned his attention to art such as woodworking, paintings and drawings.
When his wife, Joyce, passed away in 1999, Anderson returned to his youth and picked up a bow and arrow after he saw some guys shooting.
Each day, when possible, Anderson takes his bow off a custom-built rack, straps on an armguard, assembles some arrows and heads out to his front yard.
A Lanesville resident since 1979, Anderson has worked a beaten path of dirt from his front yard, to a target 60 yards away. The target, regulation size, has taken a tattered pounding near the bulls-eye, and it’s just a few weeks old.
‘Not too many people can get a 60-yarder in their front yard and not have their neighbors complain about it,’ he said.
Anderson is gearing toward competition for the 2007 Summer National Senior Games which will be held in Louisville starting next week. Anderson will compete in Barebow Recurve, a more traditional archery shot fired without the use of sights or stabilizers.
Just qualifying for the national event had the quiet 60-year-old nervous.
‘Most nervous I’ve ever been at an event,’ he admitted. ‘I went up to Indianapolis to qualify for this thing and my knees actually shook. I got up on the line. All I had to do was fling one arrow down the line and sit down and I would have gone on. But my knees were just knockin’. That is what the mind does for you.’
Anderson was the only competitor in his age class, 60 to 64, at the Indiana State Games last year. To qualify for the nationals, an entrant must win their state games to move on. With Louisville just a 30-minute drive from home, this will be another opportunity for Anderson to meet new and old faces while trying to nail the bulls-eye.
The competition certainly isn’t Anderson’s first at this level. He competed in the International Field Archery Association Indoor Games last year, which were also held in Louisville, and for him, it was a nerve-wrecking experience.
‘I was the only American in my class,’ he said of the longbow competition. ‘The World Champion was there, so I didn’t fare too well.’
Similar to other national competitions, there will be plenty of competitors and spectators around.
‘You can’t worry about who you shoot against,’ he said. ‘It’s in the nerves and the mind. When you have a line of 125 people, shoulder to shoulder, the mental aspect comes into play.’
As a preference, Anderson likes shooting longbows without the use of sights. For him, it is more of a challenge, a traditional style that also keeps him up at night.
‘I’m out there at dawn, because I think of something at night thinking, ‘Oh, man if I just change this.’ I’ve got to get out there and test this out,’ he said. ‘(I) get out everyday when I get a chance.’
Anderson won’t know what time he competes until he registers, but he will practice Sunday before the event begins. Competition will take place at the Kentucky Exposition Center’s old Cardinal Stadium on Monday and Tuesday. He will compete against men in his 60- to 64-year-old age range from Florida, Missouri, New Hampshire and other states.
He almost didn’t register or compete for the senior games until a friend told him about the organization adding barebow recurve to the list of competitions.
Overall competition at the Summer games run from June 22 through July 7 in the Louisville area.
Retired from Zerox in 1989, Anderson belongs to many archery clubs and associations, including the Indiana Traditional Bow Hunters Association and Gun World in Harrison County.
Outside of traveling to several shooting competitions throughout the year, Anderson finds many other interests to keep him busy during retirement life. His interests include art and boating, and recently he helped a friend build a sawmill in Floyd County.
‘I was the type of person who had a hard time getting up for work,’ Anderson said of people who question themselves about what to do with their free time after retiring. ‘Now, at 5:30, I am ready to get going.’
He also would like to encourage southern Indiana high schools to offer more outdoor-related activities. Schools in Kentucky offer after-school archery clubs, and Anderson believes Harrison County schools would benefit from offering such opportunities.
Anderson will try to make the right adjustments next week and improve on each shot. Maybe, he’ll rekindle his proudest moment during a competition: At the Ohio Traditional State Shoot a few years ago, he was shooting longbow wood arrows and finished in a tie for third. To break the tie, there had to be a shoot-out in front of the whole crowd. The winner had to get closest to an orange sticker on the board.
‘The other guys shot first and got about a quarter inch away. I got up there and sunk it, made it disappear,’ he recalled.
Next week, Anderson will keep doing his best to progress and stay calm, hopefully bringing home another trophy, this time from the Summer National Senior Games.