Victory brings relief for archer

August 12, 1993|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

On three previous occasions, Tony Clem finished tied for first in the National Field Archery Association Championships, only to have to settle for second after losing the special shoot-off.

So how did the 25-year-old Westminster resident feel this year when he was first all by himself after the fifth and final day of competition (July 26-30) at Blue Springs, Mo.?

"Relieved," he said.

Competing in the men's freestyle competition with a field of just under 200 participants, Clem was tied for the lead after the first two days of shooting at field targets.

He dropped behind by five points in the tournament's third day -- and first of what's known as the hunter round -- only to come back to tie going into the last day.

The final day of competition is the animal round. Shooters aim at animal targets from various distances, scoring 20 points per hit.

"There's 28 targets in the animal round so the best you can finish with is 560 points," Clem said.

After the other co-leader missed an animal target, the door was open for Clem to come home a winner. He finished the championships with a five-day score of 2,770 -- breaking the national record in the division by one point.

"It felt great to be in the lead again and I just tried to keep my head in it, I wasn't looking forward to another possible shoot-off," he said.

Competitive archery has been a way of life for the entire Clem family since Tony and his father, Dave, first got involved in the sport in 1982. Tony's mom, Vicki, got into the act shortly after and all three have had their share of success at the national level.

"It started out as just a lot of fun and something our whole family could do together," said Vicki, who took third this year in the open women's freestyle division last month.

"There are so few things you can do these days as a family. In archery, everyone can pick their own style."

Styles are based on what kind of equipment you put on your bow. The freestyle division Vicki and Tony mostly compete in allows the use of scopes and release aids.

The Clems shoot mostly during the weekend, either in their backyard or at the Mayberry Archery Club. They also compete in a number of state tournaments throughout the year. National tournaments have taken them throughout the United states as far as Darrington, Wash.

Tony, who also won a world championship back in 1988, is considering turning pro and competing in the Pro Archer's Association.

"They have around seven or eight shoots a year," he said. "If you can finish in the top three in all of them, you could make between $5,000 to $10,000."

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