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World-class archer resides here

Selma’s Kaylon Cole has put himself in position to take on the world.

The Shelton State Community College student placed 14th in the Buckmasters Top Bow World Championship qualifier in Birmingham, which allowed him to move on to the Buckmasters Top Bow World Championship in Montgomery.

“The series is regarded to be one of the hardest in the country,” said Daniel Dye, the Bowmasters’ Internet editor. “Many skilled archers compete in the competition.”

The qualifier took place Friday–Sunday. Cole finished 14th in the 60-archer field. The top 24 archers in the Birmingham and Columbia, S.C., qualifiers advance to the World Championship in Montgomery.

In both qualifiers, points are earned in seven possible rounds to advance to the championship round. The top eight finishers are determined through a head-to-head shoot-off, and combined scores determine the other qualifiers.

Archers have approximately two minutes to fire 12 arrows at deer targets ranging from 15-60 yards.

“A big part of it is mental preparation,” said Cole. “It’s got a lot to do with time and speed. You’ve got to be fast, loaded and ready to go.”

Cole is an avid hunter, but has made efforts recently to shift from rifle hunting to bow hunting.

“If you’ve been hunting for years with a gun, the fun part of it starts to die out,” said Cole. “When you get into the archery side of it, it’s kind of like you’re a little kid with every shot. It brings the thrill back to it.”

He has pursued the ‘other’ form of deer hunting for the last 2 1/2 years, but the qualifier was his first bow hunting competition.

Rickey Pearson, owner of One Shot Archery in Gordo, directed him to the qualifier. Cole met him last hunting season, and two struck up a friendship. Pearson taught Cole several of the finer points of bow hunting. Pearson has placed as second in past bow hunting championships, but did not pace high enough to advance to Montgomery this year.

Cole almost did not have the opportunity to advance to Montgomery himself. Buckmasters qualifiers are limited to 60 participants. Participants from the prior year’s tournament are automatically entered the following year. Openings are only available when people do not return.

Bowmasters tournaments are not cheap either. Qualifying tournaments are $300 per archer, and archers must pay $450 to participate in the world championship.

Nonetheless, the field for the August 15-17 Buckmasters Top Bow World Championship in Montgomery will fill up quickly.

“Rifle hunting has affected the deer population and can be boring,” said Cole. “Bow hunting is growing as a result.”