February 27, 2020

Local archer competes in national tournaments.

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ARENAC COUNTY—  Pinconning local and member of the Sterling Sportsmen’s Association, Tom O’Dell, had quite the year, participating in archery tournaments across the country. 

O’Dell got started with archery when he enrolled his kids into the 4-H archery club. All those times bringing his kids to club meets blossomed into purchasing bows and shooting with the whole family. O’Dell’s newfound archery interests placed him as a member of the Sterling Sportsmen’s Association and he started to compete in national tournaments. 

In December 2018, O’Dell took first place in the Midwest Open in Illinois. Of all the tournaments he has competed in, O’Dell credits this moment as his best one. 

He also competed in the Michigan Archer Association tournament for shooter of the year. He won shooter of the year for his class of ages 18-50 bowhunter freestyle, earning 346 points in that category. 

“I attended all the shoots and scored high enough to get the cumulative high score,” said O’Dell. “It was my second year shooting national tournaments.”

O’Dell said that though the shooter of the year was cool to win, the Midwest Open felt like a bigger accomplishment because of the amount of time he put into it and the number of experienced shooters competing in the tournament. 

“In the winter, I do 20-yard shoots and in the summer I do outdoor archery and 3D at 45 yards,” said O’Dell. “I shoot a pse evolve 45 and use carbon express arrows.” 

On dealing with pressure, O’Dell said you have to stay mentally focused on the game. 

“Archery is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical. Everyone can shoot the bow, but it’s the ability to stay focused and keep your head on the end game,” said O’Dell. “It all comes down to practice. I practice and shoot 100-200 arrows everyday.”

O’Dell encourages people with an interest in archery to get involved in local leagues and tournaments. “Come out and try it,” said O’Dell. “You have to make that step out of your comfort zone. The archery community has some of the nicest people you will ever meet. They will help you out. You can ask anybody and they will help you out. It's just a friendly sport and you don't have to be self conscious of anything. As long as you're having fun, that is the main purpose of it.” 

Coming up, O’Dell has tournaments in Indiana and Lancaster, PA, which is one of the largest tournaments in the country consisting of around 1,500-2,000 people. O’Dell said at last year's indoor nationals in Cincinnati, there were approximately 1,800 people. 

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