Goliad native on target (w/video)
Video: Archers unite in Victoria
Hunter Barthels lined up his bow and paused for five seconds before releasing the string and hitting his target.
"I was pretty much shooting all my life," the Goliad native said as he looked at the arrows, one of which hit the yellow center target. "My dad got me started, and he also hunted, too."
Practicing from the age of 2, the 18-year-old has enjoyed archery.
Saturday, Barthels was among 70 junior archers participating in the state meet at the Straight Arrow Archery Pro Shot and Bow Club in Victoria.
"These are the kids that don't want to put their bows down after 4-H season," said Straight Arrow coach Tom Barker. "These are the kids that are serious about being competitive on a state, national or even international basis."
Barthels, a Goliad senior, has enjoyed archery during his time in high school so much that he gave up playing football to shoot. It also didn't help that his knees were not in the best shape to compete in football, he said.
"He's always been a real good archer," said Bruce Williams, who has worked with Barthels. "Actually, he's turned into a fine young man. There's a lot of life skills that are taught through archery."
Archery has given Barthels an opportunity to travel internationally. In the summer of 2012, Barthels got to represent the United States at the World Archery Field Championships in Val D'Isere, France.
Barthels admits he doesn't practice hitting targets in a facility. Instead, he practices when he hunts.
"With hunting season, I shoot my bow a lot more because I would like to make a ethical shot on a deer to kill it," Barthels said. "Normally, I practice more during hunting season because my dad actually said, 'You're practicing, or you're not hunting with the bow.'"
Upon graduation, Barthels will attend Victoria College. He does, however, see archery in his future.
"I've been teaching kids with Mr. Barker on how to shoot," Barthels said. "I really like teaching other people than me just shooting. Every kid that I've taught how to shoot a bow always left with a smile."