Baughman ‘humbled’ to be named Shooter of the Year

OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee’s own Brandon Baughman earned Shooter of the Year honors at the Archery Shooters Association (ASA) State Championship held at Ridge Archery Club in Lakeland on July 21 through 22.

The prestigious Shooter of the Year award is given to ASA competitors who accumulate the best point total throughout the year.

Brandon Baughman seen here shortly after earning Shooter of the Year honors at the Archery Shooters Association (ASA) State Championship on July 22, 2018.

“It was humbling,” explained Baughman. “I’m not a boastful individual, I don’t see the need in that. Everyone does everything they can to be the best at what you do. I was humbled to win shooter of the year and see all that hard work, all that praying, all that dedication and all that time pay off. I was happy, but I almost wanted to ball my eyes out because after trying so hard I had finally done it. It was an amazing experience. Between feeling humbled and blessed is the best way I can explain it.”
And it almost didn’t happen.

In the weeks leading up to the state championship Baughman was hit with an infection in his lower leg that made it painful to walk and stand on, threatening to force him to miss the championship and throw away a full year of points accumulated in ASA qualifiers.

“The infection had gotten so bad that I couldn’t put weight on it the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before the championship,” Baughman said. “I was getting kind of nervous. After my third does of antibiotics on Saturday I was able to walk and move around a little bit. I had been training all year, I put in all this time and effort so I just decided to go. If I do bad, then I do bad, but at least I’m going to give it a shot.”

Throughout the day Sunday Baughman had to adjust his shooting stance to deal with the throbbing pain in his leg. After a rough first start he was able to work his way into the middle of the pack before the competitors took a break for lunch.

The ASA uses a scoring system of 14, 12, 10, 8, 5 or 0 points per arrow. Scoring is based on zero points for a miss, 5 points are earned for a hit anywhere in the body, 8 points for the largest outer scoring ring on the animal, 10 points for the five-inch circle inside the 8-ring, and 12 points for the smaller rings which are offset to the bottom and top of the 10-ring.

After the break, Baughman started hitting his targets more consistently. He hit a 12 ring in his first four out of five shots and climbed, or hobbled, to the top of the leader board. He beat out his closest competitor by only one 12 ring shot.

“These guys are awesome shooters,” said Baughman. “Throughout the whole year we have been going back and forth with who is in first, second and third. It has been intense. It just happened to work out in my favor that day.”

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