Local is bow-dacious at NFAAs

Ignacio's Kenny Canterbury, receives a sizable prize
Ignacio's Kenny Canterbury lets go an arrow
Ignacio's Kenny Canterbury, right, receives a sizable prize for his winning work at the NFAA Outdoor National Championships, held July 24-28 in Darrington, Wash.
Ignacio's Kenny Canterbury lets go an arrow during competition at the NFAA Outdoor National Championships, held July 24-28 in Darrington, Wash.
Becky Canterbury
Becky Canterbury

Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest looks nothing like Farmington.

But the northwestern New Mexico city is home to one of the state’s oldest clubs, formed in 1952, for those nice with bows. And in its quiver, San Juan Archers now can count one of America’s best — though Kenny Canterbury, 46, calls Ignacio home.

“I’ve had a lot of support from people in the area,” said the grandfather of four, “and it’s just great. I was told I’m the first from the Four Corners to win Nationals. I don’t know about that. … I actually shoot with a friend who’s a two-time national champ, but from a different part of the state.”

Competing July 24-28 on Darrington (Wash.) Archers’ ranges at the 2013 National Field Archery Association’s Outdoor National Championships, Canterbury drew back and fired scores of 295 in Field on Day 1, 321 in Hunter on Day 2, and 410 in Animal on Day 5 for a winning 1,026 in Adult Male Long Bow.

“It was just unreal,” he said of receiving the ultimate — and quite large — award. “I’d worked all season and it just felt awesome.”

Shooting roughly 75 miles northeast of the Seattle metropolitan area, he also attempted on Day 3 to improve his initial Field result, but managed a lower, and discarded, 269.

Fortunately, it didn’t matter: Canterbury’s final count was over 100 points more than his output (913; all scores sourced from nfaa-archery.org) at the NFAA’s Southwestern Outdoor Sectionals hosted in mid-June by Albuquerque, N.M.-based Sandia Crest Bowhunters Association.

“Arrow flight was a big difference,” he said, explaining the disparity between some of his totals at the two events. “Going from altitude here down to 300 feet, your arrows don’t carry as much. And it was the terrain as well: You’ve got a lot of uphill, downhill shots.”

Each round of the Nationals consisted of 28 targets, with the Field and Hunter disciplines requiring Canterbury and others to shoot four arrows at each target. Only three were to be shot at each objective in the Animal phase, with the first scoring strike determining points.

“It really didn’t sink in until I was on the line next to all those pros,” he said. “It was quite an experience coming from here. Got a gorgeous setting up in all the tall fir trees. … It was an experience.”

Canterbury can’t wait to repeat. The night before being interviewed, he said he’d already started his “next journey.”

“I try to shoot every night: rain, snow, wind blowing. Nationals will be in South Dakota [NFAA Easton Archery Complex, Yankton, S.D.] next year, and Lord willing I’ll shoot even better scores!”

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