As one of the premier archers in the state, 13-year-old Brady Ellison has qualified to participate in the International Bowhunters Organization Championships next fall in Snowshoe, W.V.
His expertise on the 3D archery range also has earned the teen an invitation to the Cabella's Classic Aug. 23 through Aug. 26 in Anniston Ala. The Cabella shoot will be televised on the Outdoor TV Network.
Ellison, an honor student at Rim Country Middle School, earned the two invitations by virtue of an incredible string of successes in which he won 12 of 13 shooting competitions. In the other, he finished second.
Ellison's rise to statewide prominence began Jan 27 at an IBO warm-up held at Usery Mountain Range. Competing in the 13- to 14-year-old age group, Ellison turned in a tally of 406 on a par-400 course.
In scoring 3-D archery, a par score is set for the course based on the number of targets and the rings in each target. Par scores are frequently good enough to win an age group competition.
At the IBO Winter Nationals Feb. 2 at Usery Mountain, Ellison won his age group again with a tally of 359 on a par-400 course.
At the Drop Tine Club held Feb. 24 at Ben Avery Range, Ellison tallied 420 points which turned out to be the best score of the competition in all age classifications.
His run of gold-medal finishes continued at an ASA state qualifier in Casa Grande, the Grand Canyon Games at Usery Mountain and a Boy Scout shoot also at Usery Mountain.
The youngster strung together three more victories, including the Harry Winn Memorial in Globe, before finishing second at a Mormon Lake shoot May 19. The runner-up showing ended his impressive win streak at nine.
At the Mormon Lake shoot, he was competing in an older age classification and was edged out by a 17-year-old with more experience.
Competing in the Harry Winn event, Ellison shot his way to wins on both the smoker course and the novelty shoot.
On a smoker course, archers shoot at wild animal targets through limbs and other obstacles. Also, they are usually allowed just one arrow.
"The smokers are much more difficult," Ellison's mother Julie Richardson said.
Novelty shoots are unique in that each club makes up its own format and rules.
In one novelty event, Ellison won a ham for shooting the item from a distance of about 50 yards while it was swinging from a string bound around a tree branch.
At a Payson shoot May 18, Ellison tallied 370 out of 400 points to win the men's open division. One of the most prestigious triumphs during Ellison's strong winter and spring showing occurred May 25 and 26 at the Ben Avery facility. There he won the 13- to 14-year-old Arizona championship with a tally of 395.
"He has the dream of trying out for the Olympics when he gets older," his mother said. "He does have the natural talent for the sport."
But before he can fulfill any Olympic aspirations, he must prove his skills on the national level at the World Champion-ships and the Cabella's Classic.
Participating in those events, however, will be expensive. In an effort to raise funds to participate in the national showdowns, Ellison's mother will hold a quilt raffle and other benefits.
A big plus to the cause would be for the youngster to acquire more sponsors. Currently he's sponsored by Darton Bows, Express Arrows, Flagstaff Advantage Outdoors and Younkger and Younkger II. With a few more sponsors, Ellison would have the financial resources he needs to continue to compete.
For more information about Ellison or to become a sponsor, call Richardson in the evenings at (928) 474-8540.