Teen Archer Aims For Olympics

Two-time Junior World Champion was former Payson resident


Mention archery in the Rim Country and the first name that usually pops up is Dr. Harold Rush.

After all, the 60-year-old Payson dentist has been competing in the sport for three decades and has traveled the world representing his sport.


Brady Ellison, a former Payson resident and the grandson of Paysonites John and Alesha Calderwood, is making a name for himself as an archer and has aspirations of competing in the Olympics.

As venerable as Rush is, there is another Rim Country son in the sport who is climbing the ladder of archery success.

Former Rim Country Middle School student, Brady Ellison, now of Glendale, is a two-time Junior World Champion in compound bow archery.

In the spring of 2005, he was a member of the U.S. World Team that traveled to the World Indoor Archery Championships in Aalborg, Denmark.

As good as the 17-year-old has been in compound archery, about a year ago he turned his attention to shooting a recurve bow.

Shooting recurve, the teen recently wrapped up a stay as a resident athlete at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. There, he trained under new U.S. National Head Coach Kisik Lee.

Ellison, the grandson of Payson residents John and Alesha Calderwood, proved the change from compound to recurve was not going to be a problem at the Mexican Grand Prix. There, he won five gold medals. He also finished sixth at the Texas Shootout and seventh at the Arizona Cup.

Ellison said he switched from the compound bow, which he had shot most of his life, to a recurve so he could someday compete in the Olympics.

The teen says the switch has been an easy one and he now enjoys shooting recurve more than compound.

The road to success

In 2004, Ellison was a member of the USA Junior Outdoor Target Archery World Championship team along with Payson High School student Margaret Hargett.

The two and their teammates traveled to Lilleshall, England where they competed in the world showdown.

Ellison, competing then in the Compound Cadet Male class finished eighth in FITA (Federation of International Target Archery) competition and eighth in the OR (Olympic Rounds).

As a member of the No. 1 seeded U.S. Cadet Compound Male Team, he helped the squad earn a gold medal.

Ellison's climb to archery fame began as a 13-year-old when he qualified to participate in the International Bowhunters Organization Championships in Snowshoe, W.V.

His expertise on the 3D archery range also earned the teen an invitation to the nationally televised Cabella's Classic in Anniston, Ala.

Ellison -- then an honor student at RCMS -- 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.

Among his victories were impressive showings at the IBO Winter Nationals at Usery Mountain, Ariz., where he won the age group crown with a tally of 359 on a par-400 course.

At a state shoot held at Ben Avery Range, Ellison tallied 420 points that 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. 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.

Probably his most unique victory was chalked up during a 2002 novelty shoot at the Harry Winn competition. There, Ellison won a ham for shooting the meat from a distance of about 50 yards while it was swinging from a string bound around a tree branch.

Ellison's career exploits have earned him a flattering article in the Summer 2006 edition of USA Archery, the official magazine of the National Archery Association.

His grandmother says there are no shortages of the magazine in the Calderwood household, "We've got about 100 of them, we're very proud of Brady."

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