Former Rim Country Middle School student Brady Ellison defeated Elias Malave of Venezuela in a shoot off March 24 at Ben Avery Range near Phoenix to win the men’s recurve archery gold medal at the Arizona Cup.
On the extra arrow, Ellison shot a 10 to defeat Malave who shot a nine.
Ellison, currently the No. 1 ranked archer in the world, is expected to contend for a gold medal at the London Olympics, even though the U.S. trials are not yet completed.
Ellison, currently a resident of the United States Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., was a member of the U.S. Olympic team that competed in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
John and Alesha Calderwood of Payson, Ellison’s grandparents, traveled to China to watch him represent the U.S.
The archer didn’t have the performance he was hoping for, falling in the second round by a 113-107 loss to Canadian Jay Lyon.
Ellison, 23, hasn’t lived in Payson for about 10 years, but formerly was a student at Payson Elementary School and RCMS before moving to Glendale at the end of his seventhgrade year.
In 2009, he returned to Payson where he took time to visit PES and talk to the students about his sport and world travels.
While living in Payson, Ellison got his start in archery traveling around rural Arizona, often to Mormon Lake, Usery Mountain and Globe, to compete in a variety of shoots.
Among the most unusual competitions were novelty shoots.
In those, the hosting archery club usually made up its own format and rules and some contests were unique.
In one novelty event, Ellison won a ham for shooting the hog leg from a distance of about 50 yards while it was swinging from a string bound around a tree branch.
As a 13-year-old he once won nine consecutive competitions, often against much older archers.
In 2004, while a student at Glendale Mountain Ridge High School, he emerged on the national shooting scene traveling to Britain as a member of the USA Junior Outdoor Target Archery World Championship Team.
When not practicing or competing, he enjoys golf, fishing and hunting, but says the rigorous schedule at the Olympic Training Center doesn’t leave him much free time.