As a 13-year-old seventh-grader at Rim Country Middle School in 2002, Brady Ellison’s dream was to compete in archery in the Olympics.
At the time, his mother, Julie, believed as lofty as it sounded, the Olympics was an attainable goal, “He does have a natural talent for the sport.”
In 2008, Ellison attained his dream by becoming a member of the U.S. team that competed in the Beijing Olympics.
He, however, was shut out in his quest for a medal, falling in the second round, 113-107, to Canadian Jay Lyon.
Undaunted by the disappointment of not medaling, the ex-Maverick returned to the United States Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. to continue training for the London Olympics.
The years of hard work and dedication paid huge dividends this week when Ellison, Jake Kaminski and Jacob Wukie joined forces to win an Olympic medal in team archery.
In the run to the silver, the American team rallied from behind to beat Japan, then upset three-time defending gold medalist South Korea before losing by one point to Italy in the gold medal match.
With the team silver medal in tow, Ellison, the World No. 1-ranked archer, advanced to the individual competition where he reached the round of 16 before being eliminated by Australian archer Taylor Worth.
While Ellison and his mother moved from Payson to Glendale about nine years ago, he retains close ties to the Rim Country.
His grandparents, Frank and Alesha Calderwood, are longtime Payson residents and traveled to both Beijing and London to cheer him on.
Also, Ellison fiancé, Sami Novak, was raised in Payson.
In 2009, Ellison returned to the Rim Country to visit Payson Elementary School to talk to students about his pursuit of the Olympic dream.
After moving from Payson, Ellison attended Glendale Mountain Ridge High School where he began to make a name for himself on the archery sports circuit.
As a sophomore, he earned a spot on the U.S. Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) team along with then Payson High School student Margaret Hargett.
Since, Ellison has gone on to become the world’s greatest archer winning about every honor possible including the men’s archery recurve Arizona Cup championship last spring at Ben Avery Range near Phoenix.
While Ellison is the best of the best in the sport, his archery roots wind deep into smalltown Arizona competitions at Mormon Lake, Usery Mountain and Globe.
Looking back, a win he racked up as a beginning archer more than a decade ago doesn’t carry as much clout as winning an Olympic silver medal. Ellison once competed in a novelty shoot in which he won a ham for shooting it from a distance of about 50 yards as it was swinging from a string bound around a tree branch.