Turkeys, boars, deer, big horn sheep and an array of various sized animal targets dotted the practice range of the Taos Country Club as archers converged and drew their bolts.
Turkeys, boars, deer, big horn sheep and an array of various sized animal targets dotted the practice range of the Taos Country Club as archers from all around New Mexico and the Southwest took their best shots at the spongy menagerie. Even a slithery alligator took up a spot on the short grass, emulating a real-life encounter one might experience on any given golf course in Florida.
On this day, however, no such place could match the panoramic beauty of this contest venue. Under deep blue skies and a deeper blue ridge line, marksmen and markswomen took aim and let their arrows fly.
The shooters were participants in the first-ever "King and Queen of the Rockies" shoot Saturday (June 23). Billed as the inaugural competition of the New Mexico Professional Archery Organization, the event was put on to increase awareness of this precision sport and to attract the state's best shooters to Taos.
The event included a precompetition reception consisting of dinner, a silent auction and a dance June 22.
Considered a marked, or known, yardage shoot with Archery Shooters Association scoring, both men and women shot at targets from the same line. A life-sized elk was the animal placed farthest from the shooter's line at 55-yards. The low-profile alligator was one of the closest targets at 26-yards from the stakes. In all, 20 targets were set up with the average distance between archers and targets set at 39.45-yards.
On the sides of each of the figurines, competitors zero in on a series of small circles inside larger circles to attain points. The more difficult the shot, the more points earned.
Teams of four or five shooters were grouped together and moved down the line to each shooting station. As soon as everyone in the group fired their respective shots, the entire gallery approached the targets to retrieve their arrows and record their scores.
The prize money was as follows: $1,000 for each winner, $500 to each runner-up and $300 for each third-place finisher.
Winning the king's title was Barry Haskell from Dalhart, Texas. Coming in second for the men was local shooter and Taos Archery Klub member, Keith Martin. Michael Tafoya, another Taoseño, finished third.
On the women's side, Cassidy Cox, a Team USA member and favored shooter, won the queen's crown. She was joined by Alicia Maez and Melissa Casias, who finished second and third, respectively.
According to co-organizer, Marcos Hererra, the event was a huge success. Hererra and his wife Monica, Larry and Blossom Apodaca, Steven and Sofia Vigil, Martin Dimas, Sasha Sanchez and Phil Tafoya were the main organizers of this "best-of-the-best" bow shoot. Several local and national sponsors also helped put on this inaugural event.
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