It takes a steady hand and a sharp eye to be an effective archer.
Sixty-four-year-old Ken Buchholz has both qualities.
He also has an unbridled passion for archery, so much so, he loaded up his trailer and drove close to 1,300 kilometres from his Langley home to St. George, Utah, in order to compete in the 26th annual Huntsman World Seniors Games.
At the Games, that ran Oct. 7-19, Buchholz won two gold medals in the men's 6064 category.
He placed first in the 3D Archery event, and edged out Jim Phillips from Craig, Colo. in the Target competition.
His results at the World Games qualified Buchholz for the 2013 U.S. National Games in Ohio, where he will compete in target only.
"We had an awesome time," Buchholz said, of his time at St. George. "The weather was beautiful."
Buchholz's goal was to break a record set by Phillips two years ago at these Games.
"I looked at the score and I thought, 'If I practice, I could equal that,'" Buchholz said.
"That's the interesting thing about archery. It can be very personal with goal-setting and competition that way."
Buchholz was impressed with Phillips' performance in Utah.
"He was really putting those arrows in there," Buchholz said. "I thought it looked like he was probably going to take it."
But to Buchholz's surprise, by the second day of competition, he found himself 20 points clear of Phillips.
"So wouldn't you know it, I kind of fell apart on day two!" Buchholz said with a laugh. "But I didn't equal the record but I did beat the record holder, so that was kind of neat."
Closer to home, Buchholz won a gold medal in 3D and a silver in target at the 2011 BC Seniors Games in Trail. At the 2011 Games in Burnaby he took home a pair of silvers.
To compete in the world event in Utah, you need to meet two objectives, Buchholz said: "You have to be old enough and you have to be alive."
Buchholz's love for archery dates back decades.
"The first bow I had that was of any consequence was a solid fibreglass, curved bow that I think I acquired for Christmas when I was 12 or 13 years old," he recalled. "That started my interest at that time."
A few years later, Buchholz and some friends founded Monashee Archers in Vernon, in 1964.
"They're still going and this year they held the Canadian national 3D championships on Silver Star," Buchholz said.
After that, life, work, and raising children kept him away from archery for a long while. At different times he participated with local clubs.
Now retired, he has since seriously re-connected with archery.
"I thought, 'You know, it would be fun to participate in the BC Seniors Games,'" Buchholz said.
His first Seniors Games experience was "great," Buchholz said. "I met people, made friends, and just had a great time."
He renewed acquaintances with the people he met at the 2012 event in Burnaby.
While Buchholz has more of an affinity for 3D competition, he also enjoys the more traditional target event.
Target involves archers shooting at stationary, colour coded circular targets at varying distances.
"It's what you'd call the Olympic-style archery," Buchholz said.
3D archery references a three-dimensional animal target. Buchholz said the sport originated from bow-hunters prepping for the hunting season and to make it more interesting, they created foam animals to shoot at. Typically, there are up to 20 shooting positions.
"It grew as a sport in itself, regardless of whether people hunted or not. It was just a lot of fun," Buchholz said. "It's almost like a golf course."
"I like 3D better [than target] because of the outdoor element of it," he said. "I was born and raised in the Okanagan and just to get out in the bush and hiking and roving. There are so many aspects."
Archery continues to challenge Buchholz. That element appeals to him the most.
"It's very satisfying when you do get the arrow where you want it to go," Buchholz said.
@ Copyright 2013