Silt archer right on target |

Silt archer right on target

SILT – Karla Cox’s willingness to combat, then defeat her fear as an archer, has turned the Silt resident into a state champion in her sport.

By finishing first in three of four Colorado State Archery Association tournaments held earlier this year, Cox won the 2002 Women’s overall individual championship.

Not bad for a competitor who quit the sport for two years due to what Cox said was “target fright.”

“I finally got back into it, because I hating just watching,” the archer said of returning to the sport which she had participated in for close to a decade prior to her self-exile in the late 1990s.

And once Cox got back into serious training, her personal demons vanished.

And she attacked the targets with a vengeance.

With the help of her husband Jason, a sponsored competitor in the men’s division, Karla’s aim and marksmanship put her in a position to become the state’s best.

She began her quest with a first-place finish in the first of four CSAA sanctioned events – an indoor tournament in Denver last January.

Cox followed that effort up with another victory in the second Denver indoor event in March, and won an outdoor shoot in Colorado Springs to conclude the competitive season.

In between, Cox earned second place in an outdoor tournament at Manitou Springs.

The total points she scored in the four events earned Cox the overall championship. According to CSAA rules, the overall state champion is determined by the finish of each archer at state tournament events and by “placing points.”

Placing points are given to the top 10 archers ranging from 50 points to the first-place winner, then down in 5-point increments to the archer ending in 10th place. Each archer can also earn an additional five participating points, per tournament.

The bonus points help, but Cox wins by accuracy.

And winning in tournament archery is a task.

Archers can average anywhere from shooting 60 to 90 arrows, per day, at ever-increasing distances ranging from 20 yards to 60 yards, depending on the format of the two-day tournaments.

Cox said, the outdoor tournaments are tougher for her. “At outdoor tournaments, the targets are placed at longer yardage and you have to guess what the wind is going to be like.”

The wind caused Cox problems at Manitou Springs.

“The wind was a factor,” she said of her finish at the June tournament. “I had to make up 20 points after the first day.”

Cox battled through the weather to finish second. Then, with calmer weather, Cox rallied to win the Colorado Springs event the following month for her first state title.

Her hope next year, along with defending her recently-won championship, is to see more women enter the sport.

“The women’s division isn’t too big,” said Cox. “I wish more women would get into it. Archery is an awesome sport.”

One reason more women don’t participate, Cox mentioned, is cost.

“If you get into it right, archery can get pretty expensive,” she said. “It just depends on the archer.”

The hardest part of being a competitive archer, particularly living in Silt, Cox said “is finding a place to shoot.”

Karla and Jason spend a number of hours perfecting their skills in Rifle, where they shoot three to four evenings a week at the Rifle Sportsmen’s Club. Part of the Coxes training also occurs at the Red Rock Archery range in Grand Junction.

Cox said she “might participate in one more tournament this year,” but is primarily turning her attention to hunting.

“For archers, the high point now is hunting,” she said.

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