We recently received this note from our friend Jason Jones and wanted to share...
A dream was born just a little over a year ago when Austin Jones found out he could compete in the International Bowhunting Organization. The IBO is one of the largest sanctioning bodies in 3D archery and a huge defender of bow hunting. Because of Austin's Muscular Dystrophy, he isn't able to shoot by himself, I help him. We put the stock next to him and I support the forestock, Austin looks through his Endeavor and tells me up, down, my way, your way and when he is on target he says shoot. We have come a long way over the years from fifteen-inch groups to not being able to shoot the same spot for fear of breaking arrows. It has only taken about 10,000 shots to get there.
The 2015 season ended on a high note with Austin taking 2nd place at the World Championships in the Physically challenged Bowhunter Class (PCBH), his first national shoot. 2016 started with another second place finish at the first leg of the IBO Triple Crown, which is for the overall National Championship. We had worked hard and were performing the best we could, there were some equipment issues that we couldn't overcome. Thankfully a phone call to Vanguard changed that. A great meeting with Jared and Tom and there was a new Endeavor RS II sitting on top of his crossbow in time for the 2nd leg. He hasn't looked back, winning the 2nd leg with a score of 308 and the 3rd leg with an amazing score of 324. That gave Austin the Triple Crown win and the IBO National Championship in PCBH.
The IBO World Championships were held August 11th-14th at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. It was an incredible venue with over 1300 shooters from around the world in attendance. Austin shot in the Best of the Best on Thursday, a single elimination shoot off of all the National Champions. His line was perfect but he shot a little hot with his arrow hitting just above the center.
Friday morning we were a bundle of nerves, Austin was shooting against the top twelve shooters in the world. We had worked hard and had confidence in his equipment but the shot the night before was weighing heavily on Austin's mind. It was worry for naught because he shot a score of 160 and finished in the lead by two points. IBO scoring is 5,8 and 10 so on fifteen targets 150 is perfect. You also have the opportunity to get a bonus point by hitting the 11 ring, a ring about the size of a half dollar inside the 10 ring.
If we thought we were nervous on Friday, Saturday morning was indescribable. The feelings were rather overwhelming, thankfully saying a few prayers brought a calm over us. At least enough calm to get the day started. Writing Phillippians 4:13 " I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." on our trigger hand helped a lot as well. Austin shot an eleven on the first target and we were off. Or so we thought until the second target, Austin shot an 8. It was only his third 8 since the first leg of the Triple Crown. I am here to tell you....competitive archery is a very mental game. Fortunately, it only took a couple more targets for our confidence to come back. We made it through the rest of the course with 10's and 11's.
Now the nerves really kicked in, we had to wait for the rest of the field to finish. With only a two-point lead going into Saturday and some incredibly good shooters still finishing up, the wait was excruciating. Austin chose not to find out his score until everyone was done. The moment when they said John had shot 155 my heart sank until they announced that Austin had shot a 156. Austin was now the 2016 IBO World Champion!
I don't know if we can thank Vanguard enough. Since putting the Endeavor on Austin's crossbow he shot one 5, two 8's, thirty 10's and an amazing fifty-seven 11's. Next year Austin is moving into the regular crossbow class, he will be shooting 15 yards farther against all able-bodied shooters. I don't think they have a chance.
As incredible as his 3D season has been it isn't what makes me most proud. Austin has one more local shoot and his 3D season is over and it will be the last time he shoots this crossbow. He took 2nd at the IBO Worlds in 2015, shot a 340-pound black bear with it, heart shot an antelope ay sixty yards after a 350 stalk, got his first whitetail buck, won the 2016 IBO National Championship and the 2016 IBO World Championship with it. Now he is giving it to a young man we met on Facebook. Billy has Spina Bifida and has been in a wheelchair his whole life. That doesn't define who Billy is though, Billy's faith, love of people and his passion for the outdoors does. Hopefully, this will give him the chance to get his first bow kill or maybe be a World Champ himself.
Dreams can come true.
- Jason Jones