When Tony Procter arrives in Las Vegas, he won't just be shooting at targets, he'll be aiming for redemption.
Procter, a 15-year-old member of Prince George's Silvertip Archers, will be in the glittering Nevada city Feb. 8-10 for a National Field Archery Association indoor tournament. The event -- called The Vegas Shoot -- is expected to attract close to 8,000 competitors and nearly 500 of them will be in Procter's freestyle pro division.
Last year, Procter was on his way to a fifth-place finish in The Vegas Shoot but, late in the day, made a critical mistake that knocked him down to 26th.
"I put three perfect arrows into the wrong target," he said. "Every six ends the targets switch, so say you were shooting the bottom target, at the sixth end you would shoot top. So I got up on my sixth end and I shot bottom when I should have shot top.
"I'm hungry to go back there," he added.
Yeah, no kidding.
Even though last year's Vegas Shoot brought Procter an indescribable amount of disappointment, it wasn't all bad. After his costly error, he recovered with such poise that four U.S. college scouts approached him about attending their schools. Procter, currently in Grade 10 at Kelly Road secondary, said one of the schools was the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA.
Procter pulls down A's and B's at Kelly Road, but he doesn't think that will be good enough to get him into MIT.
"I think I'll probably go to a lesser college because of my academics," he said with a chuckle. "To get into MIT, you've got to be in the top one per cent and I'm top 10 per cent."
Procter has been a competitive archer since the age of five. The endless practice hours and all the tournaments he has entered over the years have turned him into one of the elite shooters in Canada.
Not surprisingly, one of Procter's future goals is to make Team B.C. for the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George. He said he's "very confident" about his chances of being the lone B.C. male representative in the compound division.
"I've been training for three years now for that," he said.
During the 2015 Games, the archery competition will be held at the Northern Sport Centre fieldhouse.
A compound bow uses a levering system, usually of cables and pulleys, which makes it more energy-efficient than other types of bows.
This past Sunday, Procter was among the participants at the Silvertip Archers Winter 600, held at the club's indoor range in the former Austin Road elementary school gymnasium. Shooting from 18 metres at a bulls-eye the size of a nickel, he placed first in the cadet men's compound division with a 565 score out of a possible 600. Thomas Pritchard was second (527) and Nicholas Gialleonardo (519) placed third.
Other division winners were: cadet men, bare bow, Joshua Sutton; cadet men, recurve, Kyle Rowell; cadet women, bare bow, Mya Schouwenburg; cadet women, compound, Meghan Heffernan; cub men, bare bow, Dawson Williams; cub men, compound, Spencer Schouwenburg; cub women, bare bow, Dawn-Marie Harvey; cub women, compound, Allaina Procter; junior men, compound, Daniel Soares; junior men, recurve, Nathan Ott; masters men, bare bow, Taylor Sapergia; masters men, bowhunter open, Lee Scott; masters men, compound, Dale Chapplow; masters women, bare bow, Maureen Graham; masters women, bowhunter release, Michelle Scott; peewee men, bare bow, Tell Cloarec; pre-cub men, bare bow, Nicholas Cameron; pre-cub men, compound, Max Schonewille; pre-cub women, bare bow, Kayla Gregory; pre-cub women, BB, Sofya Toyata; senior men, bare bow, Brian Young; senior men, bowhunter fingers, John Spagrud; senior men, bowhunter open, Dave Pritchard; senior men, bowhunter release, Andy Haughay; senior men, compound, Anthony Gialleonardo; senior men, recurve, Jason Desrocher; senior women, bowhunter release, Angie Bate; senior women, compound, Sarah Randall.