Archer Kaden Casper, 10, of Wallowa, walked off the field at Wallowa County 4-H Spring Fair the Champion in the 4-H Junior Division for Compound Bow.
He walked up to his mother and tipped his head, looking out from under his trademark camouflage cap.
“Now will you put an apple on your head?” he asked.
Maybe not just yet.
But the 4-H archers under the tutelage of Dick Stangel of Enterprise are almost that good; 19 archers from Wallowa County qualified to go to the state championships in Albany. Casper and fellow 4-H’r Cole Gomes, 13, of Enterprise, were the only ones who went this year, but they came back with impressive awards. Casper brought home a second in tandem shoot, a fourth in 3-D shoot (life-sized animal targets) and a sportsmanship award.
Gomes brought back a first in tandem, and a second in 3-D.
Gomes also won Intermediate Champion for Compound Bow at the Wallowa County 4-H Spring Fair.
Now, both Champions are headed to Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort in Baker County for the Eastern Oregon Supershoot, July 25-26. They’ll be competing against archers in their age divisions from Oregon, Idaho and Washington for $3,000 in prizes.
This will be Kaden Casper’s first “professional” shoot and he’s a bit nervous, his mom, Kathy, said. “Though he’s feeling more confident now that he’s won the championship at the Spring Fair,” she added.
Kaden, who will be in the Cub Division at the Supershoot, won’t be facing his first money-prize competition alone. His big brother, Brandon, 29, will be going with him to compete in the adult division.
Cole Gomes is not new to the competition; this is his third time shooting at the Eastern Oregon Supershoot, but it is his first time shooting in the Youth Division.
His brother-in-law, Clayton Lowe (formerly of Joseph), is an organizer of the event. The event is unusual in that competitors ride the chairlift up 900 feet and shoot 80 targets on the way back down.
Gomes has also just finished competing in the State Field and Hunter Championships in Sherwood and will be competing in the State 3-D Championships in La Grande July 18-19.