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Archers qualify for Buckmasters

Forty-two of the world's top archers competed in the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor Regional Qualified this past weekend at the Alabama Deer Hunter Expo held in the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center in Birmingham.

Archers aimed for the bulls-eye in hopes of scoring high enough to advance to the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor World Championships in mid-August. The Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor World Championships will be held at the annual Buckmasters Expo in Montgomery beginning August 16.

Lynn Wayne Morrison, 44, claimed the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor regional title in Birmingham, Sunday.

In doing so, the 20-year employee of the Tuscaloosa traffic engineering department leads 15 of the 42 archers in that competition to the world championship in Montgomery.

There they will join 16 other archers, who qualified in Columbia, S.C., in March, to compete for the world title.

Four archers from the Covington County area competed in the regional qualifier.

Richard Hammett of Dozier earned a top-five finish. Hammett finished fifth overall at the qualifier with a cumulative score of 829.

David Pearce of Opp finished 10th with a cumulative score of 584.

Andalusia's Robert Barton finished 15th at the qualifier with a cumulative score of 493.

Dennis McDaniel of Opp had a cumulative score of 301 to finish 28th overall at the qualifying event in Birmingham.

Hammett, Barton and McDaniel all qualified for the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor World Championships in mid-August.

The unique 3-D computerized target shoot provided archers with simulated hunting conditions, including life-size deer replicas that move at speeds similar to real deer. Other targets pop up behind shrubs or other woodland structures at varying times and distances to replicate how animals move in the woods. The competition stresses skill, ethical hunting and safety.

The semi-final and final rounds of the regional qualifier were the most exciting part of the competition, which was emceed by Buckmasters founder and CEO Jackie Bushman.

Morrison finished with a cumulative score of 1,227 out of a possible 1,451.

The Buckmasters competition is said to be the

most difficult competition because the targets, life-size deer molds, are programmed to pop up from behind shrubs, "walk" from behind trees, or appear in no-shoot situations.

"I designed the competition to test not only archery skill, but hunting skills and ethics -

and nerves," says Buckmasters founder Jackie Bushman, who was on-hand to emcee the finals.

"Most of it's a mental game," said Morrison, who has been shooting this competition for eight years. "You have to think quick and make quick judgments.

"Winning," he said, "took a lot of weight off my shoulders. Off my emotions."

He headed home after the competition to "rest and let this sink in."

Morrison practices every day.

"I'm no different than anybody else," he said. "I just work at it."