BY TONY VIOLA
Few people have the chance to compete at the world championship level of their sport. Even fewer have the chance to do so after only competing in the sport twice. But that's exactly what 13-year-old Andrew Vargo is doing, as the Moundsville native qualified for the International Bowhunting Organization (IBO) World Championship after entering in only his second 3-D Archery tournament.
Moundsville’s Andrew Vargo has found his niche in the sport of archery.
"In order to qualify, you have to compete in one of the three legs of the National Tour," Andrew's father, Rick, said. "The first two legs were too far away for us to go to, but the third was near Columbus (Ohio), so we were able to make the trip. Then Andrew placed high enough to qualify for the World (Championship).
"It was only his second time shooting a compound bow at 3-D targets for competition. The first time was during an exhibition that was pretty much just target practice."
3-D Archery is a form of Target Archery, with the goal being to have the ability to guess how far away the target is and know where to shoot to achieve the highest possible score. Generally, bowhunters will shoot at various animal shaped targets like deer and antelope.
Each 3-D target has a set of scoring rings on it. The smallest circle scores 11 points, the next ring is the heart, 10 points, the lung is eight points, and the body is five points. The hoof or antlers on a deer score a zero.
Andrew first heard about bowhunting from one of his friends at Edgewood Jr. High and began to take interest in the school's archery club.
"There's not a lot of advertisement for the archery club simply because they don't have enough room for a lot of kids," Rick said. "But Andrew was able to get in and at the end of his first year he finished in the Top 15 of the state."
It was at the state tournament where Andrew first caught the eye of Larry Brubaker, winner of the West Virginia Triple Crown and the current No. 1-ranked bowhunter in the state.
"Larry thought that he had a natural ability at shooting a bow, so he ended up giving Andrew some tips," Rick recalled.
"Larry pretty much serves as his coach and put Andrew in the spot where he is now. He tunes Andrew's bow and was the one who put all the equipment on it as well."
The pair usually see each other twice a week to work on technique.
"We go down to Larry's house in Powhatan Point about once a week and the two shoot in the backyard. Then on Sundays we run into him at bowshoots. Larry says the only thing holding Andrew back is experience, but that will come with time."
Brubaker was also the one who got Andrew involved in the IBO and into the third leg of the National Triple Crown. The IBO Triple Crown of Bowhunting consists of three national tournaments hosted in separate states. The Triple Crown culminates with the crowning of national champions of various age, sex and equipment classes. The series has continued to expand each year and has become the undisputed indicator of the best individual performers and equipment in the sport of 3-D archery and bowhunting.
After three days of competition at the Cardinal Shooting Center, Andrew's total score of 374 placed him 16th in the CUB division, good enough to advance him to the IBO World Championship.
"We're going to go to Sandusky (Ohio) for a day to relax and then it's off to the competition."
The tournament will begin Thursday at the Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Seven Springs, Pa.