Robin Hood would have been in paradise this weekend, when more than 1,200 avid archers descended on the Laurel County Fair Grounds for the 2007 LimbSaver Kentucky Pro/Am Championships.

The event was considered a great success, with professional and amateur archers constantly approaching Archery Shooters Association’s President Michael Tyrell to compliment him on the courses, which included known and unknown distance shoots of various 3D animal targets, such as deer, antelope, hogs and buffalo.

“It’s good,” shooter Lucy Holderness said of the known distance shoot. “I love hills. It’s much more interesting than some of them.”

Holderness came all the way from London, England, to participate in the event.

“I had to come to London because I live 30 miles from London at home,” she laughed.

In fact, Holderness travels all over the world — making her way to Korea, Italy, Turkey, Switzerland and Austria this year alone — to shoot.

“I love shooting a bow,” she said. “I’m just hooked, I’m an addict.”

But Holderness wasn’t the only one who traveled far to get to London’s event.

“We have people here everywhere,” Tyrell said. “California, Oregon, Maine, Colorado, Utah, Arizona.”

Darrin Christenberry, who was named the ASA’s Shooter of the Year last year, came from Spencer, Ind.

“I’m just fascinated with shooting,” he said. “You can never beat this game. You can never be good enough out here. There’s always something to improve on.”

Christenberry was also impressed with the event, which extended from the fair grounds into the edge of Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park.

“I love it, it’s nice,” he said. “Next year we’re going to bring balls and have a pick-up softball game.”

Tyrell said London and the ASA “kind of chose each other” to host the event.

“We’ve been looking for a site in Kentucky for a number of years,” he said. “Everything we need to put on an event London, Ky., has.”

As to why he specifically wanted to include Kentucky on the circuit, Tyrell said it has everything to do with geography.

“We’re predominantly a southern organization,” he said. “Kentucky is still kind of a swing state. People from the south are going to come up here and people from the north will come down too.”

Friday afternoon, several archers were out practicing. shooting at target of a white-tail buck were Rex and Gerry Taylor who had driven from Muncie, Ind. to participate.

Though they didn’t know the exact distance, they were shooting about 40 yards down a trail and over a rise in the ground just able to see the top half of the deer. In competition shooting, archers are permitted to use magnified sites and pin sites, but they cannot use laser range finders. Even though, the target could just be seen with the naked eye, the Taylors were routinely putting their arrows in the scoring zone.

The prize money which is paid based on the number of competitors in each division, will typically cover one night of their expenses. But the Taylors said the friends they have made and the opportunitities they have had to see different places are worth what they may have to pay out of pocket.

“That’s our vacation,” Rex Taylor said.

Over the four-day tournament, with more than $80,000 in cash handed out. The top prize, an $18,000 purse, went to Open Pro Class winner Colin Booth, of Louisiana. London native Ken Likins came in fourth in the Open Pro division.

The ASA will be back next year — and every year following until 2011.

Ken Harvey, executive director of the London-Laurel County Tourist Commission, was pleased with how things turned out.

“I am ecstatic,” he said. “It met our expectations of what we had been told about the event. I think we really showed off the county well, and look forward to next year.”

Staff writer Tara Kaprowy can be reached by e-mail at tkaprowy@sentinel-echo. com.

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