Chapmanville teen earns IBO honors

CHAPMANVILLE, W.Va. — A rising sophomore student at Chapmanville Regional High School has captured a national honor for his archery skills. Ben Ferrell, age 15 from Chapmanville, has only been shooting for a little over three years, but he’s made his short time in the field count. He was recently named the International Bowhunting Organizations’ Shooter of the Year in the 13-14 year old age class in the open division.

The honor is determined based on cumulative scores over the course of a series of competitive shooting events during the season. As with almost everything in 2020, Covid 19 created havoc.

“This year due to the Covid stuff, they limited it to three, since they had to cancel a lot of the events,” Ferrell said on a recent edition of West Virginia Outdoors. “My lowest finish was second place and I won one of them, but I won it by a lot and that gave me a big lead in the year.”

The shooting events where he competed were in Mt. Airy, NC, Pipestem, W.Va., and Franklin, Pa.

Ferrell was introduced to archery by his buddies.

“I started out bowhunting, but I didn’t do it very often until my friends got me interested in the sport. I had a couple of friends who did it and I figured I would just do it to hang out with a couple of buddies and get outside,” he said.

Ferrell’s affection for the sport has rapidly grown. Chapmanville Middle School and High School each have top notched Archery in the Schools programs. Ferrell competed there for a while, but decided to concentrate his effort directly on the IBO series.

“I wanted to put all my time into this and see if I can make a living off of it once I get out of high school,” he explained.

He has one more youth division where he can compete, but has decided next year, he’ll skip the final youth class and start shooting with the adult archers. It’s part of his plan to turn professional when he turns 18. Ferrell knows the challenge is steep and is already  preparing himself.

“I usually practice about six days a week and shoot 150 plus arrows a day. I’ll take a break one day a week.  I’ll go up to my local 3-D range once a week an judge distance, but here in my yard I’ll just shoot in one position and work on my form,” he said.

This is how you will normally see Ben. He shoots an average of 150 arrows a day six days a week and spends a couple of days on the range judging target distance.

The IBO competitions are designed to put archers in a typical hunting scenario. Targets of all sizes and various animals are positioned at various distances on the course.  Ferrell’s division has no targets beyond 40 yards, but they could be within that distance. The challenge is to judge the distance and make the most accurate shot over a course of 40 targets. Typically in Ferrell’s division he’s competing against 35 to 40 shooters.

“They’re pretty difficult. It’s shooting against the top archers in the country,” he said.

What Ben is too modest to realize is he’s made himself into one of those top archers in the country.

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