Most hunters would hesitate to take a 50-yard shot at a deer until years after practicing with a bow. Aaron Montroy, 17, of Evans consistently puts arrows into the center/bull’s-eyes at 55 yards after just two years of archery shooting.
Montroy’s skill and accomplishments were rewarded last weekend during the 2016 New York State Outdoor Championship held July 9 and 10 at Chemung County Rod & Gun Club in Breesport, NY.
The competition shooting went from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and from 8 a.m. to just after noon on Sunday in the heat and wind, and Aaron took the first-place medal in the Male Archer Recurve Division.
This division requires that shooters use a recurve bow, which is basically a bare stick or self bow with limbs that curve backward at each tip of the bow. The shooter does not have any let-off in the power of the bow, and all shooting must be done without a holding tab or mechanical release. Recurve shooters can only use shooting gloves to protect their fingers.
“But he doesn’t even shoot with gloves,” his mother, Alissa Montroy, said with pride of his shooting style. “I like the feel of the string,” Aaron said of his shooting, which requires in this event accuracy at 50 meters (about 55 yards).
His older brother, Bill Montroy Jr., wrote, “Myself and my family are all avid outdoorsmen and women and we have harvested deer every year with the bow to feed our families, and I have competed and placed with two first places and one third place medal in NYS Archery Competitions. ... Now I have to watch out, because he’s catching up.”
Aaron has had a lifetime of catching up since being diagnosed with autism at age four. His dad, Bill Montroy Sr., said, “We had to watch him doing everything and he has learned how to control things.” That control included school lessons, where he ranks as a top scholar, and athletics/outdoors activities requiring hand-eye coordination.
When asked how he became interested in bow shooting, he said, “I watched my mom and dad go out hunting every year and I just liked trying to learn to shoot a bow.”
His mom and dad heartily thank Ronnie Bergum, a JOAD (Junior Olympics Archery Development) instructor, who conducts the Evans JOAD program.
“We went there one day and Ronnie looked at how Aaron was setting up to shoot and after a couple shots he was hitting the target,” mom recalls of his early sessions with Bergum.
That tutoring continued, and although he did not develop an interest in bow hunting, a family of bow shooters and a brother winning state awards in archery prompted his skill development. Autism curbs some of his involvement; his practice time on a range only averages an hour a week, his parents noted. But while on the shooting line, often at Loretto’s Archery and range in North Collins, he developed to compete in the Special Olympics as part of the Lake Shore Eagles team held in May this year.
His First-Place Recurve Archery Medal win was cited as the first time a disabled shooter has finished first in the New York State Outdoor Championship for archery statewide.
His brother Bill refers to him as “one of the brightest kids” at the same time that he cites him as a “fun-loving class clown.” Aaron plans to apply his skill and wit this fall as a senior student at Lake Shore Central.
Tim Palumbo of Williamsville has established high ranking as a disabled shooter competing in JOAD events as a youth. His extensive involvement in bow shooting evolved into an archery coaching business called Team Doorstop, viewable on Facebook.
Palumbo has been shooting several hours several days a week in preparations for the Paralympics Archery competition tryouts at Chula Vista, California June 28.
Palumbo finished in the top eight for tryout participation and in that competition he finished third. “Only the top two entrants are selected for Paralympics competition, but I’m currently the first alternate,” he said.
The Paralympics events are held a week or two after Olympic competition at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in the first week of September. Palumbo continues practicing with the prospect of heading to South America with his bow in hand.