Champion, and still undefeated.
In 55+ BC Games archery action, Dale Chapplow kept his golden streak alive. The Quesnel archer, 61, picked up two more first place finishes. Each time he has entered, over the years, he has taken top spot. This year, the gold medals were in the Target-Compound With Sight & Release category and the 3D-Compound With Sight & Release category for shooters aged 55-62.
Chapplow, a retired power engineer, shoots for the Quesnel River Archers, Quesnel’s highly successful club with many shooters, coaches and officials on the national stage. He is one of them. He said he shoots best when he can manage to turn off the world.
“I tell the kids, archery is one per cent physical and 99 per cent mental,” he said. “When you’re at full draw, go brain dead. Have absolutely no thoughts in your mind, shut your ears off, and only focus on where your pin is on the target. When I’m in my zone, shooting really, really well, when I get to full draw, I don’t hear the crowd. I don’t hear anything. Everything other than the target is blurry, and then my release just lets go.”
He is a highly successful archer and has been ever since he took archery from interesting recreation to focused sport. As a child, he watched his next door neighbour rehearsing in the back yard for a hunt, and excitedly told his parents he wanted to try archery. The results are still glittering.
His own competitions aren’t the only enjoyment he takes from the sport, these days. Quesnel has a number of interested athletes shooting bow and arrow, and more joining all the time. (New sessions for beginners will start up after Thanksgiving, so he urged families to watch for information on the club’s Facebook page, and reach out with any questions.)
Chapplow is one of the club’s veterans who imparts their knowledge to the next generation.
One of his main pupils is rising archery star Brooklynn Novak who, among many other accolades this past year, won B.C.’s Triple Crown title for top aggregate score in the three recognized categories (3D, indoor target, field target).
“I’m happier for her when she wins, than I am when I win, and I’ll bet you within the year she will be out-shooting me. She’s close now,” he said. “I still like to compete, but I’m more into the coaching now. I want to help the kids get a lot better than me, one day.”
He and Novak are scheduled to attend a February competition in Las Vegas where about 5,000 competitors will shoot in one of the world’s premier archery events. “It is the biggest indoor tournament on the planet,” Chapplow said. He compared Novak’s scores to those of her peers in last year’s Vegas event and noted she would have finished in the Top 5, but that is on paper. When you’re on the firing line, and all those eyes are on you, all your thoughts are new and louder in your head, all those noises are encroaching on your concentration, the real test isn’t shooting the arrow exactly the same way as you have in thousands of practice shots. The test becomes restoring that mental blankness that leads to shooting control. If Novak can experience Vegas, he said, it will be the necessary next step on her path to international medals.
A quirk of the archery sport is, there is no Masters division in internationally sanctioned shooting events, so he must now shoot from the same firing line as those in their 20s and 30s. It’s a tall ask, in any sport. So an opportunity like the 55+ BC Games lets him stand with his peers. That is usually at the top of the podium.