A state archery championship did not seem like a likely future for Tyler Webb last year.
The Forbush High School student was lying in a hospital bed a year ago having broken his leg in two places in an ATV accident. His injury required surgery, and his leg required plates and screws to make him able to walk again.
Webb was restricted to a wheelchair for several months and would not recover completely for four and a half months.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do after [the accident], but I still knew I wanted to do hunter safety,” Webb said.
Webb got involved in hunter safety while attending East Bend Elementary School. He was part of the inaugural class and none of the students had ever participated in a hunter safety program before.
“None of us had ever done it so we were just having fun and learning to shoot,” Webb said. “The next year we got good enough to where we won in the district and placed in the top three. We also did well at state. Every year I’ve shot I’ve been on an archery team that has placed in the top three.”
Webb says that archery is a natural attraction for him. His father and his grandfather both have a history with archery, and he felt it was only natural for him to follow in their footsteps.
“I was just a natural in archery; it’s what I was good at,” Webb said. “My dad did archery when he was younger so it sort of stuck with me more than the other things.”
Webb’s injury came just one day after the start of practice for the 2011 season, and he knew his dreams of going to the championship that year were not going to happen. He didn’t let that stop him, however, getting out and practicing as soon as his doctor gave him permission.
“I just had to get the strength back in my leg to where I could stand on it long enough to practice,” Webb said. “I walked and made sure I was doing something every day and not just sitting around.”
Webb said that he had to change his stance a bit after the accident, but he hadn’t experienced any other changes to his form or abilities. His desire to perfect his skills intensified this year, and he spent hours outside of team practices making sure he was ready.
“The last month or so I was constantly changing my sites because I would fine-tune it more and more,” Webb said. “I was shooting 10 or so rounds a day so I would get enough strength,”
He competed in the 34th Annual North Carolina Wildlife Hunter Skills Tournament on April 28. The tournament consists of competitions in shotgun, rifle, archery and hunter skills. Webb took home the state championship in archery.
“I was really surprised, and I was happy,” Webb said. “Everyone was telling me I better go out there and win, jokingly, but I tried to take it serious. And I went out there and won.”
Webb thinks that archery provides him something to focus on and work toward outside of schoolwork.
“It’s got me to where I try hard at something,” Webb said. “It gives me something to do outside of school and on the weekends with my friends. It’s something I can work toward and get awards for it.”
Webb says he plans to continue to pursue archery and compete in even more tournaments.
“I’m going to try to work my way to the top to become better than what I am now,” Webb said. “I’d like to win a national or international title until I feel accomplished in what I’ve done.”
Webb’s hunter safety team scored first in rifle, first in shotgun, third in archery and third in hunter skills. The team finished second overall in the tournament, 37 points away from first place.
Forbush High student Anthony McClelland placed third overall, and Colton Horn placed third in hunter skills.
Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at email@example.com.