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Nov. 13, 2014 Volume 36, No. 12

Staffer new to archery shatters record at national contest

Candace Sall’s 8-year-old daughter won at contest, too


Candace Sall, shown in the Museum Support Center among artifacts of the Grayson Archery Collection, set a world record by shooting an arrow 802 feet at the National Flight Championships. Photo by Nicholas Benner.

As the last round of the championships neared, Candy Sall was anxious.

After all, she had been shooting bow and arrow for only two years. This was her second archery competition. And she was borrowing a bow because hers was broken. The borrowed bow was for right-handers. Sall is left-handed.

Her aspiration was to beat the amateur record of 400 feet she set at last year’s competition. She did, and then some.

On the hot, dusty Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah Aug. 30, Sall set a world record in the National Flight Championships by firing an arrow 802 feet.

Sall is associate curator of the Museum of Anthropology, which includes the Grayson Archery Collection. The collection has 5,300 pieces at the Museum Support Center on Rock Quarry Road. (The collection can be viewed by appointment.) It will become part of the museum at Mizzou North next year.

Breaking the archery record reinvigorated Sall’s interest in the collection, which was donated by Charles Grayson in the early 1990s. Grayson was a physician who died at age 98 in 2009. Sall feels some affinity with the collector. “He was a left-handed archer just like me,” she said.

Sall mostly practices in her backyard shooting at hay bales. Sometimes her 8-year-old daughter, Izzie, shoots with her. At the August championships, Izzie won in her age group.

Sall’s youngest daughter, 6-year-old Beth, shoots, too, and even found a special use for her 10-pound bow and arrow. Beth recently pulled a wiggly baby tooth by tying one end of a string to the tooth and the other end to an arrow and shooting, Sall said.

Typically by August, the Bonneville Salt Flats are drowned in water because of Utah’s monsoons. Yet by Aug. 28, the first day of the three-day National Flight Championships, the plain was dry and crusty white.

Moments from launching her first arrow in the competition, Sall rested her composite recurve wooden bow on her dusty Merrell boots. She heard a crack and looked down to find that the first layer of wood had buckled. Her bow was broken. Sall felt her chances of competing slipping away.

But she had an idea. “I knew if I asked for help, something could happen,” Sall said. “Everyone is so generous in the archery community.”

Fellow archer Steve Gardner offered her the bow he had crafted out of ash and osage orange. However, some elbow grease had to be put into Gardner’s 50-pound right-handed bow.

On Aug. 29, beneath a tent on the salt flats, Gardner shaved the bow down to a 35-pound bow. “Keep it. It’s yours now,” Gardner told Sall after he glued on the finishing touch: a piece of leather fashioned into a left-handed arrow shelf.

That afternoon, Sall shot the bow in a round, and the following morning, she shot it in another round. Finals were in the afternoon with temperatures nearing 90.

Sall felt a backwind as she took her stance in the finals. Friends had gathered to give tips before she shot. David Lynn Hayes, chair of the USA Archery Flight Committee, told Sall to just let go and touch her shoulder. She did. The arrows flew.

Kay Koppedrayer, a competition staffer and record holder in Sall’s flight category, walked along the flight path picking up arrows. She stopped near the 800-foot mark and picked up an arrow with Sall’s name scribed in Sharpie on the shaft.

“I think you broke my record,” she said. Sall shrugged. She knew she wouldn’t hear back from the judging committee for days while they collected arrows and calculated distances.

Three days later, Koppedrayer arrived in Columbia with the gold Harry Drake medal in hand and an I-told-you-so grin on her face. Sall had shattered the world record — Koppedrayer’s record — by more than 100 feet.

Sall isn’t sure what bow she will use in next year’s competition. But since the national contest, she’s only used the one Gardner gave her.

— Alaina Lancaster