Custer archer Jacie Behlings has come a long way since she first picked up a bow and arrow at the age of 4. Today at 11, she is a world champion who recently shattered two world records.
Behlings participated in the 2019 National Outdoor Field Archery Tournament July 26-28 and bagged a large trophy, designating her as the cub female barebow national champion.
In the process, she shattered the old record of 412 in the field competition by an astounding 30 points, finishing with a score of 442.
In the hunter round, Behlings broke the previous record of 408, scoring a 422.
Behlings competed against over 500 archers from around the country on outdoor courses at the headquarters of the National Field Archery Association in Yankton.
In the field and hunter rounds, Behlings shot four arrows at each of 28 targets in the course for a total of 112 arrows launched in each round.
“I’m really proud of how far I’ve come,” said Behlings. “From where I could barely pick up the bow, now I shoot 30 pounds.”
Her parents, Joel and Christie Behlings, are also proud of their daughter’s accomplishments.
Joel, who said he shoots “a little bit,” but is not a hunter, said Jacie’s initial inspiration was Merida from the 2012 Disney/Pixar animated movie “Brave” which is about a 16-year-old Scottish princess who is a skilled archer.
“We used to watch it all the time,” said Joel.
Today, Jacie looks for inspiration from real-life heroes like teenage competition archers Sadie Tesch from Rapid City and Hannah Bartos of Sioux Falls.
Another more famous hero is professional archer Cassidy Cox who autographed Jacie’s bow when they met in March at the Indoor Nationals in Cincinnati, Ohio. Incidentally, Jacie came in fourth overall in that competition.
Jacie started shooting bow and arrow with Custer’s YMCA archery program and went as far as she could there before transitioning to Top Pin Archery. There she continues to participate in “mail-in tournaments” which allow her to compete against archers from around the world while staying right at home.
The Custer Elementary sixth-grader does have more plans to travel with her bow and arrows, however.
“I hope to go to nationals next year in Louisville, Ky., and then progress to world,” she said.