A History of Target Crossbow Shooting in the United States
Harry Lloyd (Gran’pa) Bailey (1874-1961), from Elizabeth, New Jersey, is remembered as the father of the target crossbow shooting sport in the United States. He cajoled the National Archery Association to include crossbow competition in the 1947 Outdoor National Archery Championships, continuing to this day.
Originally, The National Crossbowmen (TNC), and its predecessor, The National Company of Crossbowmen, received CLUB status within the National Archery Association (NAA). But today, TNC is on a par with the Flight Division, College Division, and the Compound Bow Division of the NAA.
Crossbow competition was included for the first time in a national championship tournament in 1947, when it was held in Amherst, Massachusetts. The crossbow competition consisted of two American Rounds - 30 arrows shot from 60, 50, and 40 yards using a multi-colored 5-ring 24” target face. The gold was scored as 9, red 7, blue 5, black 3, and white 1. The highest possible score for a single American Round with 90 hits was 810. Besides the main American Round, our founders also instilled TNC specific rounds, the Kings Round, Queens Round, the Apple Round. TNC also awards the Karl Traudt Award to the crossbowman with the highest 900 Round during the annual TNC Outdoor National Championships.
In 1947, the winning score for the two rounds combined was 180 hits for 1300 out of a possible 180 hits and 1610. That was very good shooting for that day when crossbows lost cast as the day grew warmer and arrows were made from wood with natural barred turkey feather fletch. In fact, an American Round shot without a miss was in itself quite an accomplishment for any archer, as anyone shooting in those days can attest.
The individual round scores for the 1947 National Crossbow Championships are lost in antiquity, but the average for the two winning rounds was 650. For comparison, in 1974, which was the last year that the “810 American” was used in a national crossbow championship, Thomas Hock from Cincinnati, Ohio, averaged 752 for four rounds and Carol Pelosi from Greenbelt, Maryland, averaged 758.
The formation of TNC followed the withdrawal of the National Company of Crossbowmen from the National Archery Association when its First Captain (today he would be called President) and officials of the NAA failed to agree on target fees. The First Captain was adamant that only two crossbowmen, instead of four, be assigned to a target backstop because of the high degree of accuracy being attained with the crossbow. The NAA agreed to that arrangement provided crossbowmen paid a slightly higher shooting fee.
When the First Captain severed relations with the NAA, a group of shooters saw logic in the NAA’s position and organized a new club - The National Crossbowmen in 1960. This allowed the new club to remain a part of the National Archery Association.
Fred Isles, from New Jersey, and close friend and confidant of Gran’pa Harry Bailey, was elected the first president of the newly formed National Crossbowmen, followed several years later by Richard Neill, also from New Jersey, then Thomas Hock from Ohio, Rolfe Smith from Pennsylvania, Charles Sacco from New Jersey, and at the present time, William Pimm from Florida.
The official title for the target crossbow sport, or “Crossbow Archery” as Gran’pa Bailey thought of it, is FIELD CROSSBOW, not to be confused with FIELD ARCHERY. Rather, it refers to shooting outdoors, in a field, to distinguish it from MATCH crossbow shooting which is usually shot indoors on a rifle range. Both “match” and “field” crossbow sports are affiliated with the International Armbrust Union (IAU), with headquarters in Switzerland. IAU has sponsored eleven international field crossbow world championship events that the US has participated in.
New Zealand 1992
New Zealand 2000
Czech Republic 2004
In the first four World Championships, anyone could participate even though there were not a member of their country’s team. However, in the 1990 World Field Crossbow Championships, held in Portugal in September of 1990, each country was limited to official teams consisting of up to five men, three women, three juniors, and three seniors (55 or older) in order to keep the number of participants at a manageable level. Interest and growth at the international level has been very gratifying.
In the World Championships, two crossbow international - 900 Rounds are shot over a two day period to determine the individual world crossbow champions. Each round consists of 90 arrows, 30 arrows shot from 65 meters, 30 from 50 meters, and 30 arrows at 35 meters, using a 60 centimeter target face. The arrows are scored from ten out to one, with a POSSIBLE combined two day score of 1800. For the next World Championships in New Zealand in January 2000, competitors will be shooting a new 40 centimeter three spot target face at 35 meters.
Medals have been won by one or more US crossbow man, woman, senior, or junior in all of the world championships held to date except for 1992 in New Zealand:
1982, Finland - Carol Pelosi, Greenbelt, MD, GOLD, Ladies World Champion.
1984, England - Carol Pelosi, Greenbelt, MD, GOLD, Ladies World Champion;
Sarah Plappert, Sheboygan, WI, GOLD, Junior World Champion;
Lillie Stauffer, Lancaster, PA, BRONZE, Ladies
Alan Kaufhold, Lancaster, PA, BRONZE, Mens
1986, USA - Carol Pelosi, Greenbelt, MD, GOLD, Ladies World Champion;
George Slinzeer, Luzerne, PA, GOLD, Mens World Champion;
James Thomas, Luzerne, PA, BRONZE, Mens
1988, Sweden - Carol Pelosi, Greenbelt, MD, BRONZE, Ladies
1990, Portugal - Carol Pelosi, Greenbelt, MD, BRONZE, Ladies
1992, New Zealand - No USA Medalists!
1994, Germany - Carol Pelosi, Greenbelt, MD, SILVER; Ladies
BRONZE, US Ladies Team
1996, Taiwan - Carol Pelosi, Greenbelt, MD, BRONZE, Ladies
1998, Hungary - John Gracey, St. Thomas, PA, GOLD, Sport Crossbow Championships
SILVER, US Senior Team
2000, New Zealand - No USA Medalists!
2002, Croatia - USA did not participate!
2004, Czech Republic - USA did not participate!
After the 1985 World Championships, the target face used was reduced from 80 centimeters to 60, so scores were not given above since they would not be comparable.
In 2002, the World Crossbow Shooting Association (WCSA) was formed and incorporated to further promote target (field) crossbow competition. The IAU had eliminated the Senior division, abandoned plans for a Sport Crossbow division and had no division for Assisted competitors. The WCSA included all of these divisions as well as promoting more indoor competitions, another area that the IAU was not promoting. The WCSA has held Outdoor World Championships in Target, Sport, 3-D, and Medieval shooting.
2003, England - No USA Medalists
2005, Australia - No USA Medalists
2007, United States - Brent Hankins, OH, GOLD, Junior World Champion
James Whispell, PA, SILVER Juniors
Mike Blessing Jr, PA, BRONZE Juniors
Carol Pelosi, MD, GOLD, Ladies World Champion
Ashley Butler, PA, SILVER, Ladies
Michelle O'Donnell, FL, BRONZE, Ladies
James Thomas, PA, GOLD, Mens World Champion
Ted Lasko, PA, SILVER, Mens
William Pimm, FL, BRONZE, Mens
Connie Stevens, PA, SILVER, Sr. Female
Jeannette Price, MD, BRONZE, Sr. Female
USA, GOLD, Junior Team World Champions
Mike Blessing Jr
USA, GOLD, Ladies Team World Champions
USA2, SILVER, Ladies Team
USA, GOLD, Mens Team World Champions
USA2, BRONZE, Mens Team
USA, SILVER, Sr. Mens Team
Brent Hankins, OH, GOLD Junior MatchPlay World Champion
Mike Blessing Jr, PA, SILVER Junior MatchPlay
James Whispell, PA, BRONZE, Junior MatchPlay
Michelle O'Donnell, FL, GOLD, Ladies MatchPlay World Champion
Carol Pelosi, MD, SILVER, Ladies MatchPlay
James Thomas, PA, GOLD, Mens MatchPlay World Champion
Ted Lasko, PA, SILVER, Mens MatchPlay
William Pimm, FL, BRONZE, Mens MatchPlay
Connie Stevens, PA, SILVER Sr. Ladies MatchPlay
Jeannette Price, MD, BRONZE, Sr. Ladies MatchPlay
Terry Butler, PA, SILVER, Sr. Mens MatchPlay
2009, Portugal - Pat Copley, WV, GOLD, Sr. Ladies World Champion
Brent Hankins, OH, GOLD, Mens World Champion
Steve Pylypchuk, NJ, SILVER, Mens
Terry Butler, PA, BRONZE, Mens
USA, GOLD, Mens Team World Champions
Jeff Copley, WV, GOLD, Forest, Open Men Sport
Steve Pylypchuk, NJ, GOLD, Forest, Open Men Target
2011, Australia - No US competitors
2013, Sweden - Pat Copley, WV, GOLD, Sr. Ladies World Champion
As for the United States Championships since 1960, the type of rounds shot to determine our crossbow championships changed several times - from four American rounds to four metric 900 rounds in 1975, to four International IR-900 with an 80 centimeter face in 1977, then to four IR-900 rounds scored on a 60 centimeter face from 1988 to 1998. In 1999, four IT-900 rounds were still shot but the 60 centimeter face at 35 meters was changed to the 40 centimeter three spot target face. These changes were done in conjunction with changes in the rounds made by the IAU. Scores would not be comparable here either. Listed below are the Men’s and Ladies Outdoor Champions.
TNC Outdoor National Champions
Year Men Ladies
1947 Paul A. Runyon, NJ None
1948 E. Perkins Jr., CA None
1949 Henry L. Bailey, NJ None
1950 Harold G. Morse, NJ None
1951 Walter Palkowski, CA None
1952 George Stevens, AR None
1953 Paul Eytel, NJ None
1954 F.E. Pierce, CA None
1955 Paul Eytel, NJ Lillian Eytel, NJ
1956 Paul Eytel, NJ Lillian Eytel, NJ
1957 Robert Brennerman, OH Margaret Brennerman, OH
1958 Paul Eytel, NJ Lillian Eytel, NJ
1959 Paul Eytel, NJ Margaret Brennerman, OH
1960 Paul Eytel, NJ Lillian Eytel, NJ
1961 Karl Traudt, FL Fannie Brumble, OH 1962 Robert Brennerman, OH Margaret Brennerman, OH 1963 Robert Brennerman, OH Margaret Brennerman, OH 1964 Richard Neill, NJ None 1965 George Gurik, IL Margaret Brennerman, OH 1966 None None 1967 George Gurik, IL Margeret Brennerman, OH 1968 Robert Rees, FL Margaret Brennerman, OH 1969 George Gurik, IL Anne Neill, NJ 1970 George Gurik, IL Anne Neill, NJ 1971 George Hall, NJ Anne Neill, NJ 1972 Richard Neill, NJ Grace Kremer, PA 1973 Thomas Hock, OH Carol Pelosi, MD 1974 Thomas Hock, OH Carol Pelosi, MD
1975 Rick Lambert, VA Carol Pelosi, MD
1976 George Hall, NJ Carol Pelosi, MD
1977 Rolfe Smith, PA Carol Pelosi, MD
1978 Rodney Boyce, LA Carol Pelosi, MD
1979 Rodney Boyce, LA Carol Pelosi, MD
1980 Erv Myers, PA Carol Pelosi, MD
1981 Erv Myers, PA Carol Pelosi, MD
1982 Erv Myers, PA Carol Pelosi, MD
1983 Robert C.W. Smith, PA Carol Pelosi, MD
1984 Alan Kaufhold, PA Carol Pelosi, MD
1985 Erv Myers, OH Carol Pelosi, MD
1986 Erv Myers, OH Carol Pelosi, MD
1987 Alan Kaufhold, PA Carol Pelosi, MD
1988 Stan Pennypacker, PA Carol Pelosi, MD
1989 George Slinzer, PA Lillie Stauffer, PA
1990 John Gracey, PA Carol Pelosi, MD
1991 Jim Thomas, PA Carol Pelosi, MD
1992 Tom Holland, NY Carol Pelosi, MD
1993 Jim Thomas, PA Carol Pelosi, MD
1994 Jim Thomas, PA Carol Pelosi, MD
1995 William G. Pimm Jr., FL Carol Pelosi, MD
1996 William G. Pimm Jr., FL Carol Pelosi, MD
1997 William G. Pimm Jr., FL Carol Pelosi, MD
1998 Ray Stauffer, PA Carol Pelosi, MD
1999 William G. Pimm Jr., FL Carol Pelosi, MD
2000 William G. Pimm Jr., FL Carol Pelosi, MD
2001 William G. Pimm Jr., FL Carol Pelosi, MD
2002 William G. Pimm Jr., FL Carol Pelosi, MD
2003 William G. Pimm Jr., FL Carol Pelosi, MD
2004 William G. Pimm Jr., FL Carol Pelosi, MD 2005* Jim Thomas, PA Pat Copley, WV 2006** Jim Thomas, PA Carol Pelosi, MD 2007** Jim Thomas, PA Carol Pelosi, MD 2008** Jim Thomas, PA Pat Copley, WV
2009** Jim Thomas, PA Carol Pelosi, MD
2010** Ted Lasko, PA Michelle O'Donnell, FL
2011** William G. Pimm Jr., FL Pat Copley, WV
2012** Ted Lasko, PA Pat Copley, WV
2013** Ted Lasko, PA N/A
* Held in State College PA in conjunction with the Eastern Archery Championships
** Held at Brookdale Park in Bloomfield NJ
Like life, the only sure thing in crossbow is CHANGE. The first several National Indoor Championships involved two Metric-900 Rounds, shot in the spacious Farm Show Building (also called the Cow Palace) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Metric-900 Round gave way to a FITA-2 and FITA-1, 25 and 18 meter rounds respectively, when major renovations to the building precluded the shooting of outdoor distances indoors. In more recent years, the NAA Indoor Championships have been regionalized into Eastern, Southern, Northern and Western segments. Scores from each region are sent to the NAA headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where they are collated into a single weep sheet to determine the archery and crossbow champions. Crossbowmen and women do not compete against other NAA archers. However, for the indoor nationals both shoot the same rounds.
TNC / NAA Indoor Crossbow Champions
1972 Grace Kremer Charles Sacco
1973 Ann Neill Charles Sacco
1974 Fredna Ward Hardy Ward
1975 Carol Pelosi Rick Lambert 1976 Carol Pelosi Randi Kremer 1977 Carol Pelosi Thomas Phipps 1978 Carol Pelosi Charles Sacco 1979 Carol Pelosi Alan Kaufold 1980 Carol Pelosi Erv Myers 1981 Carol Pelosi Charles Sacco Matt Huelscamp 1982 Carol Pelosi Erv Myers 1983 Carol Pelosi Erv Myers Mark McGovern 1984 Carol Pelosi Erv Myers Mark McGovern 1985 Carol Pelosi Jim ThomasTraci Pollock 1986 Carol Pelosi Jim Thomas 1987 Carol Pelosi Jim ThomasRobert A. Wells 1988 Carol Pelosi Jim ThomasJason Marlow 1989 Carol Pelosi Jim Thomas 1990 Carol Pelosi Ray Stauffer 1991 Carol Pelosi Tom Holland 1992 Lillie Stauffer Tom Holland 1993 Carol Pelosi Jim Thomas 1994 Carol Pelosi Tom Holland 1995 Carol Pelsoi Tom Holland 1996 Carol Pelosi Tom Holland 1997 Carol Pelosi Tom Holland 1998 Carol Pelosi Tom Holland 1999 Carol Pelosi Tom Holland 2000 Carol Pelosi Tom Holland 2001 Carol Pelosi William G. Pimm, Jr. 2002 Carol Pelosi Tom Holland
2003 Carol Pelosi William G. Pimm Jr.
2004 Carol Pelosi Jim Thomas
2005 Pat Copley Jim Thomas
2006 ? ?
2007 Ashley Butler Tom Holland
2008 Carol Pelosi Tom Holland
2009 Pat Copley Tom Holland
2010 Carol Pelosi Tom Holland
2011 Carol Pelosi Tom Holland
2012 Pat Copley Tom Holland
2013 Pat Copley Tom Holland
Competition for crossbows is offered by a number of local, state, and regional archery organizations in addition to the national and international competitions already mentioned. Most target archery groups, if approached, will make provisions for crossbow competition; and recently the National Field Archery Association (NFAA) and the International Bowhunting Organization (IBO) have opened their competitions to crossbow shooting. Although in the NFAA and the IBO competitions, a Sport Crossbow is more conducive to these rounds.
The future of field crossbow shooting looks bright, especially in the US, after a bit of a lull, new members are showing interest in active participation and the membership is growing. The new TNC web page: www.crossbowusa.com has become the main vehicle of advertising for the organization bringing in quite a few new members. TNC has incorporated as a non-profit organization to make it easier to draw support from outside the archery/crossbow industry and to limit liability of the TNC officers. The World Archery Federation also took over the organization of the Atlantic City Archery Classic, an annual event that crossbow has been part of for almost 20 years. Listed below are the Champions for both the World Archery Festival and the Atlantic City International Archery Classic, (ACAC). We are still searching for the Champions for some years of ACAC but will update as new information comes in. The NFAA officially voted to include a crossbow division for tournaments held at the national level. A crossbow division would be optional for NFAA events at the regional and state level. To begin with, it will be limited to target style crossbows and indoor competition. This would mean that crossbows would be included at the NFAA Indoor National Championships, held in Louisville KY and also make crossbows eligible for the 3 Star tour which includes a large cash prize for the highest score over the 3 main NFAA tournaments, The World Archery Festival, The NFAA Indoor Championships and the Atlantic City / Pittsburgh Archery Classic.
Atlantic City International Archery Classic
One of the major indoor crossbow tournaments has been the Atlantic City International Archery Classic. This tournament has been held for close to 30 years. It was started by Dr. Helen Bolnick, Archery Coach at Atlantic City Community College. More on the Pittsburgh venue after the first tournament held there in April 2005. This tournament changed formats of the years and target sizes so the winners are listed below but not scores. This is the only major indoor tournament shooting longer distances, 40, 50, and 60 meters for some years then changing over to 40, 50, and 60 yards. Sixty total arrows were shot per day, 30 at each distance. The target faces began with the 80cm colored face and changed over to the 60cm target face. The World Archery Federation, an affiliate of the National Field Archery Association (NFAA) took over the management of this tournament in 2003 and as of 2005, has moved it to Pittsburgh. It is the 3rd leg of the NFAA 3 Star tour. Listed below are the Champions for this very popular tournament:
Year Ladies Champion Men’s Champion
1978 Carol PelosiCharlie Sacco 1979 Carol PelosiCharlie Sacco 1980 Carol Pelosi Erv Meyers 1981 Carol PelosiAlan Kaufhold 1982 Carol PelosiAlan Kaufhold 1983 Carol PelosiAlan Kaufhold 1988 Lillie StuafferAlan Kaufhold 1989 ? William G. Pimm Jr. 1990 Lillie Stuaffer William G. Pimm Jr. 1991 Michele Pimm Jim Thomas 1992 Lillie Stauffer William G. Pimm Jr. 1993 Lillie Stauffer Mike Steninger 1994 Lillie Stauffer William G. Pimm Jr. 1995 ? William G. Pimm Jr. 1996 Carol Pelosi William G. Pimm Jr. 1997 Jeannette Price William G. Pimm Jr. 1998 Pat Copley William G. Pimm Jr. 1999 Jeannette Price William G. Pimm Jr. 2000 Pat Copley William G. Pimm Jr. 2001 Pat Copley William G. Pimm Jr. 2002 Carol Pelosi William G. Pimm Jr. 2003 Carol Pelosi William G. Pimm Jr. 2004 Carol Pelosi Jim Thomas
WAF Archery Classic in Pittsburgh PA
The World Archery Federation has moved this tournament from Atlantic City to Pittsburgh beginning in 2005, it is the same format as was held in Atlantic City and replaces the Atlantic City International Archery Classic.
Year Ladies Champion Mens Champion
2005 Ashley Butler William G. Pimm Jr.
The World Archery Festival - Las Vegas
The World Archery Federation, an affiliate of the NFAA officially included a crossbow division at their World Archery Festival in Las Vegas NV in 2003, this was a significant accomplishment being the first tournament for crossbows that included prize money. In this competition Men shot against Ladies, in one class until 2005 when the NFAA voted in an official crossbow division into their organization. With that decision, there is now both a Men's and Ladies Champion crowned in the NFAA sponsored events.
2003 Carol Pelosi
2004 William G. Pimm Jr.
2005 William G. Pimm Jr. Carol Pelosi
2006 William G. Pimm Jr. Carol Pelosi
2007 William G. Pimm Jr. Carol Pelosi
2008 William G. Pimm Jr. Ashley Butler
2009 William G. Pimm Jr. Pat Copley
2010 William G. Pimm Jr. Ashley Butler
2011 William G. Pimm Jr. Michelle O'Donnell
2012 Terry Butler Ashley Butler Rampulla
2013 Gary Gilmore Pat Copley