You’d be right to call them the golden boys of archery.
Robbie Comberbach, 11, and Riel Lewer, 12, are two good friends who did exceptionally well at the 2014 Indoor Provincial Target Championships, sponsored by the Archers and Bowhunters Association of Manitoba, at 17 Wing Winnipeg on March 16.
Comberbach won a gold medal in the pre-cub compound category, and if that wasn’t enough, he also broke a national record in his age category.
Out of a score of 600, Comberbach shot a total of 594. In that competition, Comberbach would have had to hit a bullseye, worth 10 points, 60 times in order to obtain a perfect score.
"He hit a 10 almost 60 times," Comberbach’s coach, Jason Sweet, said.
Comberbach shoots with a compound bow, which allows him to pull a heavier weight or hold less weight at full draw.
"So where he might be pulling 25 or 30 pounds, he’d only be holding what he’s aiming, about six to seven pounds," Sweet explained.
"What I use is easier because it has pulley systems and stuff. It’s easier to shoot, and I can hold more pounds and hold it longer," Comberbach said.
Comberbach said it felt good to not only win a gold medal at the provincial championships but also to beat a Canadian record that hasn’t been broken in about eight years.
"I have to stay consistent. I have to shoot almost every day, and sometimes I’ll take a day off, otherwise I’m basically shooting every day," Comberbach said of his practice schedule.
"I started coaching Robbie when he was six, so right away, I could tell he was very smart. He had just a natural talent to shoot a bow, and for someone at six or seven years old, he really picked up on the more technical concepts a lot quicker than most kids I’ve ever worked with," Sweet said. "His biggest strength is his focus and determination. When he wants to do something, he works super hard to get it. His weakness is he can be a little over-confident sometimes," Sweet said with a laugh.
Lewer won a gold medal in the pre-cub recurve category at the provincial championships, scoring 470 out of 600.
"I am shooting recurve. It means that it doesn’t have that pulley system that Robbie’s bow does. The recurve is more simple," Lewer explained.
Lewer got started in archery five years ago because his father had been taking part in the sport.
"There’s really nice people, it’s fun, and it’s kind of unique," Lewer said.
Afterwards, Comberbach asked to accompany Lewer and his father to watch the provincials, and he was hooked.
The boys, who are also classmates at École Dieppe, shoot together at Heights Archery Range (2281 Portage Ave.).
"I think archery is a fun sport and people should try it," Lewer said.