By: Jace Bauserman
The Graham Creek Interpretive Center in Foley, Alabama, was home to the first National ASA 3-D tournament of the year. From February 21-24, 2019, 44 archers took to the range in the Men’s Open Pro Division. Much of the field was comprised of shooters who’ve amassed plenty of hardware over the years. “There were lots of good shooters, and the competition was stiff,” said Prime Archery Pro Shooter Kenny Lantz. “I was a little surprised at the distance of the targets as well. Usually, I find that first tournament typically boasts some of the closest targets of the year. That wasn’t the case this year. This was a tough shoot.”
Lantz hails from Pennsylvania, where the bitter winter conditions allowed him little time to prepare for the competition, but over the course of the shoot, he was able to string together one impressive round after another with his Prime CT9. Qualifying first going into the five-person shoot off, Lantz had a commanding lead. Taking unnecessary risks wasn’t needed, and he capped off the final day with his first-ever professional win and topped the podium. “I was intrigued with 3-D shooting from the first time I went to a local shoot. I watched these guys with crazy-colored bows. They were shooting far and accurate. I was always into sports, and after high school, I wanted to find something to compete in. I started shooting locally, and it just expanded from there. I started traveling with a few guys. I worked my way up. In 2007, out of the seven or eight IBO semi-pro tournaments I shot in, I won four of them and got second at three of them. I won Shooter of the Year. That’s when I knew it was time to make the jump to the pro class.”
Talking with Lantz was a joy. He is a humble man and nonchalant about his many accomplishments. Even with holding a regular job he does, of course, practice regularly. Lantz credits much of his success to his ability to judge yardage. “I have to practice a lot to stay up with the main guys. I shoot a couple of spot leagues and the like. My buddies and I do a blind draw team where we shoot a Vegas 300 round. We also do a 600 round. My daughter also got me shooting a video screen with her. It’s fun. My big thing is judging yardage. I’ve always been able to judge yardage pretty well, and if my shooting is on, I can compete. “Again, the distances were tough at this one. I’d say mid-forties was the average range. I had a good game plan going in. I shot targets for the maximum distance I thought they were. I caught a lot of 12-rings doing this and put a couple of good days together.”
So, what does the rest of the year look like for Lantz?
“I’m going to shoot the ASA’s and the IBO’s that I can. I’m just going to weigh how I’m sitting for Shooter of the Year and make my decisions based off that. That would be a big deal for me. I think Levi Morgan has like a 12-year streak going on, and if I could weasel one away from him, that would be great. It will be tough though, that guys pretty good.”
Lantz’s impressive win earned him over $12,000 in contingency money and was a heck of a way to start off the year. It will be exciting to follow his journey and watch as he reaches new heights.