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S.D Man Wins Car Shoot-Off at Archery Tournament

For the past six years, Hugo Barrientos' goal has been to win a car during a National Field Archery Association (NFAA) Tournament.

His goal came through during the 3-Star Tour Car Shoot-Off, held following the First Dakota Classic which began Saturday at the Easton Yankton Archery Complex.

“It was unbelievable,” Barrientos, who lives in Garretson, said after he bested two other archers in the final round, in which archers shot one arrow at distances that steadily increased.

“I didn't even know I had won,” he added. “I shot the arrow and I thought it didn't really feel like the best shot, but everybody started yelling, and I thought I either really missed or I got it.”

Archers from around the country competed in Yankton during the NFAA Tournament in the First Dakota Classic and the Unmarked 3D Championship.

Although five archers were competing for a one million dollar prize, they all fell short of maintaining a perfect score through Saturday's action.

Barrientos has been competing professionally for over 20 years, and has been shooting for roughly 32 years. Last year Barrientos came close to winning the car, but said the weather made it more difficult.

“It was windy last year so it was really difficult,” he said. “This year, being indoors, I knew I had a good chance at winning it. It made a big difference. Plus, I've been practicing.”

Rodger Willett of Golucesber, VA won the prize in 2011, and chose to take the $10,000 instead of the car. Willett came in second this year, and said the experience brings pressure with it.

“It's just a lot of fun. It's starts out with all of us and cuts down a little at a time,” Willett said. “By the time you get to the last few of us you know that one shot is for 10 grand. There's a lot of pressure on you.

“I pray, and I talk myself through my shot routines. You do those things to try and keep your mind off of what's going on around you.”

NFAA president Bruce Cull said over 100 people qualified for a chance to win the prize - a highlight to the competitor's weekend.

“The real finale is the car shoot-off,” he said. “What's really neat is that we've got complete families who are competing against each other for a car. We've got all demographics who are shooting, and it makes it a real novelty. They're going to get the prize, and that's quite a feat to say you've won that.”

The competition for a new car has been around since 2002, and Cull said no one has ever taken a car home.

“They take the money, and that's probably more for tax reasons than anything,” he said. “It's the highlight of a lot of these people's weekend.”

Barrientos said he will call his wife before he makes a decision to take the car or the money, but ultimately was satisfied with his performance throughout the day and during the competition for the car.

“It was a goal of mine I didn't think I'd ever make, but it came through,” he said. “My goal was to shoot a 295 or better for the tournament, and I did that today. I'm hoping to do the same tomorrow. Winning the car now, even if I don't win the competition I'm golden.”

For more on the two tournaments, read Monday's edition of the Press & Dakotan.