Great State: Ancient Archer

LEXINGTON, OKLAHOMA — It’s a daily routine for Carol Northcutt. He walks out his back door in the morning, to a specific spot cut in the grass.

He notches an arrow in his compound bow and shoots.

“I just point it toward the target and pull the trigger,” he explains.

On this day he practices from 20 yards.

The wind is bothersome as usual, but in the right conditions Carol is pretty good from any distance.

“I can’t say that anything particular made me good, except a lot of practice,” he says.

Northcutt didn’t take up archery seriously until after he retired.

He was too busy flying fighter aircraft in three wars and being a bush pilot in Alaska.

But once he connected with archery, there was no letting go.

Day after day, arrow after arrow.

In 2003 he won a gold medal in the National Senior Olympics.

He’s won every archery gold since.

“I try to shoot a little every day,” he says. “I can shoot fairly well when there’s no wind. Still.”

Of course he’s not as good as he used to be.

Carol uses a lighter bow now.

The arrow doesn’t always fly true.

He interjects, “I’m 93 years old, and I shoot like a 93 year-older.”

There’s another Senior Olympic Games in 2013, this time in Ohio.

Carol predicts another gold medal, one more.

It’s not confidence in his archery that’s waned, but in his driving.

“I don’t feel that I’m going to be safe to drive after this year,” he says.

Meanwhile, the world’s best 90-something archer will continue his daily practice routine.

Hitting a target, after all, is something he’s used to doing.

The National Senior Olympics will take place in Cleveland, Ohio in July. Carol plans on making the trip with his son-in-law.