Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bartow's Gandy Shoots To 2nd Archery Record

Published Monday, June 11, 2007

Bartow's Gandy Shoots To 2nd Archery Record

LISA COFFEY/The LedgerDiane Watson, left, and Frank Gandy write down scores as Francis Watson, right, calls them out on Sunday. The three were competing in the 28th Annual Sunshine State Games at Mulberry Park.

Even at age 71, Frank Gandy of Bartow still has gold in his eyes. Gandy set his second archery record of the 28th Annual Sunshine State Games on Sunday when he won the Master Senior Male Freestyle division (age 65+) with a total score of 870 for a 900 round. It was the best score for that division in the history of the games. Gandy also set a record Saturday with a score of 868 in the Executive Senior Male Freestyle category (age 70 plus). His scores were the fourth and fifth highest in a 900 round of the weekend.His totals won both divisions and earned him an ice cream from fellow archer and student Diane Watson of Hudson, who shot 865 on Sunday.Watson, 43, is the only professional female archer in the state of Florida and was the 2006 Florida Archery Association's Shooter of the Year.Watson is still impressed by Gandy, who taught her for a while."He's such a gentleman,'' she said of her mentor and friend. "Frank's just awesome. He's one of the best shooters in the state still at 71. He still shoots extremely well. Everyone is always trying to pick his brain and get coaching from him.''Gandy was unaware of the Sunshine State Game records.He has competed in the Sunshine State Games for dozens of years. Lately he's cut his shooting down because of his age, traveling to events closer to his Bartow home.With the hot weekend and temperatures in the low 90s at Mulberry Park, Gandy felt his age."I got tired,'' he said. "I'm wore out. At 71 the heat makes a difference. I had a good time and I'm still on the top side of the green grass.''Over his 50 years shooting, many with his wife Margaret by his side on the shooting line, he has won three Pro Archers Association national championships and two more from the now defunct NFA organization.He practices about four to five hours a week, which he claims is not early enough anymore."I just like to compete,'' he said. "It's such a personal challenge. The physical energy you have to have, but more importantly is the mental part - to focus and control your emotions. "I've enjoyed success and support from my wife and family. It's been a fun 50 years.''

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