Cortez eighth-grader Peyton Perry won S3DA Western Nationals for archery in April, making it her first national title after shooting archery for four years.
Perry began competing in archery when she was a fifth grader in Ohio and fell in love with the sport. When her family moved to Cortez, she joined the local 4-H archery program.
“I love the spontaneousness and the challenge of it,” she said. “I think it’s really fun to just go out and shoot.”
At Western Nationals, Perry shot in the barebow discipline. Perry explained that when you shoot barebow, the bow doesn’t have any sights. It is just her and the bow.
At the county level, Perry has won grand champion twice, and state reserve grand champion in 2021. She ended up winning 4-H state in 2022 and was S3DA state reserve champion in 2023, qualifying her for nationals in Vernal, Utah.
Because she knew she was in the running for national champion, Perry said she felt nervous but was able to shoot the way she needed to in order to clinch the national title.
“Everything went according to plan,” she said. “I was pretty nervous, and we shot over the course of two days. I shot worse on the first day because I didn’t really know what I was doing and was pretty anxious about it, but on the second day I did a lot better and shot very well.”
After being named national champion, Perry said she was excited to see her hard work pay off.
“I was pretty excited,” Perry said. “I’d worked for several weeks honing my skills and it all paid off.”
Perry said she will continue shooting throughout high school and is planning to compete in archery at the collegiate level someday. She also said she is aiming for the biggest competition of all – the Olympics.
Perry’s mother, Whitney Perry, spoke of Peyton’s goals, saying she has spoken often about working toward collegiate archery and the Olympics.
“Peyton said this morning that her goal is to get a college scholarship eventually. She’s going to keep doing archery throughout high school and she wants to hopefully make it to the Olympics,” she said.
To accomplish this goal, Perry said she plans on going to more competitions and bigger competitions to become more familiar with how elite level archery works. She also hopes this will put her on the radar of college teams and recruiters.
“Peyton wouldn’t be able to do this without the help of Stacey and Kelly Weyand and John Butler. They’ve really helped her to get to where she is today,” her mom said.