Wanda English Burnett, Editor
Having a talent to shoot a bow has given Jason McKittrick, 33,
opportunities he never dreamed of. But, one dream is still just
points away - that of placing on the archery team for the 2008
Hoping that the third time will be the charm hes looking
for, McKittrick has already placed as alternate in the 2000
and 2004 Olympics. Its just not good enough,
he smiled as he talked about the challenge.
McKittrick, who is an agriculture engineer with the Natural
Resources Conservation Service in Greensburg, noted that he
first became interested in bow shooting when he was about 14
or 15 years old. He said he and a friend went to a local conservation
club where he realized he had a talent.
Throughout his college years, McKittrick competed in Olympic
Style Archery. He uses a Hoyt model with a Sureloc sight (made
in Versailles by CS Gibbs Company). He competed in 3-D tournaments
just to learn to shoot a little better and wound
up making the All American Team at Purdue his junior year. A
year after graduation, McKittrick made the US Archery Team.
The Holton resident says he has traveled to many countries while
competing. Hes been to Japan, Cuba, France, Canada, Germany,
Italy, Croatia, Turkey, Greece and Australia, to name a few.
He won a Gold in Winnipeg at the 1999 Pan Am Games. Hes
even made a commercial, gaining a GM car in the process. He
met Tiger Woods, who was in the same commercial and hes
given a speech at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis in front of more
than a thousand people. Ive had some great opportunities,
While this is the year McKittrick wants to make the top three
in archery to be able to travel to Beijing, he says, I
feel like Im not putting as much pressure on myself this
year. He said last year was his worst year
and he knew he had to change some things. Hes had a year
to work on his technique and it paid off this July when he set
a new 70 meter national record scoring 343 out of 360. The old
record, set in the late 80s, was 341.
McKittrick said his confidence shot up when he set this record.
He then traveled to Colorado where he came within one point
of setting yet another national record.
The first leg of the journey for the 2008 Olympics will begin
for McKittrick next week when he competes in Atlanta, GA on
September 27. This will narrow the field to 16 contestants.
Then in April, hell travel to San Diego, CA, for the second
round of the competition, where it will be narrowed to 8. The
final round will be in Phoenix in May of 2008, where the final
team is decided.
Six days a week you can find McKittrick practicing his technique
at his rural Holton home. He says he usually practices for an
hour and a half each day and tries to shoot 150 arrows. He agreed,
physically and mentally, you have to be prepared. There are
a lot of variables when it comes time for competition, one big
factor is the weather. Whether its windy or not,
if the sun is shining or if its raining, all those things
make a difference, he noted.
While McKittrick says he wasnt particularly athletic in
high school, he did run track and was on the wrestling team
at Milan High School his senior year. He said archery is more
about the mental ability than physical. Its about
your personal performance at an event, he told the Osgood
McKittricks wife Julie is a great support to him. A teacher
at St. Nicholas Catholic School in Sunman, she said, Hes
a great role model. The McKittricks have their own good
luck charm this time, or maybe just a charming little daughter,
Elizabeth. The eight-month-old was oblivious to her fathers
ability to shoot a bow, but was enamored with the bow itself.
The Olympic hopeful is the son of David McKittrick and the late
Rickie McKittrick. His step-mother, Mary, father, and brother,
Scot, are all supportive of his endeavors.
Hoping his record setting trend will carry on into the future,
McKittrick is looking forward to bringing home the gold. Even
if he doesnt, hes already a local hero. After all,
how many people from Ripley County have made alternate to the
Olympics even once, let alone twice?
WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT
Jason McKittrick pulls his practice
arrows from the target after he shot a few arrows at his
home last week. He practices six days a week for the upcoming
challenge of making the Archery Team for the 2008 Olympics.
He uses a Hoyt bow (pictured) with Sureloc sight, made
at the CS Gibbs Co. in Versailles.