At 16 years old, Isaac Bedford has officially joined the ranks of Team Canada for the upcoming 2021 Youth World Archery Championships in Wroclaw, Poland later this summer.
The 150 Mile House resident, who has been training in archery as a member of the Cariboo Archers and been heavily involved with the Rose Lake/Miocene 4-H Club for years, will travel to Poland Aug. 9-15 for the event.
Bedford said due to the COVID-19 restrictions on competitions and travel, he had to recruit a certified judge to witness, adjudicate and score all his arrows in his trials to qualify for the Canadian team.
Then, his certified scores, as well as photos of each six-arrow end had to be sent to Archery Canada.
As the only local, certified judge, Bedford tasked fellow Cariboo Archer and coach Al Campsall with adjudicating, who setup the 50-metre target course then judged all of Bedford’s arrows.
Isaac then met Campsall at the Williams Lake Sportsmen’s Association archery club on Bond Lake Road many times to practice leading up to the event.
Each time, Isaac shot either one round of 72 arrows, or two rounds of 144 arrows. He said his best score of 692/720 was well ahead of all the cadet-aged boys from across Canada, ahead of the second-best score by nine (683).
His score would have qualified him for first place in both the 2013 and 2015 World Youth Championships.
Bedford got interested in archery at the age of 12 after gaining experience hunting with his family.
“Hunting (with a gun) was almost too easy so I wanted a bit more of a challenge and I always enjoyed shooting why the bow so I went and bought one. Gavin Laukken helped me set it up … about a year and a half later he let my dad know about the JOP (Junior Olympic Program) for the Cariboo Archers and I went the first night and was like: ‘Yeah. This is awesome.’”
Isaac said many time Canadian archery gold-medal winner Ty Thurow also attended one session to give him some competition and moral support. He said having the support of fellow Cariboo Archers has been huge in his progression in the sport.
“Having Al (Campsall) and everyone else, guys like Ty and the rest of the crew in Williams Lake — all of them have helped me in one way or another and, without them, there’s no way I would be anywhere near where I am right now. The coaching has been huge, and Ty always pushing me to be better.”
In qualifying for the Youth World Archery Championships, Isaac joins a long line of archers from the Cariboo who have represented Canada. Dan Mobbs, Jessie Mobbs, Fred Streleoff and Campsall have all represented Canada in numerous world championships. No other archery club in Canada can boast sending five archers to the worlds.
As for goals, Bedford, who turns 17 in September and will be entering Grade 12 at Lake City Secondary School, said he’s trying to not put too much pressure on himself, and to enjoy the experience.
“Often times when I do something with my bar set at cloud nine, sometimes I achieve at cloud three,” he said. “When you have such high expectations for yourself it’s really hard to let that one bad shot go, or two bad shots go, and then more bad things start to happen. I just know I’ve done all my work beforehand and will just try to settle down and relax.
“It’s going to be a really neat trip and I’m going to enjoy everyone standing on that line because they’ve all put in their time.”
In January of 2021, Bedford also placed first among all 14 Canadian competitors and placed 137th out of 835 men worldwide at the Indoor Archery World Series Online.
In May, Bedford, who is a member of the Métis Nation, was recognized as an Interior recipient of the 2020 Premier’s Award for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sport.