SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
For the second time since 2015, Schriever’s own Maj. Robert Dover, 310th Operations Support Squadron, chief of tactics employment, placed first in the bow hunter freestyle division of the Rocky Mountain State Games, July 30.
Dover competed against six people in his division but feared he wouldn’t do well since he was sent to Alabama for Air Command Staff College.
“I didn’t quite meet my goal for score, but I did alright,” he said. “I was lucky to be honest. A lot of it is muscle memory, and I got fairly lucky as far as maintaining a lot of my practice through the year.”
The divisions are based on gender and the kind of equipment competitors shoot. Bow hunter freestyle, the division Dover competed in, uses fixed sights, the front stabilizer is limited to 12 inches and participants are allowed to use a release aid.
He competed in an American 900 round meaning there are three different distances; 40, 50 and 60 yards, with 30 scoring arrows in each range.
Each arrow is worth 10 points, and there is a small “X” ring used for tiebreakers, however, no one in Dover’s division had to resort to using one.
Although the RMSG was an outdoor competition, Dover competes in indoor competitions as well.
“I prefer outdoor because there’s a lot more to the shot,” he said. “Indoor is all about developing your form; outdoor you add in additional elements: weather, terrain and different distances.”
Dover’s passion for archery began at the end of his time at Texas A&M University and continued when he moved to Colorado.
“I got the desire to get better and better, and one thing led to another and it’s become my primary sport,” he said.
Dover’s favorite aspects of archery are the people and the competition.
“While everyone certainly wants to win, it’s a friendly competition,” Dover said. “People don’t tend to get too wrapped around the axle about beating someone else. It’s not to say we don’t want to beat each other, but we want to beat each other on our best day.”
Misty Young, friend of Dover’s for about 10 years, has been practicing with him and has watched him grow as an athlete and a person.
“His skill is awesome,” she said. “He’s usually placing in the top three in competitions.”
Young continued to say that in addition to Dover’s skill in taking shots, his concentration in between shots is admirable.
“Archery is 80 percent mental; if you get in your head too much, you’ll lose,” she said. “Dover’s concentration is impeccable; in between shots he’s able to calm himself.”
Dover also helps out with the Junior Olympic Archery Division, where he works with children 18 and under who aspire to professional archers.
“He’s just a great guy all-around,” she said.
Dover’s coach of seven years, Kurt Geist, passed away last year. However, Dover continues to practice with his wife, Anne and daughter, Kaylee at least once a week during indoor league season at Bill Pellegrino’s Archery Hut or the U.S. Air Force Academy for the outdoor season.
“The most important thing he (Geist) taught me physically is the body position and paying very close attention to how your body is set up for a shot,” Dover said. “Mentally, learning the shot process and learning to do the exact same thing every time.”
With the outdoor season coming to an end, Dover is contemplating attending the national indoor tournament in Yankton, South Dakota this September.
Either way, Dover intends to pursue bow hunting, both indoors and outdoors, in the years to come.