The Lower Burrell Brothers on target at the Las Vegas National Archery Competition
The Luke family of Lower Burrell is not your typical sports family. They are archers, at least one of whom is targeting the US Olympic team.
Earlier this month Brayden Luke, 15, took second place and his brother Wyatt Luke, 11, came ninth in competition for The Vegas Shoot 2022 and the Indoor Archery World Series finals.
It is billed as the largest and most prestigious indoor archery tournament in the world. Sponsored by the National Field Archery Association, over 3,000 archers competed.
The boys’ father and coach, Jeremy Luke, was understandably proud of the performance, but became philosophical about why big national competitions help his boys.
“The experience they get from it gives them a great idea of what they can expect in life,” he said. “You will only get out of life what you put into it because no one else can draw that bow for you, it’s something you have to do on your own. Every mistake – every accomplishment – rests on your shoulders.
Brayden Luke was pleased with his performance.
“I came in expecting to do my best, but I didn’t expect to be on the podium in my division,” he said. “I will continue to train and work hard so that I can perform at my best in the higher divisions and make a name for myself, Lynn’s Pro Shop and Chieftain Archery.”
Wyatt Luke said, “Touring with so many talented professionals proves that hard work pays off.”
As a coach, Jeremy Luke believes that 90% of archery is mental. The sport is repetitive, with shooters going through the same stages each time.
“In big competitions you have to recover mentally,” he said.
In a competitive shooting period, archers only have 30 seconds for each of three consecutive shots. If they fail on the first try, they need to mentally recover quickly, he said.
“That shot is gone. You can’t get it back and you have to be mentally prepared for the next hit.
Archery has become an interesting way of life for the Lukes. They usually go to five or six national competitions a year.
“These are air flights and hotel rooms. It’s a way of life they’re choosing right now,” Jeremy Luke said of his sons.
Brayden’s goal is to make the US archery team for the Olympics. A sophomore at Burrell High School, he plans to go to college to pursue a degree in engineering and archery. He is looking for scholarship opportunities.
As for Wyatt, in addition to archery, he participates in baseball tournaments with the Rawlings Tigers. He must balance his efforts between the two sports.
“We leave the choice to Wyatt,” his father said. “He can practice baseball or archery. We’re not trying to influence him one way or another to share the spotlight with his brother.
Luke said being a father and a coach is exciting but sometimes difficult. He balances the time it takes to coach the two boys, he said, who are equally talented but come at different levels.