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AUGUST 4, 1997

Sports

baxter Woodinville Police Officer Kent Baxter recently won a gold medal for his shooting skills not with a pistol but a bow and arrow.

Andrew Walgamott/staff photo

by Andrew Walgamott

  Kent Baxter, a Woodinville police officer, recently won the gold medal for his archery skills at a worldwide competition. "I was just hoping to place. I didn't expect to win," Baxter said.
  
   A recreational archer, Baxter attended the 1997 Police and Fire World Games in Calgary, Alberta earlier this month. He joined 9,000 competitors from 48 countries on six continents vying for medals and recognition in a variety of sports. The games are held every two years to promote physical fitness among the law enforcement and fire fighting community.
  
   Baxter's event was 3-D traditional archery. Using a recurved bow without sights, traditional archers score points by hitting various portions of three-dimensional, life-sized foam game animals such as deer, bear and moose. Archers shoot 25 yards to 50 yards away from their targets. Baxter competed with members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, New York City firemen and US. Customs agents and took first place with 155 points after shooting at 28 targets and compiling the highest score.
  
   Baxter said there was nearly a mishap with his arrows before the games. Camping in the Rocky Mountains, he read that archers must use wooden arrows. He had brought only carbon arrows. Baxter called around Calgary until he found a shop who could fletch a couple dozen wooden arrows for him before the games. After a little practice with the heavier arrows, he took the gold.
  
   Baxter has been involved with archery for 14 years, since learning from the owners of a now defunct Woodinville sports shop. He says archery is a good way to relieve stress.
  
   "For me, it's recreation only," Baxter said.
  
   He also hunts and reports shooting 14 deer and one black bear since picking up a bow.
  
   Baxter's recurved bow was made by Tom Maxwell of Rainbow Archery in Carnation. His broadheads were supplied by Archers Ammo of Redmond.
  
   Baxter, a policeman for the past 14 years, says archery improves his skills with his service pistol. He said the principle behind archery, focus and follow through, helped him to become the King County Police's top gun recently. He scored 248 out of a possible 250 points at the police range with his pistol, earning him top honors among the departments 603 entrants.
  
   Baxter also works as a School Resource Officer at Woodinville High School.
  
   A member of three state archery associations, Baxter competes in tournaments around Washington. He said he will also attend the next police and fire games in 1999 in Stockholm, Sweden where he hopes to compete against European archers.