Because of numerous delays, Friday's competition did not end until nearly 8:30 p.m. By that time the sun had sunk behind the oak trees festooned with Spanish moss and archers were taking their shots in the gloaming. Tim Hyde even flicked on the battery-operated bulb in his lampstand.
When each entrant had fired the last of his 150 arrows on Friday, the leader by four points in the men's division was Kevin Erlandson of San Bernardino. Erlandson has a mustache, bushy sideburns and a belly that overhangs his belt. On Saturday there were 72 shots to be taken and after the first six Erlandson lost his lead. He never regained it and finally finished fourth.
That narrowed the contenders to 23-year-old Rick Stonebraker, a freshman at Penn State's Altoona campus, and 21-year-old Steve Lieberman of Arizona State. Stonebraker is a free spirit who used to work as a chimney and tower climber. "I climbed a 400-foot radio tower once to change a light bulb," he said. "Got $100 for an hour's work. The highest I ever went was when I climbed a chimney on top of a building in Ashtabula, Ohio. That was 550 feet. I like it up there. It's peaceful and quiet, and the air is clean."
Stonebraker's life on terra firma has been anything but peaceful. The Navy veteran has been bitten by a rattlesnake, stabbed and, just a few weeks ago, was threatened with a .357 Magnum in a case of mistaken identity.
Most archers brought dozens of arrows to Stetson. Not Stonebraker. "I brought six," he said. "They're slightly bent, but they know their way to the target." They certainly did. Finishing strongly, Stonebraker came in second, 21 points behind Lieberman, who reclaimed the title he won in 1971 and 1972.
The worst moment in Lieberman's career came at the Olympic Trials in 1972 when he seemed to have a spot on the team locked up and then inexplicably lost his form. He has won numerous events before and since. In 1970 Lieberman took the world field archery championship, in which the targets are located in the woods. "That was in Wales," he said. "They allowed the sheep to wander wherever they wanted. It rained the morning the tournament started and I slipped and landed in some, ah, sheep extract. Then I shot my first two arrows into a tree and was totally depressed. But I went on to win." He also won the Challenge Benedictine in France in '71 and '73, an event for the world's best archers in both field and target shooting.
Arizona State's Carol Jurn, who had been second, fourth and second the past three years, won the women's title in DeLand. San Bernardino's string of three straight men's team titles was ended by the Sun Devils, but the Californians did take women's team honors.
The host school was named after John B. Stetson, the hat manufacturer. In the six previous intercollegiates, no Hatter had ever placed higher than 17th, but in DeLand, Stetson got a third and ninth in the women's division. When the last shot had been fired it was hats off—Stetsons, that is—to all the archers for a tournament that really clicked.