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Press Release

Release Date: September 28, 2022
by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

SULPHUR, Okla. – World champion archer Shiloh Butts earned a bronze medal in his first international archery competition in Italy during the first days of September. 

Butts competed for the “United States and the Chickasaw Nation” in the Rinehart World Archery 3D Championships in Terni, Italy, Sept. 4-10. He competed in the Longbow portion of the tournament. 

Weary, jet-lagged and physically exhausted by the rough Italian terrain on which the tournament was hosted, Butts and his wife, Sahara, returned to Oklahoma late in the evening Sept. 11 to their Sulphur home. 

“I can assure you the championships were conducted on the most challenging course I’ve ever set foot on,” he said. “It was in a mountain range, through trees, uphill, downhill, on rocky and unstable footing. In fact, the first day of competition saw several competitors suffer personal injuries that forced them to end their championship quest.” 

Not only did Butts finish in the top three out of hundreds of archers from around the world, the U.S.A team advanced 17 of 24 archers into the final two days of individual, head-to-head competition. 

“I am very pleased with how I competed. You know, you’re always looking for the gold medal. Considering it was my first European tournament, going against archers with a home field advantage and on a tournament course nothing like I’ve ever experienced, I did well,” Butts observed. 

Butts, a Chickasaw citizen, is already beginning to think about qualifying rounds for the tournament in 2023. 

“Usually, the Rinehart World Championship is held every two years. The COVID-19 pandemic forced them to cancel the 2021 tournament. Championship officials decided to sponsor a meet in 2023 in order to get back on schedule. So, I have a year to prepare and qualify again,” Butts said. 

As he suspected, Butts found himself taking aim at much smaller targets than he faces in American competitions. Before leaving for Italy, Butts said 3D targets in Europe would be as small as an armadillo and as large as an elk. 

“The European archers like smaller targets, so I was expecting that. Most of the shoots in the United States feature larger targets, from turkey to wild boar to elk,” he explained. Facing targets the size of a hedgehog or pheasant, while expected, proved to be challenging. “I was able to adjust, but the first small target I faced my arrow merely clipped it high on its back. The more often I faced smaller targets, the more confident I became.” 

Butts said a typical competition shoot would take about five hours from start to finish. Traversing rugged terrain, uphill slogs, drawing the bow and merely walking the winding course taxed all archers. 

“It is beautiful there. It’s less than an hour from Rome. The tournament took up so much of our time, we didn’t have a chance to do much sightseeing, but we did travel and enjoy Rome and a smaller village on a day before the tournament started,” Butts said. 

He and his wife were amazed to find themselves on a road 3,000 years old. “It was amazing to us it still was there and was in use today,” he said, adding footfalls for more than 3,000 years had made divots in the cobblestone and even ancient wagon wheel ruts were observable. 

The experience of competing for the USA, Chickasaw Nation and venturing so far from home made a huge impression on the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center pharmacist. His appreciation of friends was evident in a Facebook post he shared. 

“I wish I could name every single person that has helped me in any way, no matter how big or small, throughout my entire archery journey. I know I would forget someone, and I do not want to leave a single person out so THANK YOU ALL, from the bottom of my heart. Every call, every text, every card, etc., I’ve received these last couple months have meant the world to me. 

“It’s been an incredible journey with lots of twists and turns along the way. Winning the bronze medal was without question the high point of this trip, but the friendships and the memories gained alongside all of my teammates, coaches and family will be what I remember the most about it all. Thanks again for all the prayers, thoughts and good vibes! Good Lord willing, we’ll do it all over again.” 

Throughout this career, Butts has been crowned world champion in 2014 Longbow; 2015 Selfbow; 2017 Longbow and 2021 Selfbow. These were in American competitions. Now, the proud Chickasaw archer can claim a bronze medal earned on the world stage.