Back on Top
Goza Claims Fifth Buckmasters Top Bow Title
By Ken Piper
It’s been six years since he last claimed the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor World Championship, but Joseph Goza is no stranger to winning.
Nobody has won more Buckmasters titles, and he’s been in the running almost every year. Still, Goza said it felt great to hoist The Rack trophy once again.
“You know, the last couple of years it seems I’ve been happy just to be in the top four. This time, I wanted to focus and shoot,” he said. “Some guys can stay real loose, but I have to focus to shoot well.”
The Flat Rock, Ala., shooter said his victory also came down to peaking at the right time.
“That’s one thing about this event,” he said. “You can’t peak too early. You can have the best score going into the final eight, but if you go up against somebody who’s hot, you can go home pretty quick. I’ve said for years that when you get to the top eight in this event, you better shoot clean every round.”
Goza had to overcome two very hot archers in Colin Boothe and Keith Brown, both of whom had won their respective pools earlier in the day to take home Yamaha ATVs.
“Colin had cleaned (hit all 10 targets) at least four rounds in a row, and he was really on,” Goza said. “I shot my worst round last night in the qualifier round, but it made me focus. It might sound funny, but I’m glad I didn’t win the pool. I didn’t want to feel satisfied that I had won something, and I think shooting that bad round really helped me come back and shoot well today.”
Brown had been consistent and near the top throughout the event, and the final round against Goza would have been very close if not for an equipment malfunction.
“I felt good and settled on that target,” he said. “When I let go, a fletching came loose, and the arrow just dropped right out of the vitals. That threw me off mentally. I came back and hit the next long shot, but when I missed the runner, I pretty much knew Joseph was going to take the title.”
Waiting backstage, Goza said he knew Brown had left him some wiggle room.
“I’ve been in this situation a lot at the Buckmasters event, and I know when a guy clears a round, this place goes berserk,” he said. “I didn’t hear that, so I figured Keith had missed a target or two. I knew if I came out and shot a good round that I had a real good chance
This was the first year for a new format that featured two pools of shooters and an extended prize payout. Shooters down to 20th place won prize money, and the top four shooters in each pool also won prizes.
Goza received a check for $15,000, archery’s biggest purse, and also won the Dan C. Bussey award with a check for $1,000 for the highest score.
Brown had a good weekend, winning two Yamaha Grizzly ATVs, one for winning his shooter pool and one for finishing second overall. He also got a $1,000 check for his second-place finish and a $500 check for winning the Easton Red Dot Shootoff — not bad considering he hadn’t planned to compete this year.
“I had a pretty good weekend,” Brown said afterward. “I really wasn’t planning to shoot. I hadn’t been practicing at all because I had so many chores around the house. Then Colin called and talked me into it, so I started to practice. I’m really glad I decided to come.”
Boothe also won a Yamaha ATV for winning his shooter pool.
Sixty-four shooters began the event on Thursday in preparation for Sunday’s championship, which highlights the Buckmasters Expo.
Another big winner was audience member Robert Osborn, who won a Yamaha ATV, thanks to Goza’s great shooting.
The Buckmasters American Deer Foundation raises funds through raffles each year at the Top Bow Championships, and one of the drawings pairs up an audience member with each of the eight finalists. Osborn was lucky enough to draw Goza’s name, and eventually claimed the keys to a new Yamaha.