There’s pressure, and then there’s pressure in a sport where moving even one-tenth of an inch one way or the other can be the difference between winning and losing.

Dan Morin admits he’ll be feeling some pressure this Sunday when he and Matt Burke of South Paris vie for the first Maine Shooter of the Year title at the 2006 Maine Archers Association Indoor Archery Championship. It’s just a matter of not acknowledging it when he draws back his bow.

“I’m going to try not to let it get to me,” said Morin, a 36-year-old Auburn resident who is in his second year of competitive archery. “You’ve got to block everything out.”

Morin and Burke are among a handful of archers who have been competing in a traveling tournament over the past four months for the Shooter of the Year title. In an unlikely and unexpected twist, they ended up tied in their total scores and X’ counts after 16 separate shoots, and will settle it Sunday afternoon. Burke, 25, said several shooters shot better than him and Morin but didn’t know about the competition until it was too late to join.

“I expect it to grow even bigger next year now that people are aware of it, and I expect it will take a much higher score to win,” he said.

The shoot-off is part of a three-day National Field Archery Association-sanctioned event that will attract the state’s top archers to Central Maine Archery in Auburn Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“Right now, we have 70 signed up,” said Central Maine Archer co-owner Keith Blais. “I expect by the end of the weekend for there to be over 100. We’ve got divisions for kids all the way up to senior citizens, in all bow classes.”

Competitors will include two of Maine’s top pros, Roger Thibault and Dave Cousins, who is widely considered one of the best shooters in the world. Sign-ups for the competition will continue through the weekend, but there is only room for 120 archers. Shooting times are tonight at 7 p.m., Saturday at 9 a.m., noon, and 3 p.m. and Sunday at noon and 3 p.m. For more information, call 783-3060.


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