Archers gather in Cullman to shoot for a cure


Matthew Burns, an archer, releases an arrow toward a 3D bear target during the 11th annual Shoot for a Cure 3D Archery Tournament at Camp David in Cullman on Sunday. (Hayden Hyatt for The Tribune)

CULLMAN – Saturday and Sunday more than 120 archers gathered to participate in the 11th annual Shoot for a Cure 3D Archery Tournament at Camp David. Circle of Hope, a group dedicated to fighting cancer, organized the shoot, the proceeds of which went to support the Bruno Cancer Center at St. Vincent's Hospital in Birmingham.

The tournament featured divisions for the young and old including National Archery in Schools Program (NASP) divisions for elementary and middle schoolers as well as divisions for compound and traditional bows, among others. Participants were entered into a raffle with prizes provided by sponsors totaling thousands of dollars.

Late in the afternoon on Sunday, Susan Sellers, vice president of the St. Vincent's Foundation, spoke to the participants about the beneficiary of the event. “The money from these events actually goes to the Bruno Cancer Center patient assistance fund that we have at the St. Vincent's Foundation. One hundred percent, every single penny,” said Sellers. “There's not one penny taken out of that for anything administrative whatsoever; it all goes right back to the patients.”

Sellers also offered insight into the service the Bruno Cancer Center provides to its patients. “We help patients that can't afford their medication, we help patients that don't have family members and that don't have any transportation to get them to and from for radiation treatments,” said Sellers. We give them food because it's really important that they have nutritious meals during that period of time, all kinds of things just to help them get through that treatment process and it is so much appreciated and so much needed.”

Elaine Blackwood, one of the organizers with Circle of Hope and a cancer survivor herself, knows first-hand the care provided by the Bruno Cancer Center. “I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and I went to the Bruno Center for my treatments,” Blackwood said. “It's like when you walk in they just love you so much that they just act like they're welcoming you into their home; we just love the place.”

All Circle of Hope members have been affected by cancer in some way, explained Blackwood. “We have another team member who had stage 4 colon cancer; he had his treatments at Bruno Center. My brother-in-law a couple of years later was diagnosed with throat cancer and he went there for his treatments…they've just been wonderful to us,” Blackwood said. “It's got a special meaning for us and that's why we donate what money we raise to Bruno Cancer Center.”

Matthew Burns, the 18-year-old winner of the Men's Open portion of the tournament, has attended the event for two years now and knows the importance of its cause. “It's amazing, it's just something to get out here and help raise money for cancer patients,” Burns said. “I can't think of anything better that it can go to.”

One of the sponsors of the event, also a participant, Kevin Key, has been personally affected by cancer like many of the participants. “I've had a few in-law grandparents die from cancer and my mom died from cancer about eight years ago,” said Key. “I look forward to sponsoring this tournament every year.”

Key said the tournament is not just about the sport. “It ain't just about archery, it's about being around family,” Key said. “That's what is so fun about coming up here and doing this.”


NASP Divisions:

Elementary Division:

1st place Allie Stewart

2nd place Kaden Dyson


Middle School Division:

1st place Maddie Branum 

2nd place Grant Laney


Youth Divisions:

Jr. Eagle Division:

1st place Slade Riddle 

2nd place Cooper Key


Elementary Division:

1st place Aubrey Corry

2nd place Matthew Vann


Middle School Division:

1st place Katie Skinner

2nd place Ace Ashley


High School Division:

1st place Dena Graben

2nd place Lauren Seymore


Youth Traditional:

1st place Ronnie Gentry

2nd place Maddie Branum


Women’s Divisions:

Women Amateur:

1st place Savannah Miller

2nd place Heather Sinyard


Women Hunter:

1st place Amanda Ashley

2nd place Heather Shultz


Women’s Open:

1st place Robin Green

2nd place Janet Knight


Men’s Divisions:

Men’s Bow Novice:

1st place Joey Skinner

2nd place Jamie Kaple


Men Hunter:

1st place Rusty Graben

2nd place Ron Stephens


Senior Men:

1st place Robert Holcomb 

2nd place Bobby Knight


Men’s Open:

1st place Matthew Burns

2nd place Randy Green


Adult Traditional Division:

1st place John Sullins

2nd place Anthony Parker


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