Unlike many 17-year-olds, Charlie Weinstein isn’t conflicted about his future. He already knows it will involve competitive archery.
The Maranacook Community High School junior took another step in his career when he and two teammates from Iowa and Georgia combined to win the Junior Compound team title at the recent World Archery championships in Nimes, France.
“I didn’t go there to walk away with a gold medal,” Weinstein said. “I went there for experience. It was my first time.”
Weinstein is ranked fifth among junior shooters (ages 16-21) in the United States and this year set bull’s-eye records in Maine and New England, hitting 60 and 59, bulls, respectively.
“He is probably the best shooter I know in his age group,” said Steve Dunsmoor who operates Lakeside Archery in North Yarmouth where Weinstein regularly trains. “He’s beating most adults.”
Weinstein was introduced to the sport by his father David at age 12 and has only been competing nationally for a couple of years, but has shown a willingness to adapt to new ideas and changes in his techniques, much of that gleaned from observation.
“I shoot almost all the time,” he said. “If I’m not shooting I’m tinkering or reading stuff.”
At the worlds, competitors had a one-day 6–arrow qualification and went head-to-head against other countries. Targets are 18 meters away and about the size of a softball. The 10-ring or bull’s-eye is the size of a penny. Competitors have two minute to shoot three arrows, and Italy was penalized in the finals against the US for exceeding the time limit.
“It takes a lot of concentration,” Weinstein said. “You’ve got to be able to relax when you’re under pressure. We all cope with it differently.”
Weinstein plans to go to Texas to try out for the US outdoor team and eventually would like to compete in World Cups and World Games. The expense of equipment — bows can run as high as $2,000 — is offset by sponsorships and for adults by purse winnings.
Dave Cousins of Standish holds 18 world records and has carved out a good living while traveling throughout the world to compete.
“Charlie has phenomenal opportunity to follow in footsteps like him,” Dunsmoor said.
Weinstein has hunted some with a bow, downing two bears and a turkey, but his passion with archery is to compete and win.
“Everybody has a goal and a purpose and a niche in life,” David Weinstein said. “I think he found his. He is devoted to this and this is what he would love to do as a profession.”