While many 13-year-old boys would rush to the video game store to buy themselves the latest version of "Madden," there are youths like Dillon Felkel who don't.
Eventually, those youngsters who purchased the must-have football game, will get tired of playing it and they will probably go outside to do something more active like play basketball, a nice game of catch with their fathers, or just cool off in the swimming pool.
On the other hand, as in Dillon Felkel's case, a few hours practicing archery to compete and win in numerous archery events is a preferred activity that the La Crescenta youth won't get tired of.
Felkel is not your average young athlete hoping to make it to the pros some day. Well, he does, but there is more to his story. Felkel is the type of athlete who leaves spectators speechless during events and afterwards saying, "That kid was really something."
The long road to becoming a professional archer, one that he is moving on toward at a great pace, started at the age of 4. His grandfather bought him a bow and arrow toy set, not knowing that his grandson would eventually fall in love with the whole idea of it, and soon there after, ask for the real thing.
Seven years later, Felkel would get his wish and began taking up the sport in a more serious manner. "My dad would set up the target in our garage and I would shoot the arrows from our driveway," Felkel said.
From there, it was only a matter of time before Felkel took his newfound talent and tested it against his peers at shooting competitions. He started winning target competitions, and with his father, also his first coach, Felkel was not about to stop anytime soon. "I enjoyed winning at the competitions," Felkel said.
After getting his "feet wet" at the target competitions, he began competing all over the United States and as a result, was introduced to many different challenges not only with the sport, but also away from it. Archery is not the only agenda on this determined, young man's schedule. Felkel is serious about getting a good education as he is currently enrolled in St. Bede School in La Cañada Flintridge. Hunting, shooting, knife collecting, snowmobiling, and participating in scouts take up the rest of his time.
Felkel, however, makes his archery competition moments count. In 2004, he had a memorable year. He defended his title at the World Archery Festival in Las Vegas, Nev. in February, winning with a score of 576. He then proceeded to win the LA City Indoor Archery Championship and the National JOAD Indoor Championship in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In May, he won the Cotton Bowl Classic, and the California State Outdoor Championship. In July, he won the National Target Championship in Reading, Pa.
Felkel finished the year undefeated at the National and State level in 2004 setting a total of 10 national records and two California state records.
The success did not go without notice. Felkel was awarded with a Hoyt arrow-teck, G-3 limbs, Doinker v-bars and stabilizer, Sure lock sight, caliber rest and a bitter plunger.
In order for Felkel to perform at the highest level, he stretches 20 minutes before each event and eats and sleeps on his own, carefully thought out, schedule.
"Arching is 70 percent mental," Felkel said. "A good shooter is a good mental shooter because you have to be able to pull everything together."