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Bows, arrows vs. pistoleros

Bullets and arrows flew this weekend at the Archery Center in Hudson, as a police pistol team from the Florida Police Combat League took on a bow-and-arrow team from the Archery Center in head-to-head competition. Not in combat, mind you.

Casualties were nonexistent and injuries were held to a splinter here, a callous there. The competitors faced off in target shooting. But from the results, don't be surprised if your local police force hangs up its guns and begins to wear quivers.

The archers defeated the pistol team with a two-day total of 300 points, 20 better than the pistol team's 280 points.

"Well, we're on their turf now," Joe Frontz, the pistol team "captain", said after the first day. "But I think we did pretty well."

Saturday's pistol team was comprised of Frontz, David Hink and Karin Short. On Sunday Andre Lamonde substituted for Short. All are Pasco Sheriff's Department employees.

Saturday's archers were Dick Pintke, Marc Deese and Carol Bitner; on Sunday Bitner, her husband Bob and Al Carney made up the team.

The event was conceived by Archery Center owner Inge Fitzgerald and her husband Jim.

"Anybody can do this sport," said Jim, who began shooting with bow and arrow 30 years ago to extend his hunting season. "I'd say about a third (of presnt-day archers) only target shoot; it's not just for hunters."

The pistol team performed better on the second day, losing only 150-146. On the first day the archers won 150-134.

The archers were awarded a $100 prize for their victory, but they decided to put it back into the shop, as the Fitzgeralds offered to treat all of the competitors to a steak dinner.

Frontz found the friendly competition very informative.

"I learned a lot about archery; I think it's very interesting," Frontz said. "I see a lot of similarities between what they do and what we do _ like the way they bring their bow up, how thay draw in a breath and then release it before they shoot."

Fitzgerald hopes to hold another competition next year, and hoped to get a sponsor to help fund a charity shoot-off.

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