As they watched Jack Wallace II during the awards ceremonies at the International Bowhunting Organization's 2012 World Championship as he was recognized as an "IBO Shooter of the Year," many in Seven Springs, Pa. on August 12 likely shared the pride of achievement he no doubt was feeling.
In fact, we'd wager at least a few big, tough bowhunter-types would admit having some excess moisture in their eyes as they watched Wallace receiving his plaque.
The IBO Shooter of the Year program, which began in 2003, is based upon five scores from seven IBO national-level events occurring each year, including the IBO Southern Triple Crown, IBO National Triple Crown and IBO World Championship. Among competitors in the genre, it is commonly considered as the most accurate indicator of the strongest, most dominant 3-D archery shooters on the planet for a given shooting year.
2012 marked the second consecutive year that Wallace, a sponsored shooter on the Mathews Factory Staff Team, has taken IBO Shooter of the Year in the Professional Male (PMR) class.
But the details of how Jack Wallace II returned to the winner's podium after a prolonged absence is the story of strength, perseverance and dogged determination-indeed, a classic story of overcoming adversity.
The son of an accomplished archer in his own right, Jack Wallace, Sr., who traveled the national field and target archery tournament circuit in the 1980s, Jack Wallace II acquired his skills and love for shooting bows and arrows naturally, winning his first state competition at age 9.
The Hanover, Ohio native literally burst onto the thriving 3-D archery scene in the mid-1990s.
At 19, Wallace began shooting 3-D archery professionally. A year later, he won his first Archery Shooters Association national tournament. In 1996, at 21, he was named ASA Shooter of the Year. He went on to win the IBO World Championship twice, the National Championship Triple Crown twice and set another ASA record by scoring 448 with 26 arrows in the 12 ring-a mark that still stands today.
Then, on a November day in 2002, Wallace was driving on Ohio Rt. 37 when a dump truck ran a stop sign, t-boned his vehicle on the passenger door, and pushed it into the path of oncoming semi-truck rig.
When he regained consciousness in Grant Medical Center in Columbus, Wallace's right arm was shattered in two places, his right biceps had been ripped from his tendon and his left wrist was broken. His left ankle and hip also were broken, and glass had cut deeply into his left eye.
Undaunted, Wallace fought back to the 3-D circuit the following year, with the aid of a cane and a golf cart to carry him from target to target. At the ASA season-opening event in February 2003, Wallace arrived with a 40-pound bow and his little sister's arrows.
"That first tournament was a rough one. I think I lost the shoot by about one hundred points, but I finished it," he said. "My goal for the next shoot four weeks later was to walk the entire tournament without a cane."
And that's what he did.
"By the end of that year, I was within three points of Shooter of the Year," he recalled in an interview with the Newark Advocate newspaper earlier this year. "I didn't spend a lot of time wondering, 'Why me?' I kept going forward. I kept looking up and giving all I had."
Although 2003 was a good year professionally for Wallace, he struggled with his shooting and competition for several years thereafter. But now, with two consecutive IBO Shooter of the Year titles and assorted strong ASA appearances since 2010, there's no question that Jack II, at age 37, has regained his prowess.
Wallace credits his success in regaining his shooting and competitive edge to his wife Mindy and his practice with his sister, Jeanna Allbritain, who is also a pro archer.
And he'll be the first to tell anyone who'll listen that in the end, success comes down to hard work, and lots of practice.
"I love the idea your work is rewarded, nothing is given free," he said. "If you put forth the work and effort, you should get rewarded."
We could all learn a thing or two (II) from Jack Wallace II.
- J.R. Absher
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