Surprise teacher reflects on Paralympic Games

By Eddi Trevizo

The Arizona Republic

Published: Saturday, Oct. 13 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

In 2007, at the para-archery world championships, Bennett lost to an archer who used a shoulder-mounted release rather than a mouth tab. With the help of his father, Bennett created his own shoulder release: a metal bar that rests on a strap that he lays over his right shoulder. A hook attached to the bar snags the bowstring.

As he takes aim at a target, Bennett rests his chin on the bar, always intently focused. Bowstring pulled taut, he triggers the release of the arrow by biting down on a cable. Most paralympic archers create their own release tools, Bennett said.

"No injury is the same," he said. "There are so few of us that prosthetic companies don't make them."

That resourcefulness and intuitive knowledge of the tools he uses is part of what makes him a desirable archery coach, said Adam Stringham, 18, who trained privately with Bennett for three years before moving to Provo, Utah, to attend Brigham Young University.

"He taught me to work with equipment so that later I could fix it without his help. He made me self-sufficient," Stringham said.

Bennett said he hopes to continue archery coaching and hasn't completely ruled out future competitions. However, the costs of travel, training time and equipment are too expensive for that to happen anytime soon, he said. His bow cost $2,500. A dozen arrows goes for about $600.

Bennett first is determined to spend more time with his son, Logan, 6, and his daughter, Natalie, 3.

"Who knows, maybe I'll show up and scare everyone at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Paralympic Games," he said.

Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com

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