Darrin Christenberry Bio
At the age of eight, Darrin Christenberry pulled back the string for the first time and watched an arrow fly from a bow made with a wooden limb and a boot string. He has been building arrows and watching them fly ever since.
Darrin, a commercial electrician by trade, began competing with a bow and arrow in 1994.
“I am a very competitive person,” says Darrin through a warm-hearted and earnest grin. “Guys like Jeff Hopkins and Randy Ulmer were paving the way for me. I watched what they were doing and saw the checks they were cashing. I wanted to see how good I could get.”
He got very good.
“I love the Vegas face. Trying to hit the little super-x as many times as possible is more rewarding than the other faces.”
By 2000, Darrin was shooting pro indoors.
“I was shooting scores that were good enough to be competitive. I was ready to test my nerves.”
Two years later, he turned pro in 3D.
“3D is definitely my strongest venue,” says Darrin about the respect he has earned outdoors.
Darrin has won the IBO Triple Crown twice, in 2003 and 2006. He won the ASA Classic and Shooter of The Year in 2006 and finished 3rd at Vegas in 2007.
While his constant smile and steady reputation may indicate otherwise, Darrin is the first to admit that professional archery requires patience and hard work.
“Archery has become a labor of love,” says Darrin after watching his favorite hobby turn into a second career.
In addition to practicing his shots, Darrin trains for endurance by running and doing push-ups and sit-ups.
“Becoming pro and gaining sponsorship adds a whole new responsibility to the game.”
Archery is like life
“Don’t set the bar too high, too fast,” says Darrin. “Archery is like life. You get out of it what you put into it. But you’ve got to keep it fun!”
To keep life fun Darrin enjoys spending time with his family, playing guitar, hunting and fishing. He enjoys eating Italian food, watching Adam Sandler movies and listening to music while he shoots.
“My practice is rarely a routine. If I’m shooting good, I shoot as long as I can to reinforce the positives of my shooting. If thing are not going as well as I would like, I go and do something else.”
When things are going well, Darrin practices 3D by shooting his bow at marked distances to check his marks. He regularly uses a range finder to improve his distance judging of the targets and even spends time without the bow working on range estimation.
Darrin is an upbeat guy who believes that everyone performs better with a positive and confident attitude.
“If I stay focused in practice, leagues or tournaments, I can perform without regret. If I start wondering what the rest of the field is doing or start worrying about my score, I don’t give my best performance.”
Tools of the trade
Darrin has an indoor range at his home that he built in 2006 and a shop in his basement for storing and tuning his equipment.
A large L-shaped work bench in his shop houses an arrow saw, fletching jigs, grain scales, ASD’s, wrap mats, and bow presses . A 4’ x 8’ sheet of peg board hangs on the wall and is filled with additional tools and components.
Ladder hooks screwed into the joists hold his collection of 31 bows.
“I pay attention to the feel of a bow at full draw,” says Darrin. “I need a certain amount of holding weight to achieve the right amount of resistance to execute shots.”
Darrin experiments with stabilizer setup to improve his shooting and steady his sight picture. “It’s amazing what 1 oz. in the right place will do to the aiming of a bow.”
Darrin is careful not to overdo it with his scope and aiming configuration. “I like to magnify my target just enough to increase the detail. If I use too much magnification, the target looks great, but unless I am super steady, it can be tough to execute a shot properly. A lower power lens obviously still has the same movement but my eyes tell my brain that I seem to be holding really good on the target.”
Shooting competitively indoors and outdoors has given Darrin some ideas of mixing up his setup. “Indoors, I have been experimenting with a .019 green fiber, the same set up I use for 3-D. A little black dot is still my favorite for the spot game.”
Darrin prefers a three finger trigger-style release. “I have shot a true back tension release off and on for a while but am still more consistent with the trigger style.”
Darrin initially paper tunes new arrows to get a feel for how the arrow performs. “When I have a good Idea that the arrow will work,” says Darrin, “I do some group tuning and try to do some bare shaft tuning as well.”
Most memorable moment in archery
“In 2006 I was in a race with Jeff Hopkins for the shooter of the year title and he had me by 11 points. With just the ASA Classic to go, I had 40 targets to make up 12 points on Jeff. Not an easy task!
“Mother Nature was doing her part to keep me from capturing the title. Severe thunderstorms cancelled the first day of competition.
“Now, with just 20 targets to make up the difference, it seemed impossible! In just the first few targets the second day, my deficit was now only 1 point! Then we swapped a 1 point lead for several targets until about target 18 for the day.
“If I remember correctly, it was a 39 yard Hyena and Jeff had just taken an 8 on it. I knew this was my chance. Somehow I got a 12 on it, giving me a 3 point lead.
“Tying on the next target, I took a 3 point lead into the final target. All I could think about was, ‘center 10!’ I knew if I shot a 10 on this target, I would take home the title.
“For some reason, when I came to full draw, I thought, ‘I can 12 this thing!’ Sure enough, I did. Little did I know, that arrow got me into the final shoot down and allowed me to go on and win the Classic Championship that weekend!”
Ambitions for the coming year
“I would truly love to win a tournament in every venue I shoot: Indoors, 3-D and FITA,” says Darrin. “That would be the ultimate!”