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Archers Of A Feather …

‘T-Bone' meets up with 900 bowfishing friends at U.S. Open

T-Bone was in southern Missouri for an appearance at the Bass Pro Shops U.S. Open Bowfishing Championships. (Mike Suchan photo) T-Bone was in southern Missouri for an appearance at the Bass Pro Shops U.S. Open Bowfishing Championships. (Mike Suchan photo)

By: Mike Suchan,

RIDGEDALE, Mo. – Travis “T-Bone” Turner of “Michael Waddell’s Bone Collector” said he felt right in his element as he made a guest appearance at the Bass Pro Shops U.S. Open Bowfishing Championships.

“It is a sea of rednecks, and all kinds of contraptions on these boats,” he said. “It does my heart proud. I’m a bow fisherman, too.

“My background is archery period -- anything having to do with flinging an arrow. I’ve shot 3D tournaments and Dot tournaments for years. I’ve always bowfished, but never in a tournament aspect.”

The fact that this was the biggest tournament of its kind, with 236 boats and more than 900 competitors, wasn’t lost on T-Bone. He can see why the sport is on the rise – it’s drawn the hardcore bow hunter.

Click the image to view photos of the tournament
Lee, Tiffany and Travis look on as youth hotshot Gunnar Parker heads up to take on Lee. (Mike Suchan photo)

“Any chance I get when we’re not busy on the road, I’m at home bowfishing,” he said. “For the last five or six years, if we don’t have anything mandatory to do, cameras or not, I’m out there on the water bowfishing. Short of killing a whitetail, it’s my favorite thing to do. Absolutely, I love it.”

T-Bone had 900 friends echoing that sentiment as they went out for a night on Table Rock or Bull Shoals lakes to bring in the biggest barrel of fish. He said it’s really the perfect outdoor sport.

“It bridges the gap between hunting and fishing. It’s something to do in the offseason, in the late spring and all the summer,” T-Bone said. “It’s fantastic. It incorporates hunting, fishing, archery and it’s done all at night when it’s cool in the summertime.

“On top of that, the fish don’t run when you rattle a Cheetos bag.”

T-Bone enjoyed his celebrity appearance at the event, talking with old friends, making news ones, signing autographs and posing for pictures. He competed in a celebrity shootoff and provided commentary while friends Lee and Tiffany Lakosky of “The Crush” shot.

He might have been a little jealous of Lee and Tiffany as they sandwiched their appearance between Missouri turkey hunts for their show. T-Bone said he’s gotten to go after gobblers a handful of times this spring, with only one at the house.

He said it’s OK that he’s acting as show ambassador during spring, but he puts his foot down for deer season.

Click the image to view the "Bowfishing Festival" photo gallery
Georgia archers bring in 376 pounds to top 235 teams in U.S. Open

“We’ve been traveling a lot -- been real blessed to get to do a lot of events,” he said. “I tell Waddell, I don’t mind going out there and pounding the pavement and seeing the people, because that’s our grass roots. I like doing this. I don’t mind doing the spring and missing a few turkey hunts, but come deer season, I’m not going to miss throttling some fur.”

T-Bone thought about turkey season and came up with a realization.

“Here’s an interesting fact. Waddell makes sure that he has plenty of time off to chase some turkeys, because that’s his forte,” he said, “But as long as we’ve been friends and known each other, I have never sat beside a tree and turkey hunted with him. We’ve been in the same camp, but as far as one caller, one gun, have not done it yet.”

Is that because you’re both type A hunters?

“I’m not A, I’m like L, M, N, O, P,” T-Bone quipped. “I told him two weeks ago that I would love to go hunting with him. Waddell is a great guy. We give each other fits. We might as well be cut from the same umbilical cord.”

And maybe now Waddell will take the hint and they’ll set together for a turkey hunt.

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