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Preparing for his day, Jake puts his shoes on before grabbing breakfast. His first kill hangs on the wall in his room, "It’s my first deer, an eight-pointer. I got him when I was hunting with my uncle David. It was my first deer, and it was a nice one. I was12 and pumped up excited. . . I think my uncle was even more excited than I was. Texted everyone in his phone book."

Aiming high

story by Theophil Syslo

Jake Bartlett is the eldest son in the Bartlett family. In many ways, Jake is a typical 14 year old. He loves to hunt, play sports and to be in the middle of things. He has a girlfriend. He is genuine, and he is loved by everyone he meets.

And he is more. He is an "A" student taking advanced courses at North Middle School and is a national-class archer, winning first in the 2011 National Archery in Lousiville, where more than 6,730 archers competed in what was the largest archery tournament in the world.

“Jake was on the gifted and talented academic program and had never shot an arrow," his mother, Winnie, says. "One night, Jake was sleeping over at a friend's house and went with him the next day to regionals at Hopkins County Central (High School) for archery. Someone on the team was sick and they needed a spot filled. So they asked him if he would want to shoot, and he ended up placing.”

“Yeah, it was pretty cool,” Jake says.

Jake's father, Eric, is the third-generation operator of the family's company, which manufactures sawmill blades. “I am very proud of what we do," Eric said. "My dad got the trade from his dad, and I got it from him… we work hard.”

But, he said, "It's dirty and nasty," and he believes that Jake can achieve something greater.

Jake sometimes thinks he would like to go onto the family business; at other times, he's thought about becoming an anesthesiologist. But he's still young, and if his past is any indication, he will eventually hit the right mark.


Awake at 6 in the morning, Jake Bartlett brushes his teeth before heading downstairs for breakfast and then being driven with his brother and sister to Cairo Elementary School, where he transfers to a bus to his school, North Middle School.


Jake Bartlett dumps chocolate into his milk at the breakfast table as his mother, Winnie, serves biscuits and gravy to her daughter, Makenzie. Jake's father, Eric, says, "If we are here and able we cook a meal we will. . . it is very important to us that we eat and pray as a family, yet very rarely does it work out. But we try."


Jake Bartlett, 14 (left), walks with his girlfriend Elizabeth Schneider, 12, after finishing up some homework during an advanced algebra course that is available to students who come early to school. "I just make myself availble before classes to anyone who wants to," says algebra teacher Rob Browning. Jake and Elizabeth participate every now and then.


In the stands enjoying his younger brother Spencer's basketball game with family and friends, Jake Bartlett peers over at a friend's phone.


Jake Bartlett reaches onto his trophy shelf to grab an arrow he had penetrated with another arrow while shooting during practice. "Stuck the arrow from over 30 yards away," he says. "The History Channel's popular show 'Mythbusters' says the myth is busted. I call it Robin Hoodin'."


Caulked, aimed and ready to fire, Jake Barlett rests his arrow with the fletching’s along his face while practice shooting in his backyard.


From a tree stand along the tree line behind his home where he has permission to hunt, Jake reacts after hearing rustling through leaves on the forest floor. "I practice my shooting about three times a week, practice inside sometimes, practice outside sometimes. . . There's something coming along with that. Not awards (from a competition), but maybe a kill."

5 of 55 stories