When Jimmy Lutz was a kid, he would hunt and do target practice with a compound bow with his father.
Now, he won’t shoot a compound bow without wearing long white socks. In one of his first competitions, he wore long white socks and had success. The ritual stuck.
“With our (Team USA) jerseys, it looks better than all black socks,” he said.
He’s not worried about handing out fashion advice, but his superstitions have made the 21-year-old Lutz a rising star with the Team USA men’s archery team.
The 2016 Oregon High School graduate won the world championship in the compound bow in The Netherlands on June 15, shooting a 148 out of 150 in just his second international event. It’s the first time in a decade a man from the United States has won a world compound title.
“I definitely didn’t expect it,” Lutz said. “I went over to The Netherlands with the mindset to win it. I never would have went over if I didn’t think I could win.”
With the world title, he won a gold medal, a watch and money from a bow company. Lutz is now ranked fifth in the world and is an emerging face in a sport, compound bow, that enthusiasts hope to get added to the 2024 Summer Games.
Lutz compared the recurve bow competition now in the Olympic men’s archery competition to the compound bow.
“The recurve bow is like the old bow with a stick and a string,” he said. “The compound has cams or wheels on the top and bottom you have to pull back.”
Lutz has been archery training full-time this summer in Southern California and is now in Montello training on family land.
In two weeks, Lutz will travel to Pennsylvania for some competitions. Lutz is traveling to Russia for the World Cup final the first week of September. It marks the final outdoor competition of the season.
He will then spend more time training and gearing up for the indoor season that starts in late November.
Lutz said he will compete in the indoor season in Italy, France, Korea and China.
Though he’s only been shooting with the compound bow for three years, he has gotten hooked on compound competitions now and is continuing as a professional.
“I never pictured myself shooting for a living or having a career in it,” he said. “I’m going to do this for as long as I can support myself.”
Getting his start
Lutz has enjoyed shooting since he was a kid, but it was only after graduating from Oregon in 2016, he found interest in the compound bow.
“I was bored and I decided to practice to see how I could do,” he said.
He entered some small competitions and then traveled to larger competitions before going pro last year. He emerged on the international scene this summer.
Lutz gives credit to his father, Jim Lutz, for helping get him hooked on archery.
“I always had my own bow,” Jimmy Lutz said. I did it so I could hang out with him.”
He still recalls the advice his father has given him about not taking any shortcuts.
“He told me I can’t go out there and make any excuses,” Jimmy Lutz said. “Whether it’s fishing or shooting trap, he’s given me the mindset I need for this.”
Lutz made a lasting impression in his international debut.
He finished first in the Hyundai Archery World Cup in Antalya, Turkey, on May 27, shooting a perfect 150-for-150.
“I felt like I got all my nerves out in Turkey,” he said.
Lutz defeated USA teammate Kris Schaff, the reigning indoor and outdoor circuit champion. It was a nail-biter with Schaff dropping just one point.
Three weeks later, in the Netherlands, Lutz defeated U.S. teammate Braden Gellenthien, ranked third in the world at the time, in a semifinal and world No. 1 Mike Schloesser, of The Netherlands, in a quarterfinal.
He said the pressure of the moments and the crowds energized him.
“When I’m shooting, there are still butterflies that are running around in my stomach,” he said. “I just don’t let them get to me as much as some other people.”