When looking at Ryan Thomason, on the surface, you'd think he was just another hard working Oklahoma husband and father.
When looking at Ryan Thomason, on the surface, you’d think he was just another hard working Oklahoma husband and father.
The former Dickson High School and Southeastern Oklahoma State University football standout is after all, a proud father of three kids, married to his wife Amanda, and works at steady job at XTO Energy in Ardmore.
But something you might not know about the former Ardmore High School assistant football coach, is that he’s good with a bow and arrow.
Make that very good.
These days when he isn’t working hard during the week, Thomason can be seen competing across the country at various Archery Shooters Association (ASA) 3-D Archery Competitions.
Thomason is a registered Semi-Pro competitor on the circuit in the Class A division, just below Pro status.
To understand why Thomason is so good at a sport like archery, one needs to understand he’s been doing it for a very long time.
“I was 11 years old when I first shot a bow and arrow,” Thomason said. “I got taken to my first tournament when I was around 13 years old. When people noticed I could shoot I just fell in love with it and started competing throughout junior high and high school.”
Thomason’s talent was soon justified in droves as he captured numerous state and national titles during his teenage years in competition.
Perhaps the biggest honor he earned was the Cabelas National Junior Shooter of the Year, along with other IBO Archery awards.
Following his graduation from Dickson High School, Thomason turned his attention to the gridiron at SOSU, where he had a scholarship to play for the Savage Storm football team.
Just like in archery, Thomason excelled in college football, finishing as an all-conference selection at linebacker. He would stay at SOSU and become a graduate assistant, while finishing his masters degree.
Following stints as an assistant football coach with Ardmore High School, and then teaching P.E. at Lincoln Elementary School, Thomason said he started to feel a need to fill a competitive void in his life again.
“I just wanted to do something which was competitive in nature again for me,” he said. “I just one day decided to dive right back into shooting archery. It was like riding a bike for me, I never forgot how to do it.”
More than 50 tournaments and four plus years later, Thomason has cemented himself as a decorated award winner at multiple locations throughout America.
Among the awards he’s won since returning to competition, Thomason has been the Men’s Open A Texas State Shooter of the Year the past two years, and the Texas State ASA Champion as well the last two years.
Being at the semi-pro level, Thomason competes in the unknown division of competition. This means when he approaches a target, he is unaware of the distance or any other logistics which he may encounter.
Participants in the known division are given the logistics before they shoot their respective targets.
Recently, he added the Oklahoma State championship to his resume as another title he’s claimed.
This past weekend, Thomason traveled to Pullman, Alabama where he took on the best shooters around at the ASA National Championships.
Even though he finished 21st overall for the competition, Thomason has managed to place in the top-20 at five out of the six national tournaments he’s taken part in.
“I’ve been very blessed throughout my career that I’ve been able to win as much as I have,” Thomason said. “I have a very understanding wife (Amanda) that lets me pursue this and participate in it as much as I can. My family is an amazing support system. We’re very lucky that right now we’re well off enough financially that this doesn’t hurt us or anything. I’ve got a great sponsor right now in ELITE, who provides me with some great gold-tip arrows that I use for competition.”
“There’s a lot of people who do this as a living,” Thomason added. “Those that do this for a living are usually pros. You can win quite a bit of money as a pro at a tournament, and it will offset any travel expenses you have. Right now though, I’m not in a position to make this my living. One day I’d love to be able to live that dream, but as things stand, I’m very happy being able to compete like I do.”
Thomason also added he has dreams of becoming a full registered pro someday, with the hopes of garnering multiple sponsors, who would pay for his entry fees into tournaments.
“My ultimate goal is to eventually win the world title,” Thomason said. “I would love to know that I acheived my goals.”