Bella Otter of Atascadero is just 17 years old, but since she started shooting with a bow six years ago, her competitive resume stands out more than most: A national champion, and now, sponsored by PSE (Precision Shooting Equipment), a major bow manufacturer.
For some athletes, it comes naturally. Bella Otter found it when she was in just 3rd grade.
“I went to a girl scout camp, and they had these cheap, little bows,” said Bella. “We were shooting, I popped this balloon, and I was like, ‘Wow, I’m really good at this.’”
Shortly after that, she asked for a bow for Christmas. Since then, Bella has worked her way to becoming a 10-time state champion archer and signed on with a major bow manufacturer; something that doesn’t happen with pure talent alone.
“Scott (Wilson), who owns Central Coast Archery, has given her a ton of direction from the very first time he saw her shoot,” said Nate Otter, Bella’s dad. “He said that she really had something special and that she could take it to this level if she wanted to. To see her putting in the time and actually making it happen has been fantastic.”
Central Coast Archery in San Luis Obispo is her home range and the home to, what she would call, a second family.
“I’m lucky enough to have two different families. Sometimes they mesh into one,” said Bella. “I’ve met amazing people, everyone at Central Coast Archery; they’re the coolest family you’ll ever meet, and the coolest bow technicians you’ll ever meet, and that’s just a bonus. We have a two-way support system going. They support me with everything I do, and I try my best to reciprocate that same support because they truly are really amazing people.”
Archery is what Bella flourishes in, but it goes far beyond the 300 scores and hitting that tiny “X” for the national champion.
“I’ve always valued individuality. It’s not your everyday sport that you typically see. I think being able to find confidence in not choosing the most mainstream ways to do things has definitely made me grow as a person,” said Bella.
Bella, who has higher than a 4.0 GPA at Atascadero, plans to try out for the United States Archery Team in the near future.
“I couldn’t be more proud of her as a father for her archery accomplishments, but the daughter that she is, the woman that she’s becoming, the sister; all those things,” said Nate.