Well, that was exciting

The North Carolina State Indoor Championship (USA Archery) didn’t end up like I’d planned, but it was exciting.

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Shoot times were at 10 and 2. Filled to capacity and I understand some folks were turned away.

I’ve noticed that at races and shooting tournaments, I’m often listed in an every decreasing category. That is, there are less and less competitors.  What I’ve seen is that the folks that are competing in my age group are; well, really fast and really good. However, the group I shot with here in NC was big enough. And in fact it got bigger by one. Apparently one 50 something guy was listed in the 49 and below age group. That is the Senior group. The mistake was corrected. (I’d entered the 60+ class.)

In North Carolina, the winner of the Master’s 50+ Age group had the second highest score of all adult male archers. As a matter of fact, among the men the Masters(those of us 50+ guys) group held 3 of the top four men’s scores. It makes some sense; these guys have been shooting for a while.

In the case of archery versus other sports where I’ve competed for decades I am a newcomer. Frankly, I’m still trying to learn all the rules. Basically, I try to figure out the target and shoot it. One new experience for me in NC was a shoot off.

I’ve never ended up in a dead heat in any sport. In this tournament, I had the exact score, in every consideration as Tim, a guy also shooting in the 50+ Masters. We had the exact same number of 10s and 9s.

The judges, in hurry to get the next group shooting, decided we’d shoot one arrow – winner takes all. They lined us up, side-by-side, instructed us which targets we’d get, and someone yelled – Shoot! We shot. Tim scored a dead center 10; I hit an off center 9. I lost. (The littlest circle, the old X-ring, being the 10)

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Tim and me after the shoot off.

I wasn’t overawed with my score even though it was decent. I’d shot against guys with a lot more experience and done well even though I ended up one point outside of a podium finish. If there had been a 60+ group, I’d have hit pay dirt -being the only competitor.

Shooting against younger people doesn’t typically doesn’t bother me. In this case, it did because it was a State Championship and they offered my age group at registration. Sadly, no other 60+ guys showed up, so I ended up shooting against the 50+ guys.  Still, I ended up in a shoot off for what, at the time we were shooting, we thought was for 2nd or 3rd place. It wasn’t until the results were posted that I discovered there was a Senior archer who had been moved to Masters.

Granted, I shot the best I could on that day. Until the shoot off I was tied for the 3rd highest score of the day. Heck, if I’d not been shooting and scoring each end with Tim I’d have walked away tied for 3rd. C’est la vie.

Shoot 3 arrows, throw a stick.

I forgot to bring my camera to provide a picture of today’s practice here in Tignall. Honestly, how exciting is it to see arrows stuck in a block. Not so exciting for River, my dog.

She’s fairly forgiving and let’s me shoot a bit before she needs to play. She let’s me know she’s had enough by getting in front of me while I am at full draw and barking. It is a real demand on concentration, which typically yields an 8. It is hard to not laugh when River is essentially going crazy in front of me.

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Show me the stick

The solution is a stick. Any stick that I can throw works. The game works this way: I shoot three arrows. Then, I retrieve them. Walking back to my bow I find a stick and grab it. Next, I toss the stick as far as I can chunk it. River runs after it, picks it up, and heads back. She’ll then sit next to me, stick in mouth until I shoot three arrows.

At that point she drops that stick, walks with me to retrieve the arrows and the process repeats.

It adds a little time to practice. That’s a good thing; I tend to shoot too fast. Maybe River is trying to teach me to slow down. Or maybe she’s just bored.

Uncooperative Weather

This morning is was cold and windy. I still was able to get in a decent practice, about one and a half hours, and around 70 arrows. I’d hoped to get in another 50 – 60 arrows this afternoon.

The cold morning sucked. The early A.M. wind sucked. The afternoon, well, it got worse. The temperature warmed to around 54°F and the wind picked up. Here’s the kicker, after about 30 arrows it started to pour down rain.

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Moments (it’s raining) before it really cut loose.

Now, rain was predicted, but it arrived early. While shooting outside is rarely perfect, today playing outside has been a challenge.

Too Cold for Comfort

It started out cold and then got colder. It has been warm and by next week we’ll have temperatures into the low 80’s. But, today it was cold. Cold is a matter of perspective. When we lived in Pittsburgh and Cleveland today’s temperature would have been spring weather. For a boy from Savannah, that never acclimated to cold despite life’s efforts to provide ample opportunity, 40°F remains cold. To enhance the wintery experience there was a brisk wind.

The morning’s run wasn’t so bad – I was running. Shooting was another matter. A new paper target started me with optimism. It didn’t last. The longer I shot, the windier it got, the colder I became. I was definitely underdressed. To make matters worse my bow and release had sat on the truck over night. Holding the release it felt like an ice cube in my hand.

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Well, archery practice started off on a good note.

After 30 or so arrows I left my bow on the range, arrows still stuck in the target and I headed back to the house to get another layer of clothing. The extra clothing helped.

Typically, when the temperature is cold I wear several layers of clothes, a glove on my bow hand, and a hand warmer in my right jacket pocket. Trying to tough it out today failed. I’m looking forward to next week when the temperatures are in the 80’s.

A Muddy Dog

River runs with me. She’s a lab and she love water. Muddy water is as acceptable as a clear lake. When we pass any wet area she will test the water.

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Clear running

Today as we headed down a trail I spotted a puddle that was red with saturated clay. There was no way to change River’s inertia once she got a whiff of mud. She made an all out sprint to the crimson pool.

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The mud fun begins

As we headed home my running partner was no longer strictly brown, she was more of a rust color. Thankfully, she took a nice long swim in the lake, which, in effect, was her bath.

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Playing Hard in Georgia

 

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Brenda rounding a bend

Everyday since I arrived in Georgia I’ve practiced archery. My scores have been a few points below average for a 3-spot using the current USA Archery scoring. It has been frustrating. I’ve limited practice to a maximum number of arrows around 120 +/- a few and a minimum of 40 (once). On top of that I’ve power washed red clay caked ATV’s, hauled feed, run, biked, gone to the Y in Thompson, GA, and kayaked.

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Fisherman with a small trout – he threw it back

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It’s nice to kayak here in the winter. The lake is not saturated with boats and jet skis. So, Brenda and I can explore without worrying about getting run over.

We keep two small boats here along with two mountain bikes and a tri-bike. At the dock there’s a jet ski, bass boat, pontoon, and a Carolina Skiff (Ray’s boats.) With all the toys we have here there’s never a dull moment.

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Dead end in this cove

Now, if I could just find a good used RV to help getting around to all the archery competitions.

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Heading home