Coming to a Close of Vacation

A weeklong break from “sports” has come to a close. It has ended in Tignal, Ga. To facilitate the forth coming ramp up to full activity here in Georgia there is a bike, running gear, a Mathews Apex 7 and half a dozen Black Eagle arrows. There is a range for archery, trails to run, and miles of open road to ride. There was also time to drive over to Abbeville, SC and watch the eclipse.

This “Fetish” is a great bike.
This photo is for those who know bikes
These Georgia back roads are great for cycling
Practicing out to 50 yards with pins
Zoomed the photo in to capture the target. The chair at 25 yards is for my father-in-law, who is 89, when he’s practicing with his crossbow.

 

Yes, this was cool. There are more photographs of the eclipse on my Facebook page.

Time for a break

Treasure discovered

It’s the end of a lot of planned events for 2017. Training and competing meant roughly 29,025 arrows shot since January 1, 2017. Training also included running riding a bike, lifting weights, and swimming. Time for a short break.

Taking a break means no shooting, no running, no cycling, no weight lifting and no serious swimming. It doesn’t mean there is no floating in the water. It also doesn’t mean avoiding canoe trips, kayaking, boating, playing the in rain with grandkids or being a pirate.

A local favorite

Dang Rain

Rain, rain go away, come again – at night

It rains, it stops. I grab my bow; shoot a few arrows and it rains again. It’s probably time to call it quits for the day.

The new string required some adjustment to the elevation

It’s not easy to not shoot. There’s a new string on the bow. I’d droven to PGF Archery in Elizabeth City, NC with my new string and bow stripped of sight and stabilizers – prepared to leave there. It turned out, even though the shop was packed and busy, Jay, a competitive archer and expert bow technician, was able to expertly change the string while I waited. I was eager to get home and test the bow. Alas, the rain has chased me in, again. Of course, now that I’m typing, the rain has stopped. (Nope, here it comes, again.)

Our local archery supply shop in Elizabeth City.

Shooting Well and Frustration Don’t Mix

Wind and Rain Messing Up the Game

Shooting well and frustration don’t mix for a good score. There are some coaches that advocate stopping when a level of frustration reaches some un-quantified peak. Where that point floats is likely below the apex of today’s aggravations.

First contributing factor, nothing controllable, the wind. Second, intermittent rain. The impact a disappointing 568 with only 19 Xs. It might not have been as irksome if the 9s had been a bit wilder. But, so many 9s so close to the X was galling.

Too many 9s

Sure, there is advice that suggests putting the bow down, taking a break, and starting fresh is the prudent course of action. I can’t quite envision offering a plea to a judge that might allow for such a break during a tournament. I shot though understanding, from past experience; there will be tournaments equally infuriating.

Just how the practice rolled

Blame it on the Mosquito

Today was ‘the’ day for 60X on a 5-spot. You know when you get on a roll and you feel like you can’t miss the X. It was, as it turned out, almost that day.

Block Tower

Practice began on paper left still tacked to a Block from the afternoon of the day before. With 25 shots remaining the paper needed to be changed, the center shot to pieces on all 5 spots. Not to suggest that all my prior shots had landed within the inner ring. Still, the old paper had been hit, in or near the inner ring, around 180 times.  (125 within the inner ring – I kept a count – zero in the blue for those working on the math or seeking controversy)

Clean paper is really nice. No holes, new and flat, no warps from morning dew or overnight humidity. (Even though this is 18-meters, the targets are outdoors here at the house). It feels good to stick 5 arrows into those center rings on new print. It feels even better when they keep landing within that small amount of archery real estate.

New paper. That middle arrow did eventually stop.

The new paper shooting started right even though the center target ended up perched before at a weak area and arrows threatened to pass though the old Block. I move the targets around on the Block hoping to buy a little more time, and resistance, before the Block is greeted with earned retirement.

Sometimes, there’s no satisfying paper placement. Some areas are better than others for catching and holding arrows. Since the Blocks aren’t inexpensive I’ll wait until there is simply no choice other than replacement where upon this old Block will work again as a lifting foundation for the soon to be savaged new cube of foam.

There were only 25 more arrows to shoot before calling it a day. Only 25 more Xs to call it 60X.

I’d like to blame it on the mosquito that landed on me a millisecond before I released the arrow. In fact, that is where I will place the blame.

Dang it!

The bug had been bothering me for some time. I’d let down and go for a killing slap succeeding only in receiving a slap.  The bug would be long gone from its intended meal. Then there was the one shot when I decided not to pause and swat. Toughing the pest out with stoic manliness, the mark was missed.

After that near line cutter the mosquito returned for blood.  That time I didn’t miss the insect. It was a fair trade.

Buttermilk Creek Archery, Burlington, NC

I travel a lot to attend archery tournaments. During those travels it is often necessary to stop at a local archery shop. You can image, not all archery shop’s staffs are created equally.

Certainly, any archery shop where you might stop will be happy to sale you something. There are times, however, when it is just fun to go in and look around. Who knows, you might even find something that you can’t live without.

A couple of months ago I was on the road preparing for a competition. Loading up my gear in the dark I made a mistake and left my quiver, loaded with arrows, leaning against the side of my truck when I backed it away. I heard a crunch. I needed more arrows in a hurry.

The closest archery supply shop had arrows. I bought them. The person I bought them from was so full of himself that I had to bite my tongue, get the arrows and get out before I said anything that might lead to problems.

Other times the experience of a new archery shop and it’s employees or owners is fun. That was my experience in Burlington, North Carolina at Buttermilk Creek Archery.

I was there for the NC State 50-Meter State Championship. Buttermilk Creek has an outdoor range and was hosting the event.

One of the first impressions I had was ‘this place is big.’ It was also cool, I mean it was hot outside and they had great air conditioning. I wasn’t there for the AC. In fact, I was there the day before the tournament. I wanted to be certain I could find then range before I needed to be there.

The shop was a shooter’s paradise. Their products were well displayed so that you didn’t need to rummage about to find things. They are a complete outfitters store.

I was also impressed with the bows on display. Not just compound bows, but also they had a large display of recurve bows. If the bow shop where I bought my first bow, a compound, had had recurves, I’d be shooting a recurve today.

Buttermilk Creek had recurves. There were several clearly not new recurves hanging on a wall next to their indoor range. On the second day of the tournament I asked if those bows were for sale, they weren’t. The bows all had owners. Still I wanted to try out a recurve. All I had to do was ask.

CJ

CJ, one of the store’s staff, had one of the bows hanging on the wall in my hand before I knew it. He might have been trying to sale me a bow. It seemed more like he was happy to let me shoot. Before long CJ was shooting as well. Nathan, another shop employee was providing instruction and I was enjoying the shooting. Remember, I’m there for a tournament, I’ve got more shooting planned and not with a recurve. It did not matter, it was too much fun.

Nathan

Finally, I put down the recurve. Shooting is still shooting and well shooting so I figured I might need to stay focused. In the long run it didn’t matter. In the short run I nearly left with a recurve in my hand. It was seriously tempting to buy one. In fact, I’ll probably buy one soon. When I do, I’ll likely call Buttermilk Creek and order one from them.

I left Buttermilk Creek wishing I could have stayed longer. I made one purchase, Viper arrow lubricant. Thus far, of the dozens of archery shops I’ve visited they are one of the friendliest in addition to having a nice range of equipment and supplies.

A New Matrix

Three spots at 18-meters remains a tough call for me. Scoring a 600 shooting the inner ten continues to elude me. Nevertheless, things are improving. My goals for 18-meters have not changed. Currently, the intermediate goal is to shoot a constant 580 to 590. Once I land on 590 the goal will change.

Five-spot is another matter. I closed 2016 shooting an average of 296. In 2016 I was aiming for a 300. That changed once I began practicing on a 5-spot in 2017. Since 5-spot training began (for 2017) 300 is the only score. The problem is not 300 it is 60X. In practice, 50X has been common. You know, 50X, even with a 300 total, is an unlikely winner.

It’s not so much a problem; 60X is an attained objective. I’ve adjusted my data analysis to more closely monitor those 60X’s and what happens when I drop a few of them. It’s the new 5-spot matrix.

Pro-Staff Shooters, Discounts, and Really Shooting Professionally

I read an article written by a good fellow and archer.  It seemed a bit harsh in that he ranted about amateur archers wearing “Pro-Staff” archery shirts. Speaking for myself, I don’t care what another archer wears.  In his article the blogging archer commented about a shooter wearing a “Pro-Staff” garment who scored 20 points under at a 3D competition.  Again, I don’t care what you wear or even care about your score. But, it seemed a bit rough to ridicule others based on their clothing and busting another athlete that may have had an off day.

To be fair, I too have mocked people based on their dress. Even though, I truly don’t care what you wear, I will judge you initially by your appearance – I am just that shallow.

In the past, I pointed out that wearing head to toe camouflage while shopping at the mall or Wal-Mart seemed excessive. It should be noted that the function of camo clothing is to conceal the wearer. In a shopping situation, camo gear fails to function as intended. That is unless the person wearing the camo is on the Pro-staff of ‘Duck Dynasty.’

Pro-staff is essentially an industry standard in archery. It is a method for manufacturers to keep an eye on individuals that are evolving into a higher level of “key opinion makers.” That is, the local archer that successfully practices and competes using a specific brand who may improve the opinion of others related to equipment by doing well with the manufacturers wares.

Pro-staff is a marketing program done throughout the industry of archery. The archer wears a shirt, which he probably paid for, and gets a small discount on products. The manufacturer receives a small amount of promotion in return. There is benefit and detriment to both parties.

Me wearing my “Pro-Staff” 60X archery shirt. Also, showing off my Rudy Project glasses and Black Eagle arrows. (Photo by my friend Bill, a ‘Pro’ Bass Fisherman.)

The author of the Pro-Staff critical article also seemed concerned that so many archers are trying to get those discounts by applying for and earning a Pro-Staff agreement. He is worried about the stability of a company that might offer a discount to so many amateurs. The worry being that such discounting might eat away company profits.  I promise everyone reading this, “No archery company selling any product will ever fail because it offered a discount to an archer for donning a jersey that the archer paid to wear and bypassing a distributor to sale products directly to the consumer with a small discount.” It’s one of the best marketing programs I’ve ever seen.

Those archery shirt backed pro-staffers, receiving a 25% discount, may one day make some money in the sport of archery. One day some company my truly benefit from supplying that individual with an inexpensive shirt and small discount. If you think that is you, don’t bank on it.

The earnings of most professional archers is between $10,000 and $97,000 per year. Keep your day job – this isn’t football, baseball or basketball. On the other hand, anyone serious about the sport that is on a professional track should work to keep their name in front manufacturers. One day you might be that exception that strikes gold.

Being a pro versus pro-staff is another ball of wax. Professional means that the archer is engaged in the sport as his or her main paid occupation rather than as a pastime. You can’t live on $10,000 a year. And you can’t even earn that shooting any amateur class.

If someone wants to earn money in archery, they must shoot for money, regardless of whether or not they are adorned in a “Pro-staff” shirt. By they way, you can’t  shoot as a pro for $12.00 and $3.00 for a bonus shot. The recent OPA entry fee was $500.00 for the Men’s Expert class. If you want to shoot against the pros, which is the only way you’ll ever be a pro, you’ll have to gamble with your cash.

Should you select the professional pathway, be ready to: travel a lot, have a passport, practice 4 to 6 hours a day when you can get to practice because you’ll be traveling a lot, spend another 4 hours a day dealing with sponsors, spend an hour or so per day making travel plans, work a whole lot of weekends and maybe you’ll earn a living wage. It is a rough life that requires total dedication. College, graduate school, trade schools, or the armed services all offer rewarding careers where you can make a living and enjoy the pastime of archery.

Oh, regarding the shirt thing and discounts – grab all you can the industry is doing just fine. Everyone there is happy to take your money.

6004 Words In One Educational Blog – I Failed to Pass the Test

I tried to read an archery blog. I failed.  It wasn’t that the writer isn’t a really great archer.  On top of being a first class shooter, he can write. He does just that in the article – he writes and writes and writes and writes some more.

It was exhausting.  No doubt the article is filled with sagely advice all to make me a better archer.  But, 6004 words?

I’m going on record, so there is no doubt I read a lot and have read a lot.  Much of what I’ve read would give you a migraine. From medical textbooks, law books, business books, and books on accounting I’ve read all sorts of books not considered a best seller. I’ve read bona fide medical, law and accounting journals.  Heck, I’ve even published my own manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals.  Some of the most painful reading was proofing technical manuals on medical equipment. The point is – I read.

But, 6004 words on a blog site about archery? It almost made technical manuals seem like fun.  One article, 6004 epic words, on one topic. I couldn’t finish it. Yet, another flop it the pursuit of perfect placement of an arrow.

(Excluded these words the above is 199 words. Readable without necessitating a nap.)

Cutting it Short

Work wears you down. It wears me down, maybe not you. But, I know when to take a break. This morning it was time to give it a rest.

I wasn’t shooting poorly, I was shooting tired. The fatigue and tiredness were not solely from shooting. It was a combination of shooting four -five hours per day, running and cycling every day, and in between doing a massive amount of lawn work.

Lawn work includes about 7 miles of mowing. Yes, I measured it with a GPS, it is 7-miles. Those miles are just the ones covered on a John Deere LA 105. It does not include the miles of weed whacking, handling a push mower to get the areas where the tractor doesn’t reach and going over it all with a backpack leaf blower. See the lawn includes my 3D range, so it is a lot of work. Today, it caught up with me.

The morning archery practice started after skipping a run. It went okay, not great. Using a 5-spot, hoping a change in targets would be refreshing; I ended up 300 and 50X. Not getting 60X on a 5-spot was a warning.

It was time to take a break. I might skip practice this afternoon.