Checking in: ASA Leopold AAE Pro/AM in Appling, GA

This morning, River and I took the 40-minute drive over to the ASA Leopold AAE Pro/AM in Appling, GA from Tignal, GA. I compete this weekend. I wanted to find my ranges for Saturday and Sunday. I’d forgotten my little tournament registration postcard, received a few days ago by mail, that exhibited ranges, start times and starting stake numbers in North Carolina. So, I’d need to pick up another from the event organizers.

The drive was without incident. There is a five-dollar fee on top of the registration fee to enter the venue. Park rangers manning a booth at the entrance take the money. Once paid you can drive forward taking care not to run over archers shooting on either side Dogwood Lane, the main entrance road. Going slowly it isn’t difficult to miss hitting them.

Dogwood Lane, heading in

As we passed the walkers, all ornamented in the bowling/archery supply collared shirts and toting bows and chairs, we reached the flagman for parking. We were directed to a slot about two tenths of a mile from the initial parking representative’s post and maybe a half mile to registration.

Friends from NC heading to retrieve arrows at known 50

I gathered what I needed, which included a lead for River, and made the hike to registration. There the queue was clearly going to be a 15-minute shuffle to the head of the line. It took just 10 minutes to realize my wallet was in the truck. We walked back to the truck.

By now, River was getting a little hot so on the return trip we veered left and headed to the lake. There she took a cooling swim before getting back on course to registration.

Along the trek back to registration River was greeted by a pair of youngsters eating snow cones. The boys thought River was happy to see them. They were both around 12 years old and not worldly when it comes to Labrador retrievers and anything eatable. River’s good nature availed her to provide a teaching moment for the boys. It went well, boys and dog were satisfied. Sharing snow cones is acceptable for young men and mature dogs.

River, now lake cooled and snow cone refreshed,  joined me in marching on to registration central. At making our mark I noticed things had changed since we last visited. The queue now, two lines, being five deep each. Considering the earlier pace of advance toward the payment window meant this was going to take close to an hour. If my estimations on yardage tomorrow are as close to my shuffle timing guess I will be golden. I swear, the closing for my last house took less time.

Before I paid, standing on Southern sunbaked blacktop poor River was beginning to heat up. I removed her lead and positioned her under the canopy extending a few feet past the elevated money handlers. There she stood between the lines of melting archers.

River’s not a dumb dog and understands shade. She was happy to stay put. While ahead of me by two archers I noted she was looking to her right then left. Was there another dog approaching? If so, I might need to reattach her lead.

That was not the case. She was still wet from the swim. The matter was her need for a shake. River is aware of the result of a good water removal shake. She held it as long as any dog would consider fair warning then began the rapid sideways roll of her coat spraying both lines of potential 3D shooters with dog inspired rain.

Moments like these leave little to say or explain. Fortunately, all splattered were understanding or so worn from standing, heat, and line misery no one bothered to complain. It seemed there was a gleam in River’s eyes.

Thus, avoiding calamity I was happy to reach the window. There I explained I’d left my range assignment postcard at home in North Carolina. All I needed to replace it, as informed by a voice above, was my ASA number, which I have memorized. The wallet with identification was not necessary. However, the dollar penalty fee to replace the 5-cent post card did necessitate the wallet.

Seriously, one dollar to replace the postcard? Surely this was not an attempt to generate revenue unless hundreds of archers forget their postcards. I half expected the official in the registration box to order me to sit in time out for my error.

Freed from judgment and one dollar with postcard in hand, River and I decided to take a brief tour to find where ranges H and G, my weekend’s starting assignments, were located. Moving through a crowd of archers it was soon clear River had more admirers and most. I’d hear, “Is that, River?” directed to her but asked of me. While patted a lot her social highlights included meeting a beagle, a basset hound, and a large mixed breed.

Her gastronomic highlight was delivered at lunch. We’d been on the hunt for H and G when it was approaching time to eat. River eats twice a day, not three times a day. So, lunch is not on her menu. I ordered a sandwich from one of the food vendors located in the “Tournament Village.” “Tournament Village” is a clear attempt at marketing the vendor location. The name being more grandiose than genuine.

My sandwich arrived along with a hot dog, no bun, for River. Once again, she’d displayed pleading falsely hungry eyes and earned a jackpot.

Our need for substance met we renewed the H and G hunt. There is a map of the ranges laid on a table new a vendor tent. It is not to scale. In fact, it is more a cartoon of a map than map. Despite the caricature challenge we discovered H and G. The only further starting points from parking are ranges A and B. But, all ranges are within a civilized walking distance and there is no need to clamber on a tractor drawn cart, ski lift, of tram to arrive at the appointed starting stake.

One last stop before we returned to the 2006 F-150 King Ranch for the trip home was to visit with a specific equipment supplier. I had questions I needed answered by an authority before the NC State Outdoor Championship in July. I’d already found the vendor’s booth and made two measures of the area. Each effort found the booth devoid of humanity. Alas, the third try was the charm; there was a sales person at his station and not a sole in sight. I made my move.

Upon arrival I stood and waited to be addressed. The representative seemed to be asleep, head bowed, or in prayer. Respectful of the latter possibility I stood by in anticipation of an Amen.

Either totally exhausted or in deep repentance for sin, the head did not lift. I grabbed and fondled gadgets and widgets. No response. Hoping for help, I snapped my fingers for River to stand and put her paws on the merchandise display table. Always compliant she was over happy to stand two legs on the tarmac and two on the table. No response. How do you ignore a 107-pound Labrador retriever eyes’ looking down on you is beyond my comprehension.

Perhaps the sales representative, one I’ve met in the past, was in a diabetic coma. I did not verify for vital signs. I refer I’ve met him in the past while applying the term liberally, similar to “Tournament Village.” But, I’ve made this attempt to gain information on the displayed products in the past. Same company, same representative. As before, I departed the booth, sales representative’s head unmoved, my questions unanswered.

I didn’t take any practice at the ASA event. I took personalized coaching back in Tignal.

On the final leg of our hike around the ASA Leopold AAE Pro/AM in Appling, GA, River took one more cooling swim. Then, we boarded the truck and made the 40-minute drive back home. Tomorrow it is suppose to storm all day.

It was all fun and games in Appling, but River was glad to be on familiar turf