The Sage Creek Archery Club was the host of the 2016 North Carolina ASA State Championship. I’d planned on skipping this event. Plans changed and we headed north from Georgia rather that south toward Alabama.
The original plan called for a trip from North Carolina, to Georgia, then Alabama where I’d shoot in Georgia and then at the USA Outdoor Nationals in Decatur, Alabama. The one-day, 72-arrow contest in Madison, Georgia was enough to divert my drive back north.
On this adventure, 22 days in total, Brenda, our two dogs and I were stopping along the way at campsites making use of our Winnebago. The Madison, Georgia tournament was a warm-up for the Nationals. The problem arose after the event in Georgia. It was a matter of timing.
The one-day 72-arrow tournament took 7.5 hours to finish. This was too long to expect Brenda to stay at a campground, in Decatur. The 7.5 hours did not include travel time (to and from the Winnebago to the competition). If the Nationals were going to have any resemblance of the Georgia shoot it was going to need to wait until 2017. In 2017, Brenda said, she would not come on the trip. I could hardly blame her.
I’ve competed in some long sports events, but 7.5 hours for 72 arrows? Heck, I can nearly complete an Ironman in that much time, certainly less time is needed for a 70.3 Ironman. When I consider I can swim 2.4 miles, complete a 112 mile bike ride, and be running a marathon (running it not finished with it) in less time than shooting 72 arrows – well time to change the agenda. The agenda change was to head north to Mt. Airy, North Carolina and shoot in the ASA State Championship.
Prior to that change I had not looked at a foam animal in weeks. Still, lack of preparation has newer been an issue for me. I’d go do my best and be thankful I had an alternative to the Outdoor Nationals.
At Mt. Airy the range amazed me. Sage Creek is a very difficult but not unreasonable course. It seemed each target was thoughtfully arranged to make shots a challenge, yet they were shots that seemed realistic.
Another bonus from the Sage Creek shoot was the speed with which it ran. The tournament was conducted so that archers needed to shoot twice. The morning shoot was over in around two hours. There was a short break and for those people shooting at the second start time, of which I was included, we were done by 2:30 PM. One of the best-organized events (all sports) were I’ve competed.
The guys in the group I shot with were really Top Guns. Among them they held multiple World Championships and Shooter of the Year Titles. It also contained the eventual winner of this State Championship (as well and second place and 5th place.)
It was a little disappointing to not shoot at the Outdoor Nationals. But, as a family event, unless it’s an archery-centric group, all day (like that of Madison) is a non-starter. I’ve done a lot of sports over the decades. I recall a USA Masters National Indoor Track and Field race where my start time was delayed three times. Still it was not as bad the experience in Georgia that ended up being the action that led me to Mt. Airy. But, Mt. Airy proved to be one of the best-run sports events where I’ve been a competitor.