There are some great archery tournaments within an hour and a half of us here in Tignall, GA. We come down several times a year and there’s always some competition to join. This week we came down for the 4th of July celebration. Then, we head onto the USA Outdoor Nationals in Decatur, AL. While in Georgia, sure enough, there was a tournament in Madison, GA.
The outdoor shoot in Madison was 72 arrows from 50 meters followed by an Olympic Round. I arrived a little early, before all the targets were out on the field. I’d allowed some extra time in case I got lost. I did get lost, but not too badly. I had a phone number to ‘Coach Danny’ so I called for help.
Eventually, Coach Danny talked me in and I found the range. Once there, I introduced myself to the Coach and thanked him for his assistance. It wouldn’t be the last time he’d help me out over the weekend.
The shoot got underway pretty much on time. The contest began in the afternoon. It was a hot day and the afternoon temperature was near 100°F. Toasty.
I’d traveled alone and didn’t have a tent to sit under. Before the shooting began the field behind the shooters lined up two deep with tents covering spectators. A family from Alabama invited me to share their shade. I was grateful even though there was not a lot of time for sitting.
The judges kept the flow moving and there was a break after 36 arrows. The break allowed people to refuel, get more fluids, and take a bio-break. I used the time to eat a tournament vender supplied barbeque sandwich.
Now, you might think a barbeque sandwich purchased at an archery tournament might not be the best choice for pork. You would be mistaken.
A friend, Andy, and I traveled together for nearly a decade. On all trips we made it a goal to try to find the best barbeque. We enjoyed slow cooked pig from Texas to Georgia. The barbeque served by this vendor here in Madison is the best I can recall.
It was late afternoon when I finished my sandwich and the carbon fiber bombardment restarted. It was still sweltering and people had been in the sun for hours. Despite the heat arrows continued to hit X’s, ten’s and nine’s for most of the men’s open archers. One fellow, a colligate archer for the University of Georgia, was tearing the center of his target to pieces.
The second 36 arrows were all shot by 7:20 PM. The next phase of the day was the Olympic Round. Regardless of my potential place after the 72 arrows, I was leaving. I’d been on the range since 2:30 PM and had a two-hour drive ahead of me. As much as I would have enjoyed staying, there was no getting around the time.
I hastily packed by gear, or so I thought, said my goodbyes and hit the road. It wasn’t until the next morning I discovered I’d left my bow on the range. Opps.
Hello again, Coach Danny!
I had a feeling Coach Danny would have my bow and he did. I felt lucky to have reached him on a Sunday morning. This is the South and many Southerners are in Church on Sunday morning.
Coach Danny wasn’t in Church this Sunday morning, he was heading back to the range to finish putting targets away. Man, I was lucky!! A bonus was that he didn’t make me feel particularly stupid for forgetting my bow.
We met back at the field where the tournament was held so I could recover my forgotten property. As we talked he gave me a few pointers in my grip. He also said, “I couldn’t figure out way things moved so slowly yesterday.” Then asked, “Where you still here when the sprinklers went off?”
All I could do was laugh at that. The range was set up on a soccer field with an underground sprinkler system on a timer. It activated at 8:19 PM the system showering archers and fans without discrimination. He added, “We didn’t finish until 11:00 PM.”
I really did appreciate Coach Danny’s help finding the range, recovering and delivering of my bow. Without him, well things would have really been a mess.
I’ll be back in Georgia to shoot again soon, I hope. Each time I’m here I meet a new friend and shoot with some of the nicest people in the sport.