Another hard fought tournament was held in Conyers, Georgia over the weekend of September 7thand 8th. It was sunny, hot, and extremely competitive. There was some simply amazing archery equipment in the hands of almost everyone. If you mess up a shot it will cost you in this crowd, hence some of the best gear money can buy was on the line.
The State Championship, for me meant shooting from 70 meters, 60 meters, 50 meters and 30 meters – 36 arrows at each distance. All distances feel about the same to me. There wasn’t much difference between my scores at those distances. I shot the same score at 70 meters and 60 meters, two points higher at 50 meters, then 9 points higher when I moved up to 30 meters. Same deal with 10s and 9s over the final count. Each distance pretty much scored like the prior distance.
Conyers is only 27 miles from our home so the drive is decent. During the afternoon’s return trip there’s always a chance that parts of the drive will be overwhelmed by Atlanta traffic. That happened in 2018, but not so in 2019.
Conyers is located so the commute to compete brings in a good crowd. The rumor was that the number of archers was less in 2019 than in 2018. If that is true it wasn’t obvious.
Like 2018 it was hot. The heat didn’t seem to impact all the shooters. One archer set an unofficial world record at 50 meters. The winner of the men’s recurve division is currently in second place in the USA Olympic Archery trials. Wherever you look during archery competitions anywhere in Georgia there stands some sort of archery hero. (Real and self proclaimed)
Even among the group where I competed nearly everyone had decades of experience, loads of wins, and all types of gift giving sponsorship. Two of these athletes were comparing notes on how many dozens of free arrows they’re provided from those sponsors. Admittedly, I am envious of free arrows especially at the price point of their free products.
I even overheard exchanges describing bowstrings, free or discounted, bows, free or discounted, and all manner of ancillary equipment from bow shops heavily discounted or free.
I wish I had such deals. I tried the sponsor battle and all I every earned associated with archery ‘stuff’ were half-assed discounts. Heck, in most cases it was less expensive to buy the exact same product on Amazon, eBay or waiting for a local shop to run any sort of special. Those local shop specials didn’t follow me from North Carolina to Georgia. But, I have gave up on the “ProStaff” sponsorship when the benefit / detriment ratio seemed unbalanced.
Nope, no deals for me. In fact, I can’t even get new Elite limbs ( at full price) for a Victory 37X. Elite, per the bow shop, is backordered on the limbs. When I mentioned this to one of the swag-enriched archers in my division he acted shocked! “I got these new limbs in 3 weeks,” he said pointing out his high end Mathews product. I need the limbs to make the bow work for me.
The bow, a purchase that seems to be a never ending problem was totally foolish on my part. My mistake entirely. I let myself get talked into buying a 50 – 60 pound bow that needs to be shot at 48 pounds. I’ve since learned how risky it is to shoot a bow rigged in this fashion from experts and manufacturers. [ Safety Precaution: Be careful that you do not unscrew the limb bolts passed the bow’s lowest weight setting. If the limb bolts are unscrewed too much, the limb bolt’s threads can come out of the riser and cause damage to the bow and injure the mechanic. (1) In addition it leaves the bowstring too loose and the limbs no longer reproduce the proper flex. (2)] In the meantime I just roll with it have hope it doesn’t break.
It didn’t matter the bow isn’t working as the engineers designed and the product assurance department required (as it is set for me), it flung my inexpensive arrows down range. By inexpensive I mean $144.00 a dozen via Amazon. (3)
Those $12.00 arrows, vanes included, are a whole lot less pricey compared to some the $35.00, no vanes shafts only arrows being shot. (4) In fact, I overheard those $35.00 each arrow shafts are now better and cost $41.00 each. That is the price of the shaft, no vanes, no nocks, no bushings, and no points. Those parts needed to complete the arrow are probably another $10.00 per arrow. Some of those men and women have forked out about $51.00 per arrow or $612.00 for a dozen. That is about the price of my bow without the attachments (stabilizer, scope, etc.).
Seeing all the beautifully engineered precision gear on the range over the weekend made me envious. Overhearing how many of the archers got that gear free or paid an extreme discount was amazing. Good for them!
It wasn’t just the younger archers with seemingly incredible money saving arrangements. The Masters group was filled with shooters riding the sweet sway wagon. I am glad to see manufacturers and bow shops recognizing Masters level athletes by providing gear, discounts and support.
Still, there were lot of guys paying full price (or more) for whatever is available and doing the best they can with it. A Masters recurve archer laughed at what he was shooting compared to the gear of more pampered athletes. I understood and told him, “The best bow out here is the one in your hand.”
Having excellent equipment wasn’t much help when it came to reducing the heat. It was plain old Georgia summer hot the entire time. The host, Archery Learning Center, provided free cold bottled water, which was a treat.
The outdoor environmental furnace didn’t send most folks running toward air conditioning as soon as the last arrow flew. The awards ceremony was well attended. There were loads of proud parents, spouses, and loved ones as the smiling winners received their medals and headed home.
And this ends the outdoor archery season for me. (Winter is coming!)
(2) As explained by a world class level bow expert.