Sunday was a perfect for a 3D tournament at the Tuckahoe Bowmen Club in Queen Anne, MD. The day was sunny, temperature in the upper 60’s, and very little wind. Paul and his henchmen arrived early to set the targets. The registration table was manned and parking was nearly filled before 8:00 AM. At my home, we’d had company for the weekend and topped off this visit with a series of libations on Saturday night. I was late pulling in for the tournament.
It became evident I was one of the last people to make the shoot. Everyone appeared to be on the course. The calls of birds, voices and laughter floated from woods. Fortunately, Mevko and Dave (two companions just entering the course) were at the first target. If I rushed I could join their group. Quickly signing in, I snatched my gear and took one warm up shot at 20 yard. Smacking a bull’s-eye, taking it as an omen, I jogged to catch up. The impotent omen shot was my best of the day.
Paul has a reputation for setting up a challenging course. There is a legend of how he once placed a raccoon target inside the hollow of a tree. Today, Paul was true to form. The first three targets were big, clear, level, long shots – easy for pros. Of these targets, Mevko did the best, Dave lost an arrow, and I hit a 5, 10, and 5. However, it was target number four where Paul’s creative genius shined.
On target four there stood that infamous, hollow dwelling raccoon, snarling at us from down in a steep dark ravine, positioned slightly twisted, 32 yards away. The critter’s eleven spot was so small it was nearly impossible to make out with binoculars. As each of our group silently murmured an obscenity, we in turn approached the shooter’s stake, secured as best as possible our footing (fearing a slip would land us at the little furry bandit’s perch below), took aim and let loose an arrow. Mevko smacked a 10, Dave got and 8, I embedded my arrow into a stump.
Mevko and I had afternoon family obligations so we hurried over the course. He had a birthday party to attend and I had friends waiting at home. It didn’t take long to catch the group ahead of us, Paul’s. In this mix were the “Big” boys, among them Wes, Lee and Norm. Bart, another ace shooter, unable to compete because of recent shoulder surgery, was among the entourage, there to practice sighting distances.
These men are all shooters. On bad days as a whole their average score will hover above 300. Lee and Norm were attired in their Whitetail Outpost professional archer’s shirts. Paul was adorned in a T-Shirt obtained from competitor’s swag during an IBO World Championship. Wes’ apparel was less intimating, his shirt respectful of the Master’s underway in Augusta. As Mevko, Dave and I played through, I silently prayed for a non-embarrassing shot.
Walking away, I overheard these professional archers in conversation, Bart, “What if I woke up in the morning and was an …..hole? What would I be then?” Norm, “Well, you would be Paul” Next, a call directed toward our group, “Hi, can y’all take Bart with you?” Such are the words of wit and wisdom exchanged by professionals.
Mevko, Dave and I continued to miss-fire over the course. Mevko and Dave hadn’t shot since the end of deer season. Overall, we had as many 11’s as lost arrows. I finished the day with a new record low having left one arrow stumped in the woods. Paul had done his worst to us on this beautiful Sunday. Nevertheless, the pro-guys left the course high in both spirit and score.