Creating an ASA Pro K50, Remarks by John Chandler, Levi Morgan and David Lain

On June 2, 2015 my friend John Chandler published the following post on his Facebook page. I repeatedly read it along with the subsequent comments. John and I spoke on this matter and he gave me permission to publish his post on this website. Along with his remarks I included those from Levi Morgan, with permission, and mine.

John Chandler: “First I would like to say Georgia Archers did well in KY this past weekend. We had lots of archers make the top of the list in lots of classes. Congrats to each and every one of you. But I have been scanning social media. I’m not seeing the normal “Great Weekend”, “So much fun,” “Can’t wait for the next one” comments. You know what I have seen? Known 50, Pro 50, Bumper Pro, The Meeting. SMH.

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With 1841 scores posted for the ASA in KY (I counted); what is all the fuss about K50 needing to become a Pro class about? We should be happy with the growth in the sport, the women classes are growing fast, youth classes are bigger then ever, that is a good thing. The known classes (K50) have a place that is a fact (just look that the numbers).

Why does K50 need Pro in the name? That is the question that needs to be answered. Why would making it a PRO class make it better? Contingency money? Will it bring more top archers to the class? Are so you can say you shoot in a pro class?

As for contingency money many of the top companies have already said they will have it next year in that class as it is now. I know some of the biggest names in the archery world have shot this class before: Jesse Broadwater Dave Cousins, Scott Starnes & more. These are Pros in the sport and have shot in the class that didn’t have PRO in the name.

Now for the last question – to say you shoot in the pro class? Well ASA has a pro class that you can do just that. Pay your money and shoot it is that easy. Tim, Dan McCarthy, Levi Morgan & more would not mind at all for you to join them. Oh but you are not good at yardage? Well then work on it. Top athletes in every sport work hard to become what they want to be. They don’t try to change the game to fit what they are not good at.

As some have said Return On Investment (ROI) is the way of business. How would adding a Pro 50 Benefit ASA? Fees for the class would go up for sure if it became a Pro class. Would the class grow? I think the numbers would drop because. Some would not pay the Pro fees.

I think the only way archery will get more money whether it’s 3D, USA Archery, NFAA will be to find outside sponsors. Every other sport that is big has this: NASCAR with Nextel, Golf with FedEx Cup, and Football with advertising. Corporate sponsorships will help more then anything else. The archery equipment companies have done a great job but there is only so much $$ to be spent.

Solutions to problems are what we need, if they’re really problems. That being said what does everyone else think? If you think is should change or not? But is so why and how should it be done?”

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‪Levi Morgan: “I promise you that if the top pros move over – 60 plus up will win every time. If you can’t shoot 60 up on a known course you won’t stand a chance. When we have the simms known we were hitting 9 out of 10 14s almost every tournament. If you give me the yardage or Danny or Tim or any of us for that matter and we miss more than five 12s out of 20 shots something is wrong. If the known 50 guys want to test their shooting skills against the best in the world then tell them to come to Redding, Vegas, or Louisville and do it; only like 4 or 5 ever have. So the rest of you have no argument in my option.

There are already pro known tournaments all over the world and hardly any of these guys are going. … Why? The same reason they don’t shoot in the pro class at an ASA, because they don’t think they can win. I’m not taking about the few that do but the rest. I personally don’t care either way because I will do whatever it takes to compete. And unlike some of you, I have a problem with the “every body deserves a trophy” attitude. You are either one of the top archers or you’re not. Put in the work and if you don’t have the time then guess what – Archery is your hobby… not your job!”

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David Lain: Response to shooting classes, earning opportunity, reaction to advancing  archery to a more public friendly spectator sport, and costs.

In archery the amateurs and the pro compete in close proximity during many tournaments. It is the same in triathlon. In triathlon the pros and the amateurs are essentially side by side, at least until the race starts.

What I notice in this similarity is that in both fields amateurs develop a unique relationship with the professionals in their respective sport. In that association I’ve seen amateur triathletes beat professional athletes – it happens! In archery, I’ve seen amateurs that could easily make money shooting as a professional. The money, however, is an issue.

Earning a financial living as a professional athlete is work. It is also a risk. If you have a few bad days at a regular job you’re not likely to find that job disappears. Pro athletes that have a slump are quickly in jeopardy. Furthermore, the average income (Salary.com) for a professional athlete in the US is $31,922 – not the big bucks of dreams. The income range for professional archers is: $10,000 – $75,000, for Olympic archers: $36,000 – $97,000. While top end of earning looks pretty good, the median in the US for all pro athletes is only $31,922.

If you want to be a professional archer – forget about the money. Do it because you love it. And you will have to put in the work. Take a bit of time and investigate the hours of training per day you’ll need to reach the top level of archery or any sport. When I started shooting a “Hot Shot” approached me to brag how he shot 30 arrows five days a week (That was probably an exaggeration). I assure you he was not a professional caliber archer.

When considering the potential of archery becoming a specator sport – that is a matter of finding the right professional “characters” and sponsors that recognize archery’s marketing potential. It has happened in other more difficult to video record sports.

Take cycling, the Tour de France for example – very difficult to record for television. Consider an Ironman event, even more difficult than archery or cycling to video. In an Ironman, the athletes swim away, next they get on their bikes and ride away, and finally they run away. Yet NBC has televised Ironman events for decades. Why do these sports get the media’s attention?

Think about the charismatic athletes that moved other sports to center stage: Cycling – Lance Armstrong, despite doping the man brought competitive cycling into the homes of America, triathlon – Mark Allen and Dave Scott’s Iron War, Julie Moss’ dramatic 1982 finish in Kona, then modern Queen Chrissie Wellington. The greatest promoter of a sport, and himself, in boxing is Mohammed Ali. If you don’t know at least two of those names you are truly focused on archery. Those athletes have powerful personalities  the media fell in love with them and so did the public. What does the public know about archery figures: Robin Hood, Katniss Everdeen of Catching Fire, or Hawkeye of the Avengers. We need a Tiger Woods or Venus Williams. I think, we have great and charismatic archers on the range – they only need so time to be recognized.

A few of the responses to John’s Facebook post complained about the price to play in archery. Cost, from my perspective is that archery is very reasonable. Let me point out, my entry fee for the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii was $850.00. By comparison, my IBO World Championship entry fee – $175.00. Specific to the equipment of the sports, my racing bicycle and wheels cost $7200.00. On the other hand, my current bow cost $900. My old bow cost me $1249.00 ( less than the price of one rear disc wheel for a racing bicycle) Archery is very fairly priced compared to many other individual sports including golf and tennis. None of archery is free. Is there money to be made, yes. Can you make more money doing something else – certainly. It comes down to this, “What is it that you want and what are you willing to give up to get it.”

As Levi Morgan suggests, should you want to shoot as a professional archery, well what is stopping you? And as John Chandler points out, “…don’t try to change the game to fit what they are not good at.”

16 thoughts on “Creating an ASA Pro K50, Remarks by John Chandler, Levi Morgan and David Lain”

  1. Well said gentleman. Though I’m no Levi Morgan, or Jesse Broadwater I do pretty good. When at the range I’m asked how much practice time do I put in, when I tell them 4-5 times a week I get this strange look like I’m crazy. Like any sport, it’s what you put into it.

  2. I agree with Levi on this topic .the known shooters have opportunities to shoot for money classes in Vegas,redding,Louisville, and over seas .its like the old saying that still rings true today.if you want to be the best you got to beat the best.I love judging yardage .I’m not real good at it yet but I’m still working at it.I don’t think the rules should change just to let a few dot shooters who are good shooters try to compete with the guys that they are not competing with now.look at the scores the pros shoot higher scores unknown than the shooters shooting known.but the really think they can compete with Levi,Dan,Tim,or any of the pro,s in known.I. DONT. THINK. So

  3. First off I am not a professional archer.
    But after listening to both sides if this issue I have to agree with Levi Morgan.
    There is already a known class so what is to be gained by calling it a Pro class?
    Nothing other than some guys puffing out their chest and claiming to be professional archers.
    I am not knocking them. But as the saying goes. To be the man, you have to beat the man.
    How can you compare yourself walking up to the line and knowing it’s 37 yards across the clearing into the woods to the Pig target. To a guy who has put in the countless hours and days looking at the same scenario without any help to train his eye and his brain to be in sync.
    To know that it is 37 yards.
    The PRO classes have done the work to gain that title.
    No one walked up to them a and have them the title.
    Titles are earned. Not given.
    This entitlement trip has got to stop.
    If you want to be a Pro. Work your butt off and earn it.

  4. Thanks’ guys you hit the nail right on the head. There is nothing else to be said. Pay/Put up or shut up.

    Thank you so much for what you have done for the world of archery.
    Steven Coleman

  5. Hey David,
    A couple of us archery guys are doing IM 70.3 Timberman in August. Wanna race with us?
    Ben from TRU Ball/AXCEL

    1. I’d love to do Timberman. But the IBO World Championship is in August and my focus is there at the moment. However, I haven’t yet done Timberman and really would like to do it. Heck, I’d be surprised if it were still open. Please (seriously) keep me informed on how this turns out. Here’s my personal email: Dlain117@yahoo.com.

  6. Gentleman I am not a pro shooter, but I am a lifetime bowhunter and businessman. I have an aspiring young son who wants to be a pro shooter and is well on his way. I have always wanted to help archery grow as a lifetime recreational pursuit and competive archery has a huge future. “If” companies see it as affecting the bottom lines they will play the game and sponsorship money will flow. One thought is that both sides of this debate can get exactly what they want and promote the 3D game. Let’s suppose we created a Pro 50 class and the dues go up – fine you pay to play and this class then enjoys the prestige of being the best at what they do best, shooting with the known yardage. Then we still hold up the current Open Pro class as the pinnacle of the sport that’s what it is now and I don’t believe that will change – Levi, Dan, Tim and Tommy are still the best at what they do! Now what about the money? If the pros all pay into a tiered system of payout then the purses get bigger for the pros not smaller, it is a way to grow 3D and increases payouts to the two top tier classes, Men’s Open Pro and Ladies Open Pro. The ladies have been deserving a raise for a while. I believe with some thoughtful forward thinking everyone could benefit as sponsors and potential sponsors watch us carefully navigate our growth spurts. If we move forward carefully archery grows and pros flourish because everyone wants to make a living at what they love to do.

  7. I have been shooting 2-D then 3-D since late 70’s early 80’sand still do it has been all unknown distance for ever the people that love will shoot it the people that can’t win don’t way should we change what we love to do for them your game is other there go shoot don’t try to change mine for them people that don’t know what 2-D was it was just a flat target mostly from Stanley hip it what got us started Still love 3-D

  8. I am by no means a pro in archery. My word I’ve only had a bow in my hand for 27 months but I strive to become a PRO. I really don’t have a dog in this fight, I’m gonna throw my two cents in the air anyway. A lil more than two years ago I went to ASA West Monroe, LA to watch my father compete. While there he introduced me to Levi, Tim, Chance, Ginger, Steve Scott and several other Pros he had become acquainted with through team shoots. I researched them and was in Awe of the abilities they have. I began to shoot myself and learned really quick in Hunter class if you want to be on the podium you better judge yardage. We had really good dot shooters in that class that would easily put 18 up on known side but you fail on unknown. I was not bottom of the barrel but not top tier either. I finished top 10 three times in hunter class my first season earning my way out. I moved to unlimited, big jump both days unknown and several occasions 50yd max. I got my tail handed to me first two ASA events. Judging yardage was the biggest difference in ability. I became more and more familiar with the top names in the sport and they were happy to help me out with my issue. Jeff Hopkins even took time out to walk an empty range with me to teach me a few things to make me better. I’m now in open b and getting better every day, I have made the commitment to do so. I have bought a full range and use it to judge everyday and yes I shoot several days a week. I don’t want to be given anything especially something as prestigious as being an actual Professional. I want to earn that, I want Levi, Tim, Dan, Jack, and Jeff to be proud to have me in the ranks with them. I want to walk on that range the first time and shake their hands and say thank you for helping me get to that level cause they have. Tim most of all. The K50 guys are awesome shooters but devote yourselves and get to that level of all aspects of the sport not just shot execution. I want the Pros to know if I happen. To make it while they are still there and not retired that I earned it through hard work and dedication not a flipping hand out cause I can squeeze off an acurate shot on known distance. I put in the work to tell within .5 yd how far that target is away. All in all. Stop changing the rules to keep a handful happy. Pros are pros for a reason, not cause someone gave it to them.

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