Tuckahoe: A Perfect Day for 3D

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.

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Heading to register for the shoot

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.

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The impotent 1 warm-up shot

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.

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Paul, master designer of tough 3D courses

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.

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Paul looks on as Norm sizes up the target

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.

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Mevko’s fletching sliced by Dave’s arrow

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.

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Traditional archers pausing after completing the course
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Mevko, after the shoot and before the birthday party

 

Carlita’s Toes

Today, while running, my brain cleared – it didn’t take long, there wasn’t a lot of clutter floating around upstairs.  When my head opens thoughts and ideas pop into mental view.  On this run what popped in to my consciousness was Carlita’s foot apparel worn during Sunday’s 3D Tournament at Mid-Del Archery in Harrington, Delaware. (This isn’t weird in the way you might think)

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Running and “Trying” to think

The 3D tournament was an IBO Qualifier held at the Mid-Del Archers’ range.  It had been raining for weeks and the course was a mud hole.  Carlita is married to Wes and both are archers.  They were shooting during the tournament and grouped with a couple friends, John and Paul.  All four are excellent archers.

Carlita
Carlita

The tournament was a major event and as such the course was crowded.  There were assemblies of four or five archers weaving and crisscrossing the range to avoid the mire and standing water.  The soaked course could not be circumnavigated so some folks were shooting the front 15 targets then retracing their steps to the back 15 and vica-versa.  Sloshing about, I’d started on the back 15; I crossed paths with Carlita’s assembly on the front 15.  I hadn’t seen the four of them since we’d finished the Indoor League Competition at Cypress Creek.

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Wes

They are a wholesome group of people.  All of them are friendly, helpful, encouraging and quick to laugh.  I was pleased to see them.  The guys were ready for the potential of a muddy day having worn rugged footwear.  (Among all the competitors I noticed an abundance of work boots and knee high rubber boots.)  I’d chosen incorrectly and worn running shoes.  Having stopped to say hello to the quartet, I happened to glance down and noticed Carlita’s feet.

Carlita was wearing white, slight, flat, girly-strapped sandals.  They and her feet we mud free.  My mental conclusion was that someone, perhaps Wes, had been giving her piggyback rides.  What I’d tactlessly blurted out was, “You are wearing those!” Rather than a comment from anyone in the crowd in agreement with the obvious sandal blunder, Paul immediately focused onto Carlita’s possible need to have her toenails painted. Paul had initiated a toenail painting controversy!

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John

As argument and pontification on proper toenail artistry elevated it was suggested that: 1) She could have her toenails painted professionally, 2) she should paint them, or 3) Wes could paint them.  It was observed that since Wes was shooting so well, exemplifying steady hands, that he could certainly paint Carlita’s toenails.  The choices being debated, each with merits and detriment, heads bobbed from feet to speakers, the cluster of compadres centered on toes and painting. Meanwhile, their ignored arrows protruded from a headless coyote target 30 yards away. The conversation seemed mismatched to the mud, the guys, the bows, the targets, arrows and the swampy outdoors.  All I could do was listen and wonder. Paul smiled with satisfaction having ignited a fuse that threw vocal flame toward silent toes.

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Paul

Eventually, the debate floundered so that arrows and scores could be collected and recorded.   We moved away in oppose directions allowing more stoic archers’ to approach the headless canine. While I slopped along in mud I glanced back to see if Carlita was indeed being carried or if she was somehow levitating above the muck.  She was on her own, skillfully ambulating the high ground.

The shoot in Delaware was fun and aside from the muddy course a nice day.  I will have to ask, when I next see Carlita, how did her feet and shoes fare over the back 15. Such are the thoughts that float through my head while I run.

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Pennsylvania State Indoor Archery Championships

 

Crowfoot Rod and Gun, setting up targets
Crowfoot Rod and Gun, setting up targets.

On March 1st, Pennsylvania held, in part, its Indoor State Championship (FITA). I found the event on the USA Archery website and signed up.  I considered the location a stroke of luck because I had lived in the small town of Murrysville, where the tournament was held in, 10 years earlier.

My family and I had lived on Scenic Drive in Murrysville for four years and had come to love the special type of people that Pittsburgh cultivates.  The people of are warm, welcoming, and can repair anything from a hot water heater to a fuel injector with whatever they have on hand, an industrious group.  The crowd at the competition proved no different.  The tournament was held at Crowfoot Rod & Gun Club 2.39 miles from my former home.  What is more the Club, on Crowfoot Road, lays on one of the cycling training circuits I’d ridden hundreds of times.  The road was part of the Murrysville Classic Bicycle Race in which I’d competed as a cyclist.   The range is 1.42 miles from two of our dearest friends, Chuck and Glori. Chuck, a physician, teacher and bona fide genius, was my cycling training partner and research colleague.  During the trip, I got to visit my daughter, son-in-law, grandchildren and good friends.  It was a great couple of days.  Visiting friends and family while shooting in an archery tournament is hard to beat.

Murrysville has expanded since we lived there.  Still, the roads with their climbs called out for a bike.  Murrysville has some of the best training roads for cycling I have ever encountered.  These roads wind along some of the most amazing scenery in Pennsylvania. On long training rides I stop, call home, and tell Brenda, my wife,  she has to drive out and look over the view. This trip, however, I was in Murrysville for another reason.

The archery range was wide, well illuminated, and had ample room for spectators. Typically, the folks in and around Pittsburgh are extremely open friendly.  Before I had left I had new friends, Terry, Steve and Chris.  Terry, a seventy plus year old who had been practicing archery for over 60 years.  Steve and Chris are a father and son enjoying a boys day out at the range.  Within a few ends I felt as if I’d known them for years. The officials were funny, friendly, all smiles and made me very comfortable. That day, I shot a personal best.  All together a great experience with one exception; I left my quiver at the range. I didn’t even know I’d forgotten it until, on Sunday, I got a call from one of the officials informing me and offering to ship it to me.  Archery Lesson 2:  Remember everything you bring to the range and don’t leave it there.

League competition

Tonight we shoot at Cypress Creek Archery.   This is the third week of an indoor league.  Last week, 295 and ten X’s. Shot with my ZXT (for the first time in competition).  My Apex 7 was getting a new XFire String on March 11th.

On this night, John S shot a 300 with 29 X’s.  Impressive shooting.  His was not the only 300, however with 29 X’s an impressive round of shooting.  I shot a 296 with 13 X’s.  The scoring is 10 for center (white) and 9 for blue on the target. In other competition  the scoring is 5 for a center (white) shot and 4 for a blue ring. In this league, the score is doubled and we shot 30 arrows rather than 60 for a maximum of 300 points. (30 times 10 = 300 instead of 60 times 5 =  300.  I include this for folks that don’t enjoy math.)

My first indoor competition: The Blog starts here

Shooting in an archery competition, well that should be easy.  During practice, shooting for a maximum of 300, I had an average of 293 with a range of 278 to 298.  Shooting is a calm sport, so I thought.  When I compare it to racing a kilometer on a Velodrome, competing in an Ironman, or running marathon archery was going to be a breeze.

As I took my place in my “box” on the line, there is no sweat from my warm up.  There is no wetsuit squeezing me (and my bladder), no worry about getting kicked, pushed, crashing my bike, breaking a bone, or in some manner ending up in an emergency room.

I felt confident, relaxed, easy and somewhat certain in my preparation.  The folks around me were not shaped like my frequent competition. For the most part they are not the lean whippet shapes of triathlon, marathons, and cycling event. Strikingly,  archery is a quiet.  Triathlons are not quiet.  Marathons are not quiet.  Prior to these races there are loud bands, someone blasting over a PA system.  Friends and family are laughing, yelling, ringing bells, and blowing horns.  Archers are quiet. Archery spectators speak low and whisper.  I began to get nervous and there was no outlet.

My final score: 270.  I could not get away from that range fast enough.  I’d been smacked hard. There was a lot to learn. I was quiet.