Pitt County Wildlife Club’s March 3D Tournament

Sunday, March 15th, was another wonderful day spent shooting outside. The Pitt County Wildlife Club held a 3-D Tournament on their range near Farmville, NC. The course was well manicured and the targets were a challenge. During this adventure, while warming up, I was invited to shoot with a father and son team.

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Pitt County Wildlife Club

Phillip, the father, is a seasoned archer who has competed on the ASA Pro-Am Tour. He says, “Having a family and work made him too busy to compete” and now he shoots for fun. He also coaches his son, Hunter, a 13-year-old, who aside from archery is active in football and baseball. Phillip has two other children, daughters, both in college on academic and athlete scholarships. Hunter, tall for 13, could have a promising future in sports.

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Phillip and Hunter

At the first two stakes there was a mob of archers. It was clear the horde was going to be slow so we decided to jump ahead to stake 3. From there forward it was smooth sailing. We’d pick up targets 1 and 2 on the return trip.

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The Tar River

The 3D range ran parallel with Tar River, which presented spectacular scenery. Before long we added a fourth to our group, Lena a traditional archer from Poland. She shot with us until regrouping with another traditional archer and his family.

Our team of three wasted no time on the range. Although we’d had a late start we completed the 20 targets in less than 2 hours. Throughout the event I was entertained listening to Hunter. He’s huge for 13 but the conversation remained that of a youngster. His optimistic anticipation of, “I hope that they have that polar bear again, they had one last year,” was amusing. And when a foam turkey was position with its head looking away from the stake he couldn’t help but state, “Look, we have to shoot that turkey in the butt!” “Have you ever seen a turkey you have to shoot in the butt?” It was the ‘butt-shot’ that any 13-year-old boy would find humorous no matter his physical size. (Actually, 60-year boys find it funny, too.)

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Farm land on the drive home

I  enjoyed shooting with Phillip and Hunter. Phillip, a friendly guy, seems like a great dad and Hunter is a respectful and courteous young man. I’ve always thought you can measure the results of parenting through the actions of children. While not trying to be judgmental, I’d say Phillip is doing an excellent job.

It was another memorable competition. The range is located in a beautiful spot of eastern North Carolina. Like many other clubs where I’ve competed I’ll look forward to another trip to the Pitt County Wildlife Club.

A Good Start and a Lucky Finish

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Morning of march 7th

Saturday March 7th started off good. The sunrise was magnificent and the weather, which had been cold and rainy, was making a turn for the better. My plan for the day was to drive the Roanoke Archers’ range in Plymouth, NC and take aim at qualifying for the North Carolina ASA State Championship.

Last year, the 3D tournaments that I’d focused on were IBO. IBO contests are hard to find here in NC. ASA is new to me.   Only recently had I sent my membership application and fee to the ASA Headquarters in Kennesaw, GA. They returned to me an ASA number on March 6th. While waiting for that to occur I tried to figure out the ASA rules and divisions.

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Holly Neck Church of Christ Established in 1882. This is one of many country church I pass as I drive in rural NC.

The general rules weren’t difficult to understand. The divisions were less clear. For example, their senior hunter division includes the 50 – 59 ages. The equipment for that group, aside from a bow, is a short stabilizer and fixed pins – got it. There is a division above the senior hunter, the super senior for those archers over 60. By age, I fit into the super senior division.

Because the senior hunter group shot with a hunting set-up I considered shooting there. But, chronologically I fall into the super senior group. I thought I should shoot in that division. I may have chosen wrong.

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There’s a bear 36 yards away from Patrick as he views his target.

I didn’t know the super senior equipment regulations. Was this a hunter class or an open style class? I gambled and left for the tournament with my hunter class rig. I learned, too late, I should have grabbed my other bow; the one with a few more shot refining attachments.

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Even if I’d not been shooting, this would have been a nice hike through the woods

The frustration of having what might be considered a slight competitive disadvantage no doubt weighted on me. I also doubt whether those refining attachments would have been much help. One thing was certain, I couldn’t judge yardage on Saturday March 7th.

On a positive note, the course, like so many others, was excellent. I shot with three folks I hadn’t met, Leon, Patrick and Chris and they all gave me a polite lessons in humility. Despite my rough shooting a bit of luck was with me and I qualified for the ASA State Championship. So a day that started good finished on a high note.

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One of the last targets, a low down gator

 

March Edition of the Buckeyes 3D in Social Circle

It has been raining a lot here in Georgia. I half expected the Buckeyes 3D archery tournament in Social Circle to be canceled. Having no way to verify the shoot I made the 80-mile trip in hopes the rain would break. Their course is always a challenge and it would have been a shame to not compete in this last of four events over the past 8 days.

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Early registration
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Gretchen dressed to stay warm in the wet 36 degree weather

When I arrived at the range and turned my car off the rain stopped. There weren’t too many archers practicing or at registration. My friends David Alligood and Gretchen Pruett were working the desk. Both wore heavy coats and welcoming smiles.

A few competitors were signing in when David asked me, “Do you have anyone to shoot with?” I didn’t and Hunter, who was checking it, invited me to join their group of three.

That matter out of the way I headed to the warm up range. I shot six arrows hitting my mark twice each at 20, 30 and 40 yards. I thought I was ready, I was wrong.

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Feeling confident at 40 yards

On the first shot in woods I missed the target. My judgment of yardage was off more than usual today.  Throughout the shoot my rights and lefts were fine, my ups and downs were today’s weak points. Sadly, there isn’t much that can be done to offset a miss.

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Careful examination will reveal a mountain lion in the distance

In our group was a youngster that Hunter was instructing. The little guy was a good shot. He also appreciated splashing in puddles and digging his rubber boots in the plentiful red clay mud holes. Although Hunter made attempts to avail the nipper of proper range etiquette, the puddles and mud were too tempting. Employing forced discipline I remained separate from the obvious pleasure of squishing muck.

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With Hunter’s back turned, mud mischief was underway

Coming off the course my score wasn’t as horrible as I’d supposed but certainly below my average. I’ll need to wait to learn how I faired overall. Unlike the few archers that had gathered earlier the range was now filled with shooters. These late arrivals will certainly knock me down in the standings.

After packing my gear I said my goodbyes. This is a very nice group of athletes here in Social Circle. Their course is particularly challenging and a great place to train or compete. I’ll look forward to my next tournament at the Buckeyes. Driving away, the rain renewed its drenching of Georgia.

Horse Collars

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One of my practice targets here in Georgia

This year, at least for the first eight months, my competitive events range the east coast from Florida to New York. Traveling I frequently visit wonderful places. Yesterday, I stopped in Carlton, GA. and Comer, GA adding two more scenic side trips to this tournament expedition.

Because I am primarily here to shoot, on non-competitive days I practice in the morning and afternoon. Wednesday is typically my longest practice and I’ll shoot for hours during the two sessions. Thursday I begin tapering for the weekend’s competition. After the morning practice on Thursday, Brenda, Ray, her father, and I took an excursion further into northeast Georgia.

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Jimmy, Owner at “Neat Pieces” Antiques in Carlton, GA

In Carlton there is an antique shop, “Neat Pieces”  Brenda had wanted to visit. There we spent an hour or so digging and found a few treasures. She collected a several old bottles and I bought two vintage horse collars. The leather horse collars were gray with dirt and filth. Later, a few hours of cleaning and polishing would have them looking fairly decent.

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Vintage horse collars (after cleaning and polishing)

Leaving Carlton, we loaded our treasures and drove to the covered bridge at Watson Mill in Comer. It has been raining a lot here, so the river was up. The covered bridge was built 130 years ago and later restored in 1973.   Standing near the river, I wished I had one of my kayaks with me.

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Watson Mill Bridge

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Traveling around the US and competing in sports is a great way to earn one’s living.  It gives me time to meet more people and make friends. It also allows me to find adventure and enjoy America.

 

Sitting Good in the South Eastern Region

Unofficial results from this weekend’s USA Archery National Indoor Championship has me 1st for the South Eastern Region in my division. This is a big tournament lasting over several weekends. Final scores won’t be available for weeks. For now, it’s probably best to forget about it and focus on next week.

The weather prediction for the upcoming 3D event is for rain. The day before is a running race. Weather prediction – rain.

USA National Indoor Championships – Day 2

The Snellville version of the USA National Indoor Championship has completed here in Georgia. It will be at least a month before all the results have been tallied according to one of the officials. Still, the contest was a great kickoff to another trip to Georgia.

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During big tournaments I often forget to take photographs, today a good example, I took one photograph. To bad because there were some amazingly shot out centers on the 3-spots. Sadly, I shot enough nines to have left my centers nearly intact.

A number of shooters at Snellville I recognized from Archery TV but didn’t know their names. Again, I shot next to Roger Willet, Jr. who is a very pleasant man. It turns out we live in the same area,  which led a short fishing discussion.

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This has nothing to do with the tournament. Inserted for the sole purpose of creating fishing envy.

Now that this event is behind me I’ll be heading out to hunt over the next several days. I am hoping to get a few pigs and a coyote or two. Both species have become serious pests in our neck of the woods. When I am not hunting, I’ll be practicing for next week’s tournament in Social Circle, a 3D shoot, and training for next Saturday’s race in Winder, Ga.

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USA Archery National Indoor Championships – Day 1

 

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I missed the bakery

Day one of this tournament is in the books. The drive to the event was a little longer than planned. The number of athletes competing was a bit of a surprise. I’d guess recurve bows outnumbered compound bows. And, it was nice to run into archers I’d shot against in the past and knew well enough to call them by name.

The tournament is being held in Snellville, GA. (and on other ranges across the US) From our place in Tignall it is about a two-hour drive, although my online search for directions said it was an hour and forty-one minutes. I’ll leave earlier for the second day of shooting.

Because equipment must be checked by USA Archery Officials a little extra time is nice. I had only forty-five minutes for check-in, get my equipment checked, and shoot a few arrows to warm-up.

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Archers warming up

There were two ranges in use and I was glad to be shooting on the smaller range. Shooting on target 17D I was next to Roger Willet, Jr. shooting at 17C. Willet has been ranked number one in the world. He did, not surprisingly, shoot better than me. I expect he out shot everyone.

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If you wanted to spend money this was the place to do it

I  ran into a couple of friends from Alabama I’d met earlier in the year at another tournament and talked with John from Eatonton, GA. Knowing other people does help reduce the tension. It was nice to exchange pleasantries and catch up on their recent events.

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Folks sharing stories after the final end

My shooting was a little above par for the day and I was pleased with my final score. Not my best, but not my worst. Tomorrow I’ll make a slight adjustment and see how the day pans out.

The Price to Play

During the past several months I have done zero triathlons. I still train for my next triathlon but haven’t decided in which race to compete. What has occurred to me is that I am getting my competitive fix through archery and archery is a lot less expensive.

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Start of a 2.4 mile swim

When I write that archery is a lot less expensive than triathlons that isn’t an exaggeration. For example a top end bow, top stabilizers, best scope/sight, high-end arrow rest might cost $2500 – $3000 for everything (except arrows). That is essentially the price of a nice set of racing wheels for a triathlete’s bicycle. Seriously, a nice HED tri-spoke front wheel can cost $1694.00 and a HED Disk rear wheel is around $1849.00. That is $3543.00 for wheels. Add an $8000.00 bike and the ride can cost $11,543.00. (When I raced bicycles in the 1970’s, my bike did cost more than my car!)

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There are less expensive bikes and wheels. A budget minded triathlete could get set-up to ride for around $2000.00. However, that is going to be a bike, which is a far cry from the top end racing models. An archer can get a lot of equipment for $11,543.00. And the bicycle price doesn’t include: wet suit, goggles, running shoes, cycling shoes, helmet and all the other bits and pieces needed to complete an Ironman. Next, there is the cost of an Ironman registration. The Lake Placid Ironman’s (one of my favorite events) entry fee is $750.00, if you are lucky enough to win a chance to pay the fee.

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The way Ironman registration works begins with the limited size of the field that can compete in an Ironman, between 1400 and 2300 athletes per event. The way registration is awarded is first come first serve. Once, the quota is reached there are a few spots for community charities (price is over $1000 for one of these) then that’s it. For the record, my fee for the USA Indoor National Archery Championships was $75.00 – expensive as go archery tournaments. Less expensive triathlons are available. A sprint triathlon can be as inexpensive as $120.00 and a ½ Ironman is ‘just’ $325.00. * Less expensive archery tournaments are also available; the last 3D tournament I competed in cost me $12.00 (I got the senior price, regular fee was $20.00).

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Testing oneself in athletic competition is exciting for a lot of people. Doing an Ironman, running a marathon, or completing an Ultra-distance event is a challenge to which many people aspire. Shorter distances are just as much fun and lots of athletes concentrate on speed making short distances their specialty.

Personally, it is the training and competition I enjoy most. I can still train by swimming, riding, and running. I believe those disciplines help with archery. But, the price to play in archery is truly a bargain and gives me my competitive fix.

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*A full Ironman distance (140.6 miles) is 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2 mile run. A half Ironman is a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, and 13.1 mile run (70.3 miles).

 

Downeast Archery Coalition’s 2015 3D Season Opener

The Downeast Archery Coalition’s 2015 3D schedule opened on February 7th with a tournament held by the Beaufort County Archery Club in Washington, NC. From my home in New Hope, near Hertford, North Carolina, the drive to the Washington competition was just under two hours. I made the scenic drive along the east coast of North Carolina to the tournament was pleased I did.

imagesDespite being a magnet for hurricanes, the northeast corner of the Tar Heel State is a beautiful place to live. Along the drive to Washington from New Hope I’d crossed the Chowan River, viewed the Albemarle Sound, passed farmland, and went over the Pamilico River. The forested Beaufort County Archery Club’s 3D range was nearly as impressive.

When I arrived the first thing I did was to park in a restricted area. It looked like a good spot for my 2006 Ford f-150. Before I’d opened the door a marshal was shooing me away.

I get to compete on a lot of courses all over the US. This means I don’t know the local rules. What I do know is that there is always someone to offer instruction and for the most part politely corrects my faux pas. This parking blunder was not an exception. Finally making it to the correct parking area, about 30 yards away, I had two initial objectives: sign in and find and port-a-potty. (Not necessarily in that order).

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The registration area was becoming crowded as other archers arrived. Following payment I worked my way over to the warm-up range. Aside from warming up, I use this area to try finding a group of two or three shooters willing to accept another. My first attempt failed but the second try worked out. The archers I ended up with consisted of a local teacher of agriculture and two of his students.

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The one low shot was worth pausing for the photo.

The three weren’t very experienced with 3D and we spend a lot of time looking for arrows. One of them lost all of his arrows. When we existed the course the club president asked if I thought the course was too easy, just right, or too hard I said, “It seemed like a fair course.” When all the scores were released I reviewed them. That review suggested the course may have been tougher than I’d originally judged.

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Miss this pig and the arrow ends up in water

Overall, I wasn’t crushed and finished the day with a 3rd place and all of the arrows in my quiver with which I’d entered the maze of foam animal. I’ll look forward to tackling this challenging course again.

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Taking aim on one of the final targets of the day. (Photo by Will Preslar)