A friend and coach tried talking me into signing up for the Arizona Cup. He nearly succeeded. Just prior to clicking ‘Enter’ on the Arizona Cup web page I paused and considered the total expense. The total estimated out-of-pocket expenses weren’t minimal. I withheld the click.
I did register for the Gator Cup. Newberry, Florida, where the tournament is held, is an easy 5-hour drive taking back roads or a white-knuckle race down I-75 to save 40 minutes of driving. That time save using I-75 is optimistic. Typically, road construction, a wreck, or both will eat into the I-75 time. Either way the Gator Cup is going to run me nearly $720.00 total.
The Gator Cup is in May as are the Georgia Cup and the Georgia Target Championship. The latter two competitions are within driving distance of home. Combined entry fees for the Georgia events will run under $200.00. Total for the three events in May will be around $920.00.
For that amount of money I could run 36 local 5Ks. Or 5 cycling time trials and 31 5ks.
I love to compete with the exception of archery. I hate archery tournaments. They are slow and tedious. To be fair, in 2022 it feels as if they have gotten much better. Compared to USA Track and Field, USA Cycling, USA Triathlon or Ironman events USA Archery events generally suck.
The saying ‘you get what you pay off ‘, aside from dumb (If you pay for something, you get it), suggests that high dollar equates to high value. Mostly that can be true – as a generality. You pay cheap you get cheap, you pay more you get more, or so we believe. Registration fees for sport often miss the mark of high cost for quality.
My friend, the coach mentioned in the opening paragraph tried to talk me into a State Championship 3D event. It required shooting two times (multiple ranges) at 15 targets get time. The fee was $35.00. Seems fair – except that comes to 7 to 8 hours total of extremely slow shooting ( of 30 arrows or $1.17 per shot). I got ready for it then paused. I decided to keep the money.
The price to compete has gotten high. I’m not alone in feeling the pinch. (1) It isn’t just archery that is sticking it to athletes.
Once I enjoyed running marathons. I wouldn’t consider one today. It isn’t because I don’t have a desire to train and run another marathon. It is that I wouldn’t pay the registration fee.
Since my last marathon the cost to run a marathon, on average has increased by 35% to $112.00. The cost of a ½ marathon has nearly doubled to $94.00 to run 13.1 miles (that means paying $7.17 per mile). (2) Even the low cost 5K isn’t really a bargain at $25.00 or $9.07 per mile. (3)
Ironman events are high dollar at an average in the US of $777.00 per event. (4) ($5.53 per mile) The registration fee is just a starting point. Other fees and processing costs are going to jack that up. (4)
Triathlon is a very expensive sport. A high-end bicycle is easily $13,000 to $17,250 dollars. (5,6) You’ll want to add a rear disc wheel for another $3000.00 (7) A good front wheel is just $920.00 (8) For $21,170 you can be set with a race worthy bike.
A decent wetsuit can cost another $600.00, goggles $30.00, running shoes $150.00 and a kit to wear $200.00. (9) The gear alone for a triathlon can cost over $22,000 dollars. Once you’ve paid for all that gear you’ll be forking out dough for the triathlon.
Archery is less expensive but it isn’t cheap. I tried to make do with inexpensive gear. That experiment ended up costing me. I broke one riser and warped three sets of low-end limbs. Sadly, the limb issue developed days before two separate pricey tournaments. (I’m now shooting mid-range limbs)
As I prepared to enter the next tournament I was surprised to learn the cost – $80.00.
One of our State organizations has announced it will be increasing their registration fee in order to provide a better pay out and have better awards.
I won the last event held by that group in the recurve class and got a belt buckle and a trophy that goes to the highest score of the male recurve archer. (It rotates to the winner each year.) The trophy was bought years ago by a member, not paid for by the organization. I didn’t see any cash.
If I’m paying $80.00 to compete then I want the event to run fast and smooth. I tell you I am tired of waiting while children who can’t add scores mill about the target in an arithmetic panic. Parents may think it is wonderful their little ones are learning a sport. They’re not my kids. I don’t want to wait on your kids to solve their math problems. It isn’t cute.
If those parents, on their cell phones waiting for their children to finish playing, can’t find some help for those children then make those kids’ parents pay $80.00 per child to enter. Then, set a seven-minute limit on scoring. If the kid can’t score after 7 minutes they are out and the parents don’t get a refund. That will speed things up.
Or put some volunteers on the range who can add to help the kids. An archery tournament is not the place for children to get a math lesson.
Rest assured if you compete in an Ironman you will not be waiting on an 8 year old to get out of your way.
Since the price of all events are increasing then show me the value. When organization increases their enter fees they need to ask themselves, “Who cares and whose life does it make better.” If those answers are “the organizers and organizers” they have it wrong.