Crossing more states off
I flew into Omaha, which meant two new states for me (Nebraska AND South Dakota), but it also meant a 2.5 hour drive up to the shoot. I made it there by mid afternoon, so I headed straight for the practice range to make sure my sight marks were good. My sight tape definitely had some issues, but I was able to make notes on where to put my sight for each of the three distances; 40 yards, 50 yards and 60 yards. I was least concerned with 40 because we would get two practice ends at 40 before the tournament started. The other two, however, I would have to make sure I got right for my first arrow at that distance bc it would count for score.
It was a beautiful day in Yankton, mid 70s and full sun, so most people were taking advantage of the outdoors when they were done practicing (fishing on the river, etc). I was up and ready to go the next morning, shooting the 10am line. Overall, I felt good, and 40 went well. I didn’t have a huge amount of Xs, but I cleaned 40 giving me the top women’s score after one distance. We then moved to 50, and I began to struggle.
The first arrow at 50 was a great shot, but hit the 9 ring, so I quickly made adjustments to my sight, knowing it had to be off. I was able to finish that end with all 10s, however, I was now tied for the women’s lead. The rest of 50 went “ok,” but my groups were not very tight and I seemed to have at least one arrow in the 9 ring each end, costing me big time.
We then moved back to 60 where I shot my first shot, but I couldn’t see where it hit with my binoculars. This was extremely frustrating, as I had 4 more arrows to shoot and didn’t want to shoot them all grouped together, but not in the 10 ring! Luckily my sight had been good (unlike 50), so it didn’t end up being an issue. In fact, I ended up shooting better at 60 yards then I did at 50, using the same size target face! I was sitting in 2nd after the first day (girl in first had cleaned 50!), so I was happy since this was my first time shooting a tournament of this format (only other multi distance tournaments I’ve done started at the longest distance and worked way closer, changing size of target face along the way).
That afternoon, I got the opportunity to be part of a seminar for the kids. There was a panel of professional archers selected, and the kids were able to ask us any questions they had in an informal setting. I felt pretty honored that I was asked to participate, and I loved getting to see what questions they asked!
Typical of NFAA tournaments, on day 2, our bale assignments were based on our rank after day 1, meaning the top 4 women were all together on one bale. In addition, BowJunky had created a leaderboard that was placed right on the shooting line, instead of back in the spectator area. This is good and bad for a number of reasons. I personally don’t like to know scores and stuff as I’m shooting. Obviously, when you are in the finals at a big international tournament, you know immediately the score of each arrow you (and your opponent shoots), which I have no problem with, but this just felt different.
I had a pretty big lead on the two women tied for third going into this last day, but I knew anything could happen, so I tried to just focus on my own shooting. However, part way through I was walking back and noticed the leaderboard said I only had a 2 point lead on 3rd. Talk about an immediate freak out moment. I thought I knew I wasn’t shooting great (had dropped one at 40, but so had all the other women), but I didn’t think I’d completely handed away my lead. So then I spent the next few minutes as we waited for everyone to get back to the line, thinking about points and trying to calculate how I had lost so much.
Obviously, I shouldn’t have let this get in my head or even think about it bc the score I already have doesn’t matter, all I can do is focus on shooting good shots moving forward. As it turned out, the leaderboard was off (pretty significantly for the women), so I still had a 6 point lead (not 2!). I had a rough time at 50 again the second day (though slightly worse than the first), and I once again shot better at 60 (though not nearly as much as on day 1). I even was lucky enough to have one of the women agree to spot my arrows for me while I was shooting at 60, so I could made adjustments on the fly. Thank goodness, as this made all the difference in the world for me!
In the end I finished in 2nd, which I was happy with, but I was definitely confused as to why 50 gave me such fits. The only explanation I can come up with is that bc we used the same size target at each distance, my sight picture changes with each distance change. I use a ring and a dot, unlike many archers, with my focus trying to look “through” the ring. I think the ring probably matched up perfectly with the yellow ring of the target at 40 and the red at 60, but at 50 was probably somewhere between, giving me more float than usual. This would increase my group size and therefore my scoring.
Overall, I enjoyed getting to shoot a different format than usual. I definitely learned some things and would do a couple things different for next year (#1: find binos I can use at 60 yards!).