I had two weekends at home between major competitions, but since I’m a gluten for punishment I decided to shoot some 3d tournaments instead of taking the weekends off. I had fun, busted a couple arrows, and qualified for IBO Worlds in August.
This past weekend was the shoot I hear everyone looking forward to each year, Redding. I was excited, but extremely nervous, having never shot anything like this before, not even a regular field shoot. I spent weeks making sure my sight tape was accurate, and because I have a short bar on my sight, I spent time figuring out where to aim on the 101 yard bigfoot shot. My nerves were somewhat calmed knowing I would have practice day to check everything (changes in altitude can affect your sight tape), and get 100% dialed for the real tournament.
Of course my wonderful luck would not have it that way. Anyone who keeps up with the archery community online, probably saw that my luggage decided not to arrive with me Wednesday evening at the airport. I didn’t freak out, fulling expecting it to arrive on a later flight that evening or first thing in the morning.
After calling the airline before leaving, it was time to head to Redding with or without my bow. We made good time and got there around 9:30. I spent time calling the airlines (or trying to since service was terrible at the event) and wandering around looking for someone with equipment I could borrow if need be. I was proud of myself and didn’t get upset or throw a fit, but just continued to hold up hope that my bow would arrive (and some clean clothes!). It was pretty depressing, however, to be at the course and not have a bow in hand. I felt left out and wishing I had just gone home.
I left the field in the afternoon to get better service and spent a couple hours on the phone trying to make sense of conflicting information I had been given. In the end, I was told my bow was being FedExed from the San Francisco airport and would arrive the next afternoon. Scoring began at 8am, so this was not going to work if I was going to compete. I then went on super drive to locate a bow to shoot. I was offered literally every piece of equipment you can imagine (including binoculars), but finding a bow in my size was proving to be more difficult. I had tons of people offering ones that were too long, posting requests on social media, and generally I felt blessed to be part of such a community.
I was finally able to locate a bow that would work, not ideal, but would work early evening. That didn’t leave me much time to get sight marks, so I ended up part of a group of individuals creating sight tapes by car light. I got a workable tape and knew I needed some dinner, so I could head to bed. However, I decided I should try contacting the airlines one last time. Fortunately or unfortunately, on this call I discovered by bow had not yet been shipped, and the earliest it would now arrive was Saturday evening into Sunday morning.
At this point I lost it. I was no longer friendly with the workers and demanded some answers, as well as my bow. After back and forth phone calls until about 4:30am (sorry to my roommate Dawn who I know I kept up!), I was able to find a man willing to deliver my bow to me by 7am for $300.
I literally got my bow in enough time to throw it together and run over to the shoot. I had no way of knowing if the sight tape I had built at home was still accurate, I was just thankful to have MY bow in my hands! We had a pretty tough target, especially with the sun blazing right in our eyes. I was told our first day would be the toughest and it proved to be a rough day, as my sight tape was causing me to consistently shoot low. Having never done a shoot like this, I didn’t compensate soon enough and lost a lot of points early.
Highlight of the day was definitely Big Foot. My group was primarily men, and as we walked up to the line they were grumbling about hoping for a 21 (22 is perfect for each target). I looked at them and said, “I don’t know about you guys, but I’m going to 22 this.” They kind of laughed and rolled their eyes at me, but once we got down to the target, their tune changed as they realized I was one of the only people to 22 it!
We were on the course until 5pm (last ones out there after 4 equipment failures in our group), but I knew I needed to get to the practice range to fix my sight tape before doing anything else. It ended up I needed to move my indicator pin almost exactly 2.5 yards, but once I did that I was good to go.
After heading to bed early, I woke up ready to have a better day on the range. I was feeling confident in my equipment and knew all I had to do was make good shots. Unfortunately, I struggled and actually shot worse day 2 then day 1, which left me feeling pretty upset. Everyone in my group had agreed I was shooting better than the first day, unfortunately, I had A LOT of arrows that were JUST out of the orange, costing me dearly.
Going into day 3 I didn’t know what to expect. I knew it was supposed to be our easiest day target wise, but after a miserable showing on day 2, I was just hoping to finish. I had a slow start, 21ing 5 of the first 6 targets, but then I got things together and shot 14 straight 22s! I knew I was not going to be in the running for anything after my first two days, but it was reassuring to know that I was able to put things together finally on the last day.
In the end, I’m just glad that I was able to compete in the tournament, since it is a shooter of the year event (not shooting even one day would have taken me out of the running). I definitely learned some things, both in equipment setup and preparation for the tournament, and I can’t wait to go back again next year and show everyone what I really am capable of. One huge plus was my new Vortex binoculars worked great, so stay tuned for a full review on those!