My first year in Vegas was by far my best. I not only took 2nd in the Women’s Championship class, I shot my first 300 (in practice or a tournament), and I finished 2nd in the World Cup Finals. The next two years in Vegas I tried things that didn’t work (shooting 27 size arrows) and was learning a new bow, so I didn’t perform at a level I would have liked. This year, I felt like it was a whole new chance to start over and reclaim Vegas as a positive tournament for me.
I definitely learned some things about competing with a recurve at Lancaster, so I was looking forward to using what I’d learned, testing out some form changes under pressure, and getting a chance to finally work with my coach in person. Even more exciting was the fact that my husband was actually coming with me to a tournament!
I spent a lot of time in the practice range during official practice. I shot with R and a friend at first, and then I came back later to shoot with my coach. Overall, it was very productive and I felt pretty good heading into the next three days of scoring. Unfortunately, I got stuck shooting my LEAST favorite line times (3pm and 12:30). I was definitely kicking myself for not shooting championship when I saw they got my favorite line times of 9:30 and 7am. I wanted to make sure I was fresh for my shooting, even though it was only 30 arrows, so I made the decision not to do SPTs each morning. I’m now paying for that, but I think it’s important to be 100% rested coming into a tournament of importance.
After watching one of my students shoot, we decided to take a tour of the Hoover Dam to kill some time before it was time for our line. Day 1 I was happy with how I shot. Overall, I felt like my rhythm was pretty consistent, and I was able to execute good shots (Minus one arrow!). I did have one arrow that got away from me. It was a 5, and I knew instantly it was not good. Thank goodness I was shooting with a single spot! I had a great X count (7), but I hadn’t reached my goal of holding 8 ring or better with that 5. I didn’t let it affect me though, as it wasn’t a surprise that it was there, so that one shot didn’t ruin my round. R had shot 1 point better than me, but I had 6 more Xs, so I tried to tell him Lancaster scoring I kicked your butt. He didn’t buy that, so the battle was on for day 2.
The second day, my shots didn’t feel as good. I was grouping very well, however, it wasn’t in the middle. I kept moving my sight, yet I kept hitting high right 9s. Around the middle of scoring I went to crank my sight yet again, and I realized I was out of right clicks. Whoops!
Lesson Learned: Always make sure your sight is centered before starting scoring.
At this point, I just focused on trying to make good shots and not caring where they landed. I did try to “aim off” a little on one shot, but that resulted in a left 8, so I quickly decided that wasn’t the best course of action. In the end I finished with the exact same score as the day before 274. I was pleasantly surprised, as I felt like I had shot much better the day before. I also knew there was plenty of room for improvement with my great group in the 9 ring! More importantly, though, I achieved one of my goals, I finally held 8 ring in a tournament. R shot the EXACT same score as me (though with more Xs), so I knew day 3 was going to be a battle for our household.
That evening was the World Cup Finals. This was definitely the toughest part of Vegas for me. Since starting in the sport, I’ve qualified for indoor World Cup Finals every year. This was the FIRST one I wouldn’t be participating in. I was excited to watch my friends shoot, and it was great to see some have such a great showing, but this was the first time since making my switch that I really struggled because I really wanted to be there shooting. I have a feeling this won’t be the last time I have these feelings, especially with a World Cup in the US this year, but I still don’t regret my decision (even if that doesn’t make moments like this any easier).
As it turned out, R and I both ended up near the top of the 2nd flight, he was 4th and I was 5th. Lucky for us, that meant we were on separate bails, as us shooting together has never gone over well. He started out lights out, while I spent the first 4 ends trying to get my group in the middle. After adjusting my sight in the practice range early, I now had a centered sight, but I kept grouping my 3 arrows right. One of the biggest things I’ve struggled with going from compound to recurve is how much more I have to move my sight. In compound, 3 clicks might have moved me to the center, while with recurve I am doing 3 spins of the dial plus some. In a tournament setting it’s been very hard to reprogram my brain that, no this isn’t too many clicks to move it, I won’t shoot out left. I think 3 out of my first 4 ends, I had all three arrows touching, they just weren’t in the 10 ring.
I was a little frustrated, but I tried to remind myself that what matters right now is 1)that I am learning and 2)that I was grouping well. Eventually I found the middle with my sight, and then I felt like I was shooting pretty well. However, going into the final end I realized I had a 150, meaning if I shot a 30 on my last end, I could get my 180 (another goal for this indoor season). I shot a 10 my first arrow, then I held a little too long on the next, causing a low 9 (I thought from the shooting line it was an 8!). I then knew I couldn’t reach my goal, but I still wanted a PB. I drew back and for the first time in I don’t remember how long, I got nervous and started to shake. I tried to just focus on executing a strong shot, but I dropped my bow arm right as the clicker was going off…this time it really was an 8.
Overall, I was still happy to PB with a 277, but I was disappointed bc I knew it could have been better. I was also bummed to lose to my husband, but I couldn’t be too upset bc he shot awesome and shot a PB himself. Going into the last end he was winning our flight, but he struggled on the last end (26!), dropping him down into 2nd. However, his second place and my 5th place meant we both made some money (enough to pay for my new boots!).
We then watched all the pro shoot offs, including Mike win his second Vegas title, and then it was time to get ready for the World Archery Awards Gala. We made it just in time for the start, where we got to listen to Matt Stutzman (The Armless Archer) do a great job MCing the event. I did not walk away with athlete of the year, but as I said on my fb page, the most deserving athlete definitely won the award, so I can’t be upset. Just the fact that I was nominated both years I competed on the US World Cup team is an honor…just wish I didn’t have to wear a dress 😉
Due to poor weather at home, we decided to stay an extra day, so Monday we drove around The Valley of the Fire and visited ATM, home of the show Tanked. All in all, Vegas was a very positive experience for me, now it’s time to get ready for indoor nationals and then 70M!