Assuming the weather cooperates, I leave Wednesday afternoon for one of the biggest tournaments of the year, The Vegas Shoot. Not only does this tournament have over 2,000 registered archers, it has the highest payout of any shoot, acts as the fourth and final stage of the indoor World Cup circuit, AND hosts the World Cup finals on Saturday night. This will be my first year attending, so I am excited, yet nervous for such a big event.
Unlike the other World Cup events, this event has a slightly different scoring system for compound archers. Instead of the tiny 10 ring we usually shoot, at this tournament we get to shoot the recurve 10 ring and count our normal 10 ring as an X. This makes scores much closer and adds to the pressure of the event. In the men’s compound, for example, every person that scores a perfect 900 (3 rounds of 300s) will move on to the shoot off and compete for lots of money! This means in 3 days of scoring, men cannot drop a single point (miss a single “big” 10) if they want to make it to the finals, creating an intense pressure situation.
On the women’s side, there is a little more room for leeway. Last year a tie for 898 put two women head to head in the finals. I don’t normally score “vegas” style, so I decided to do the CT Open tournament this weekend to prepare myself. I entered the men’s money class, with the hopes of beating the state record of 450 with 36Xs.
When I got to the shoot, they tried to put me in the women’s money class, but I said no I want to shoot against the men. If I was going to prepare for Vegas, I wanted to make sure I could recreate the nerves of the event as much as possible. I knew at least one of the pro men from MA would also be shooting the tournament, so I’d have some tough competition.
Unfortunately, I didn’t pay as close attention to where my arrows were as I normally do when scoring little 10s. I was scoring perfect 30s, so I thought I was doing well and didn’t adjust my sight. Then I had an arrow that was just in or just out of the big 10 ring. It was so close, we ended up having to get a judge to call the arrow, and it ended up being out. I was really bummed bc there went my perfect 450 score, but it did open my eyes to see all my arrow holes were on the right half of the 10 ring…not one was left of the little 10 ring! I then got smart and moved my sight, and I cleaned the rest of the round to finish with a 449.
I was glad I did this tournament, as I now know I need to still think about the little 10s and where my arrows are hitting, instead of just getting comfortable with scoring perfect 30s. I was also happy because even with dropping 1 point, I still managed to win the division, as I had the highest X count and no one had shot clean (a perfect 450 round).
As I was handed my cash winnings, the guy said, “I guess you made a wise decision.” I just had to laugh knowing they no longer saw me as a pushover woman who couldn’t hang with the men. At this point my biggest concern is not my shooting, but whether my flight will make it to Vegas. I have to say the weather is hating all archers this year, with EVERY major storm we’ve had this winter, occurring at the same time as the biggest tournaments.