This was her first outdoor tournament. Our trip planning over estimated the amount of time we needed to arrive at the facility, so we got to Memorial Park in Colorado Springs with plenty of time. This park is huge. The scale of the map will mislead you. Outside of the velodrome is a green field large enough for several full size soccer fields. That was the home for archery.
The range was set up for 40 bales or lanes. Depending on the groupings, two to four shooters would be on each lane. It was her first time shooting on grass – every where else we have shot has not been a manicured lawn. Our friend, Sean, told us a canopy was the norm. I’m glad he let us in on that secret. We had a canopy and the extra time we had from arriving early was put to use by staking out some ground in front of the 30 yard bales.
Slowly, the field filled in with more and more canopies. Some elaborate and larger than 12×12, but most were 10×10 and cooperated with each other. Thus began the Rocky Mountain State Games. I wasn’t sure if they rotated through the lanes, moved the lanes, or moved the targets. We had been practicing a lot for 30 yards, but I wasn’t sure what those other distances were. There’s a first time for everything. This outdoor tournament certainly had a lot more categories than an indoor JOAD tournament which has only three styles and five age groups (more here on JOAD). For NFAA, there are seven age groups and ten shooting styles. This is confusing. If you want to see the class system, check out this document.
We got started and it was going to be 30 arrows at 30 yards, then 20 yards, then 10 yards. The summer sun started slowly, but was in full blaze by 10:00 AM and there would be a lot more shooting. At this tournament, they moved the targets towards the shooting line. She was going to have two official rounds of warm up at 30 yards, but none at the shorter distances. We had documented her sight and had her settings for 30, 20, and 10 yards. She was off and running.
Some of her archery friends were here and that put a smile on her face. She was shooting well. The first thing I noticed is that through the first 20 arrows or so, everything was on the bale. That’s not exactly how practice at Bear Creek Lake ends up. She was really shooting well. I didn’t bring my binoculars and it was hard to see the arrows with four young ladies shooting at the same bale. This was also her first time shooting on the 122 cm target.
Because of the strange number of shooting styles, it was never clear to me how many girls were direct competitors and I couldn’t tell by looking at their bows. After the switch to 20 yards, it felt a lot easier to her. She shot a 250/300 for that section. Then the target moved to 10 yards. This was sort of comical. Everyone was shooting well. I know at least one robin hood happened a lane over. So many arrows converging for the yellow space.
I knew she was doing better than the girls around her. Her scorecard told the tale. She did all of the hard work at 30 yards and her scores from the 20 and 10 yard rounds just kept pushing her forward. Very consistent across the 90 arrows. The value of her practice time was showing. In the end, she won easily by more than 140 points. Her averages were 7 points per arrow at 30 yards, 8.3 points per arrow at 20 yards, and 9.4 points per arrow at 10 yards. Across the day, she also shot 9 Xs.
She was smiling, proud, way too much sun, and worn out at the end.