nfaa, Outdoor

Rocky Mountain State Games – 2017

We returned to the Rocky Mountain State Games. This year, we are one year wiser with a few more outdoor tournaments under our belt: less confusion about the tournament format, our canopy, the event duration, and generally what to expect during the shoot. For July, the weather was exceptionally accommodating. Lots of clouds and a cooling breeze.

Memorial Park is a great facility – real grass and a lot of open space. The organizers ran out of bales and registration was capped. You can see more than 35 bales here and a new bubble roof over the velodrome. With the mountain backdrop, the venue offers up fantastic cloudscapes. The format was the same as last year: thirty arrows at thirty yards, thirty arrows at twenty yards, and thirty arrows at ten yards. This is the distance for her age band which is determined by her age the day of the shoot. This will change next year with longer distances for her age band.

As a tween, she’s starting to take responsibility for her gear; however, this is a decent road trip from our house and the early morning start had us both running around. She forgot her ball cap so she borrowed mine. A good lesson in getting ready the night before. Because there are so many shooting categories, the foursome on this bale included the recurve young ladies and some compound young men. Of course, as the distances got closer, the groupings around yellow got crowded.

Without being able to check the scorecards for all the nearby shooters, it’s hard to know the specific category of each participant on the line.  I wasn’t really sure who she was shooting against.  She found her own cadence and for the most part ran by her self for the whole shoot.  For reasons I don’t understand, there is mixed support for the State Games from the JOAD coaches.  Maybe it’s a conflict with other shooting events, maybe it’s not focused on the youth as much.  As such, I can only provide a little commentary on her shot sequence and mostly encourage her to slow down, mimicking her real coach.

There’s no practice ends for when the targets move closer.  As such, it was good we had cataloged her site settings during our last long session at the practice range.  It’s also great that the event speeds up as the distances shrink.  I think the longest distance clocked nearly two hours for thirty arrows.

At the end of the day, compared to last year:

  • Distance 30: slightly better (218 compared to 210)
  • Distance 20: better (267 compared to 250)
  • Distance 10: same score as last year (282 compared to 282)

She won her second gold medal at the Rocky Mountain State Games

Gear, nfaa, Outdoor, shot sequence

Returning to the Range

A month ago, the younger one had withdrawn from the shoot.  We returned to practice this weekend at our outdoor range.  She proclaimed she was so excited to be able to shoot again.  And overall it went really well.  She was appropriately distracted by various bugs and a fearless little bird she named “Tinee”, but she completed more ends than I expected.  We were out there for almost four hours because the older one was getting ready for her second state games.

We worked on form, as every archer does during every practice, or at least that is what every practice has been for these kiddos.  Maybe Mackenzie Brown gets to do something else with her practice time at this point.

Understandably, her form was a little rough.  I decided to use Hudl Technique with her.  I was hoping to slow things down so I could see it.  I’ve used Hudl with the older one and I also wanted to make sure the younger one knew she was special too.

It was easy to see at 1/4 speed even if it is hard to see your iDevice with full sun.  I shared it with her and she felt like she could keep her bow arm extended and work on her draw arm elbow.

Meanwhile the older one was getting her site ready for 30-20-10 distances that the next tournament uses.  She was doing her sport and I didn’t have to pay too much attention other than recording her site positions.

Having a camera helps, but we also record them in her archery journal so that when we get to a tournament, we have backups.

She really likes this Shibuya site.  There are more expensive models, but this one works for her.  Since she started using it, we are both seeing more of them around, probably some sort of cognitive bias.   At Salt Lake, Steve Anderson spoke to the archers at breakfast.  Later, we saw he was shooting a Shibuya too.


There summer is winding down.  School starts again in a few weeks.  That means the outdoor season is winding down and the indoor season will be ramping up (with a lot of overlap).  I think the Byrds sing a song about this.

indoor, JOAD, nationals, nfaa, usa archery

Indoor Nationals and JOAD Nationals

Her coach thought it would be a good idea for her to shoot at the Indoor Nationals.  This isn’t a JOAD or USAT event.  Even this isn’t quite true – it’s two events – a JOAD National Shoot combined with a second event, the Indoor Nationals.   The Indoor Nationals are also known as the National Championships.  Why plural?  Because it is one event held in many locations on different dates.  Only slightly confused so far?

At the Indoor Nationals, these are the Divisions and Classes

  • Recurve – Men, Women, Master, Master 60+, Master 70+, Junior, Cadet, Cub, Bowman
  • Compound – Men, Women, Master, Master 60+, Master 70+, Junior, Cadet, Cub, Bowman
  • Barebow – Men, Women, Master 50-70, Junior, Cadet, Cub, Bowman
  • Para W1 – Men/Women combined *
  • Para Recurve Open – Men, Women *
  • Para Compound Open– Men, Women *
  • VI – Men/Women combined *
  • Longbow – Men, Women
  • Traditional Recurve – Men, Women
  • Crossbow – Men, Women
  • Compound Fingers – Master 50-70

*Para archers must have a National Classification to participate in a Para division.

With this many divisions, it makes me think the Indoor Nationals must share a past with the NFAA.  Indeed, if you search the internet, you can find that the Indoor Nationals are part of the NFAA; however, the NFAA site is stingy with information and I don’t know too much more.

This year, Indoor Nationals could be found at these locations.

  • Newberry, FL – February 17-19, 2017
  • Albuquerque, NM – February 17-19, 2017
  • Fiskdale, MA – February 24-26, 2017
  • Sacramento, CA – February 24 – 26, 2017
  • Snelville, GA – February 24 – 26, 2017
  • Mason, MI – February 24 – 26, 2017
  • Lancaster, PA – February 24 – 26, 2017
  • Mankato, MN – March 3 – 5, 2017
  • College Station, TX – March 3 – 5, 2017
  • Chula Vista, CA – March 3 – 5, 2017
  • Salt Lake City, UT – March 10 – 12, 2017
  • Harrisonburg, VA – March 10 – 12, 2017
  • Hamilton, OH – March 10 – 12, 2017

We chose Salt Lake City.  You can only shoot at Indoor Nationals in one event.  You can’t show up a few weeks later and hope to improve your score.  We also chose to fly.


Here’s the format for Indoor Nationals:

  • Recurve/Barebow Bow – Two rounds of 60 arrows each (120 total) at a 40 cm target face from 18 meters with outer ten-ring scoring.
  • Compound Bow – Two rounds of 60 arrows each (120 total) at a 40 cm target face from 18 meters with inner ten-ring scoring

The JOAD Nationals looks more familiar to USA Archery.

These are the divisions and classes for JOAD Nationals.

  • Recurve Men and Women – Junior, Cadet, Cub, Bowman
  • Compound Men and Women – Junior, Cadet, Cub, Bowman
  • Barebow Men and Women – Junior, Cadet, Cub, Bowman

The locations for JOAD Nationals are the same as Indoor Nationals since it is a combined event.

Here’s the format for JOAD Nationals:

  • Recurve/Barebow – One round of 60 arrows; 18 meters
    • Juniors and Cadets – 40 cm target face (choice of single-spot or triangle 3-spot face) from 18 meters – must use choice for entire tournament); outer 10 ring scoring
    • Cubs and Bowman – 60 cm target face; outer 10 ring scoring
  • Compound Bow – One round of 60 arrows; 18 meters
    • All Classes – 40 cm target face (choice of single-spot or triangle 3-spot face) from 18 meters – must use choice for entire tournament); inner 10 ring scoring

A skillful reader may have caught something.  This novice archery parent did not notice. Without spoiling too much, I’ll call it out here. The NFAA Indoor Nationals shoot on 40 cm targets for every shooter. JOAD Nationals uses the 60 cm target for her age group.

The Salt Lake City version of Indoor Nationals is held at the Easton Archery Center.  This place is probably the nicest archery facility we will see.


The indoor range can shoot an Olympic 70m distance when used in the vertical direction.  As a horizontal range, it can accommodate many archers shooting at 18m.

Many of her regional competitors were here.  For JOAD Nationals, she shot fairly well.  Since switching to her new bow, she has developed some bad habits with her shot sequence.  This is usually a continuous and brief motion through her anchor and a quick release.  I suspect she’s still working on mastering the poundage of the new draw weight; but, this style doesn’t leave a lot of room for fine tuning her shot.  On the JOAD National day, she was at the first bale, so I could catch some good photos of her.

She met some girls from Washington and Hawaii too.

On to the Indoor Nationals and the 40cm target for the next two days.  The target through her off and she did not shoot well at all on day one.  I think she was hovering around four points an arrow.  We tried to shake it off at the mid way point; but, it was definitely her all day albatross.

We took in some sights in Salt Lake City and got a really nice dinosaur bones skirt courtesy of Hot Topic.


The third day in Salt Lake and the second day of Indoor Nationals was better, but the combined scoring made it hard for her to make a big change.


She completed her first national tournament and that is a good accomplishment by itself.  We said goodbye to SLC and the Easton Archery Center



Archery-Terms, nfaa, References

Parsing USA Archery

Archery first appeared in the Olympic Games in 1900, was contested again in 1904, 1908 and 1920, then again, after an absence of 52 years, from 1972 to the present. In 1931, FITA (Fédération Internationale de Tir à l’Arc) was formed to get archery back in the olympics. In 2011, FITA decided to rename themselves World Archery Federation which is strangely abbreviated WA.

What I get from this bit of history is that archery wasn’t well organized for those 52 years. After all, it was clearly present and important in the 1908 Olympics. Unlike a sport like baseball, which from my understanding has one canonical implementation, archery has a problem of many disciplines fighting for a share of the attention. For example, there is not baseball on stilts, aquatic baseball, spring loaded bat baseball, and VR baseball. These things may exist, but they aren’t baseball in the common definition.

So any organization that wants to represent the interests of archery have really distinct constituents. It starts with equipment – namely the bow but also the arrow. There are long bows, bare bows, compound bows, cross bows, and recurve bows. There are wood arrows, aluminum arrows, carbon arrows, hybrid arrows, and probably more I don’t even know exist. In contrast, here is the Major League definition of the bat.

The bat shall be a smooth, round stick not more than 2.61 inches in diameter at the thickest part and not more than 42 inches in length. The bat shall be one piece of solid wood.

The equipment is just one way that archery diverges. What people choose to shoot an arrow at is another difference in archery – “paper” targets of all sizes and shapes and configurations, animals, 3D fake animals, fish, and movie screens with a virtual target archery. Probably the biggest division is around the word “animals”. This means that archery is also a hunting sport.

Like other sports, the international governing body wants to oversee various national governing bodies. In the USA, that governing body for a long time was called the NAA or National Archery Association. The NAA was founded in 1879. The NAA is different than the National Field Archery Association. The NFAA was found in 1931, probably over some split over the diversity of different forms of archery. Details are few. It is generally recognized that competitive archery in the USA is governed by the NFAA and the NAA. Also with few details, is the transformation of the NAA into USA Archery. I suspect it happened around 2007. Of course in 2007, we were already living in the mandatory age of websites. USA Archery decided to register themselves under (note that is not USA Archery or – although it looks like they bought the other domain too). This seemingly small detail seems to be in common with the strange FITA -> World Archery Federation or “WA” which continues archery’s identity problem.

So what is going on with USA Archery?

Here’s there mission statment:

The mission of USA Archery shall be to enable United States athletes to achieve sustained competitive excellence in Olympic, Pan American or Paralympic and World Championship competition and to promote and grow the sport of archery in the United States.

Importantly, the Olympic bureaucracy has recognized USA Archery as the governing body with the purpose of selecting and training men’s and women’s teams to represent the U.S. in Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and Pan American Games. USA Archery also selects teams for World Championships, World Cups and other international competitions annually. That makes USA Archery different than NFAA.

As the body that controls the Olympic team, USA Archery is not as interested in all of the types of archery. They have stayed away from anything to do with hunting. It looks like they are largely focused on target archery (not hunting) with a big emphasis on recurve archery. You can see that in the logo which is not all of the bow types, it is simply the recurve bow since that is the only current Olympic sport.


So what does USA Archery really do? Mostly it looks like they are trying to get their stuff together. Here’s an excerpt from the 2008 Annual Board Meeting Notes:

Chairman Corbin had previously requested the attendance of USA Archery Board members, all USAA personnel, and USOC representatives to hear his presentation on the status of USA Archery. It was his desire that everyone receive the same message as he felt the organization was at a critical crossroads. Mr. Corbin’s presentation lasted approximately an hour and some key excerpts are noted below in a condensed format. “USA Archery is a dysfunctional organization. There is no viable strategic plan, minimal external funding outside of USOC, no unity of purpose, poor communications, and a passionate resistance to change.” A leap of faith is necessary to establish a new paradigm for archery.

As that meeting progressed:

Belinda Foxworth led financial report with assistance from Gary Urie. Mr. Urie notes conclusion of Kathleen Frazier embezzlement case. In the general discussion of finances Mr. Urie mentions that the organization borrowed $40,000 from the Foundation to get through the year. The board advised Mr. Urie that the CEO does not have the authority to borrow money without board approval and expressed disappointment that it occurred.

And even more turmoil:

Brad Camp gives CEO report and responds to extensive board questions on a wide range of issues.

Chairman announces Mr. Camp’s resignation and Mr Parish’s termination. Mrs. Parker has agreed to serve, and was unanimously appointed by the board, as “Acting CEO.”

By 2012, USA Archery had received a gift from the movie franchise the Hunger Games. There were other media influences too like Disney’s Brave, the movies from the Chronicles of Narnia, and various archers in super hero franchises. All of this drove interest in archery.

By the end of 2015, USA Archery looks to have these jobs:

  • Spread interest in archery
  • Track archers
  • Develop athletes for the Olympics
  • Run various official events
  • Build confidence in the athlete development by standardizing and certifying coaches
  • Manage funding

Here’s a snippet of the 2015 annual meeting, note that the 2008 Acting CEO is still the CEO.

Chair Foxworth turned the meeting over to CEO Denise Parker. CEO Parker’s presentation provided an overview of USA Archery.

  • Membership – Membership growth has brought the organization to just over 18,000 individual members and over 850 Clubs. The organization’s 35% growth over the last 12 months is both exciting and challenging.

  • Explore Archery – The Explore Archery curriculum was developed as part of a joint effort between USA Archery, Archery Trade Association and Easton Foundations to introduce those participating in local community activities (clubs, camps, Parks and Recs, Retail Pro Shops, National Archery in the Schools, YMCA’s, Boy and Girl Scout programs and 4H) to the sport of Archery. 197 Explore Archery programs are currently registered and $10,000 in grants has been allocated to these clubs.

  • JOAD Clubs – Currently there are 502 JOAD clubs across the country. A new club handbook has been developed and USA Archery continues to provide $20,000 in grant funds to eligible JOAD Clubs annually.

  •  Collegiate Archery Program – Current collegiate membership includes 42 clubs and 520 individual collegiate members compared to the 2009 membership of 435. $75,000 in grant funds were awarded to eligible clubs in 2015. USA Archery will begin selecting teams for FISU events in 2016 and thereafter.

  • Instructor Certification – USA Archery currently has 16,000 certified Level Instructors bringing the total number of certified instructors and coaches across the country to over 20,000.

  • World Rankings- CEO Parker announced the current World Rankings for USA Archery National Teams: Men’s Compound, 2nd; Women’s Compound, 3rd; Men’s Recurve, 4th; and Women’s Recurve, 14th.

  • 2015 World Archery Youth Championships Team- The U.S. team competed in Yankton, SD and the promising results were 8 Compound medals and 6 Recurve medals.

  • 2015 World Archery Championships Recurve Team – Three women and three men have been selected to represent the United States in Copenhagen. Women selected were Khatuna Lorig, LaNola Pritchard and Ariel Gibilaro. Men selected for the team were Zach Garrett, Brady Ellison and Collin Klimitchek

  • Events and Event Participation – CEO Parker displayed a graph showing the growth of participation in events since 2009 stating that the growth and size of National events continue to be challenges. 916 people registered for the combined 2015 National Target Championships and Easton JOAD Nationals events.

When USA Archery meets the public, they do it through these targeted Outreach Programs

  • Explore Archery
  • JOAD (Junior Olympic Archery Development)
  • Collegiate Archery Program
  • Adult Archery Program
  • USA Archery Camps

As a sports body, USA Archery needs to oversee the competition of the sport. They do that through these Events

  • Sanctioned Archery Tournaments
    • Local
    • State
    • Regional
  • USAT (United States Archery Team) Qualifier Series Events
  • National Championship Events
    • JOAD National Championships
    • US National Target Champions
    • JOAD National Indoor Championships
    • US National Indoor Championships
    • US National Field Championships
    • US National Outdoor Collegiate Championships

However, they are not the only organizing body for archery in the USA, they split this job with the NFAA and probably others.  NFAA is catering to a much broader diversity of archery styles (see NFAA and USAT)

To build an athlete pipeline for the Olympics, USA Archery does that though their National Development Programs

  • Recurve Junior Dream Team
  • Compound Junior Dream Team
  • Collegiate Junior Dream Team
  • Resident Athlete Program
  • USAT (United States Archery Team)
    • Cadet
    • Junior
    • Para
    • Senior
    • Master*
    • Barebow*

It is not clear what is going to happen with these divisions.  USA Archery announced they were official in this 2016 Press Release, but selection criteria looks like it is scheduled for 2018.  As non-olympic sports, it looks like they will be similar to compound archery.

As regulators of the National Training System (the 12 step shot sequence) USA Archery meets the public with coaching certifications in the following forms:

As a participant in World Archery Federation, USA Archery is involved with International Competitions

  • World Cups (Indoor, Outdoor)
  • World Championships (Indoor, Outdoor, Field, and 3D)
  • Parapan and Pan American Games
  • Olympic and Paralympic Games

How does USA Archery get funded? According to their 2015 Financial Declaration

Combined Revenue
Contributions and grants 1,011,125
Grants from the USOC 715,281
Inventory sales 654,017
Cost of inventory sold (357,555)
Membership registrations 683,910
Tournament income 486,505
Corporate sponsorships 172,614
Coach certification income 97,382
NAA Foundation grant* 80,000
USOC media/marketing agreement 85,000
Investment income 19,891
Other income 8,425
Total Revenue 3,656,595
Combined Expenses
Program Expenses
High performance* 631,725
National events and trials 599,107
International events 548,225
Grass roots development 422,280
Membership services 322,051
Coach development 272,361
Paralympic team 264,108
National team 115,609
Supporting Services
General and administrative 419,179
Fundraising 7,772
Total Expenses 3,602,417

* These names are hold outs from older programs, for the most part, High Performance has been replaced by USAT. Previously, USA Archery was NFA which must have been able to create some annuity or grant. Another example is that the financials are declared as:


The corporate sponsors for USA Archery may be restricted to the line item of “Corporate Sponsorships”, but it also could under “Contributions and Grants”. This report is available here.

Officially, there are four levels of sponsorship: Gold, Silver, Bronze and Sponsor. What these levels translate to is not disclosed or is very hard to locate.

Gold Sponsors

  • Easton Foundation
  • Archery Trade Association (ATA)

Silver Sponsors

  • Hoyt
  • Easton


  • Nike
  • United Airlines
  • Axcel Sights and Scopes


  • Arizona Archery Enterprises
  • B-Stinger
  • Lancaster Archery
  • Mental Management Systems
  • Pilla, Inc
  • American Whitetail Targets

Here’s an interesting tension for USA Archery. Easton/Hoyt are large contributors to USA Archery. Hoyt for example can clearly hold the noble idea of growing the sport of archery and profiting from that growth. So where does hunting fit into the mix? By far the largest demographic of archers in the US are hunters. By majority, most of those hunters are compound bow owners. A lot of those are bows made by Hoyt and other US manufacturers, so there is a constant tension around compound shooters.

Archery-Terms, nfaa, References

NFAA Divisions and Classes

The National Field Archery Association (NFAA) has different definitions than USA Archery (USAT and JOAD) for age groups and classes.

NFAA Classes

  • Freestyle (coded FS) is virtually an unlimited class. You can shoot any bow with a movable sight, any length stabilizer, and use a release aid. The sight can have certain magnifications.
  • Freestyle Limited (coded FSL) is basically the same as FS with the exception that you cannot use a release aid. “Limited” means you shoot without a release aid.
  • Freestyle Limited Recurve (coded FSLR) are standard Olympic bows. You are allowed to use a recurve with sights, stabilizers, and clickers.
  • Barebow (coded BB) can use any bow including a compound. In addition you can use any length stabilizer, any rest, a level and you can “walk the string.” (“Walking the string” means your fingers can change position on the bow string during the tournament.) You cannot use a sight.
  • Competitive Bowhunter also called Bowhunter (coded BH) can use any bow including a compound. Your string finger must stay against the arrow nock and it must stay in one position below or above the arrow nock. You may not use a sight, clicker or level. You may use a stabilizer up to 12″ in length.
  • Bowhunter Freestyle (coded BHFS) bows can have up to 5 fixed sight pins (you cannot adjust your sight after you start shooting an official round), a stabilizer up to 12″ in length, and you can use a release aid. These are usually compound bows.
  • Bowhunter Freestyle Limited (coded BHFSL) is basically the same as BHFS with the exception that you cannot use a release aid. “Limited” means you shoot without a release aid.
  • Traditional (coded TRAD) bows are all bows without wheels or pulleys (no compounds). All longbows and recurve fit into this division until the longbow class was formed. Your string finger must stay against the arrow nock and it must stay in one position below or above the arrow nock. You may not use a sight or level on your bow. You can use a rest, front stabilizer up to 12 inches and a button. All of the arrows must be identical.
  • Longbows (coded LB) is determined by string not touching the bow limb. A recurve bow string lays on the limb in a limb grove. Not all longbows meet NFAA rules. Modern longbows that have a reflex are considered traditional bows not a longbow. In addition you must use wooden arrows that are all the same.
  • Crossbow (coded CB) is just that, a crossbow. Crossbows are a new class for NFAA and at present is only shot at indoor tournaments capable of handling the additional needs of such equipment. Ranges need fortified bales and may not be able to handle crossbows.

NFAA Divisions

Division Age
Master Senior 70+
Silver Senior 60+
Senior 50+
Adult Any Age
Young Adult 15-17
Youth 12-14
Cub Up to 11

Additionally, there is a “Pro” and “Pro Senior” classification which presumably has to do with becoming a professional (sponsors?) vs. amateur

NFAA Combinations

Pro or Pro Senior

Adult, Senior, Silver Senior or Master Senior

Young Adult, Youth or Cub

NFAA Gender

  • Male
  • Female

Determining NFAA Bow Class

  1. Gender
  2. Age -> Division
  3. Class

NFAA Example Bow Classes

  • Age 14, Female, shooting a recurve
  • Age code = Y
  • Gender code = F
  • Bow Style code = BB

Final Code would look like this: Y-F-BB

  • Age 17, Male, shooting a compound with pins and release aid
  • AGE code = Y/A
  • Gender code = M
  • Bow Style code = BHFS

Final Code would look like this: Y/A-M-BHFS