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

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Outdoor 30

First outdoor tournament of the year for the older one.  She is a “bowmen” class and that means she really can’t compete in the big national tournaments that have Cadet and Junior programs only.  Technically, she can shoot in those older age divisions, but the shooting distance starts at 60 and you have to pull a pretty big bow to shoot that distance.  Locally, one (or maybe two) of the JOAD clubs has set up an outdoor series.  This includes shorter distances for the younger divisions, including 30 for bowmen.

Like all archery events we have attended outdoors, you have to deal with the sun and the wind.  This was no different.  Our car thermometer said it was 101.  She had ramped down lessons over the last month, so this was her first event in at least a month.  She shot outside at the park and she got reps in on the side yard.  She used her new Easton outdoor arrows.  She ended up in third place.

Outdoor Arrows for Shooting 30+

Her coach suggested some outdoor arrows. That means breaking free from our standard aluminum arrow.  Indoor arrows can have a wider tube (“shaft”) and for recurve use feather fletchings vs plastic vanes.  This could mean soliciting lots of opinions and getting advice from different range staffers or messaging with Lancaster Archery.  Instead I took a recommendation from the excellent Easton Archery Podcast and decided to focus on the Carbon One. Her coach agreed, but now more questions. Arrows aren’t like picking a soccer ball, you could select the Adidas Tango and then the next choice is color and size.  With arrows, the dimensions of choice include size, shaft weight, spine @28″ span, length, fletchings, and point weight.  She is not ready for a clicker (which assists in the shot sequence and will alter the arrow length), so we don’t know how long the arrows should be nor the shaft weight.  These will be the first two questions a tech will ask you.  Her coach let her try some different sizes Of Carbon Ones, but they were mostly cut to work with clickers. When she shot these short arrows, her coach said they were “porpoising”, which means wavering up and down. That means longer arrows are required.

It is hard to avoid the complexity of the Easton Arrow Selection Chart.  Despite a lot of work to make the chart user friendly, you have to know a lot about you, your bow, and your setup.  This is a moving target for a young archer.

The Easton Selection Chart

Her coach suggested getting a couple of weights and testing them out.  We have three each of 1000 and 1150 with the recommended tip.  The Easton tip is 70, 80, or 90 points, which is a unit of measure for weight.  The tip breaks off at various places to change the weight.

carbon-one-tip

They are attached with hot melt which is a glue that is applied with heat versus a cement glue.  The plastic vanes are attached with a slight offset.


The only thing in common with the aluminum arrow is the Easton G Nock (no pin).

These thinner arrows shoot faster (they stick into the bale further) and shoot farther (her misses were further down the range).  This sounds complicated, and we are at the novice stage.  I suspect this is why there is a lot of “follow the leader” in arrow selection or “buying from the top of the list” – if you notice that Brady Ellison uses the Easton X10 (their high price arrow), and you purchase it, you don’t leave room for too many excuses with your equipment.

 

Fletching Arrows

While the kids are shooting aluminum arrows, they will have a long life except for being bent in the quiver while trying to sit down.  It makes sense to become an adequate fletcher of arrows (the person that adds feathers or vanes).  After some other attempts, I have crossed over from sloppy amateur to less sloppy amateur.  The secret is a good batch of acetone and the Bitzenburger jig.  It only does one feather at a time, but it works consistently for me which cannot be said of Arizona Archery EZ Fletch and the licensed other brands.


The Easton arrows stand up to a utility knife scraping off the old and the acetone cleans up the debris.  With patience, an arrow takes about 10 minutes to go from old and worn out to ready to shoot (if you aren’t needing perfect feathers).