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
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.
Panda Ears, Hoyt Cap
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.
Was already 91 degrees at 9:00 AM. Outdoor practice is commitment. Losing arrows in the field is part of being outdoors too. Bring a magnifying glass and you can light $20 bills on fire for the same effect in the hot sun.
So many things for this archery season. She added a sight. She added a stabilizer. She got a new, heavier poundage bow. She got a new plunger. She went out of state. She shot 40cm. She made an archery-BFF. She got outdoor arrows. She got a new practice bow. She is rebuilding her shot sequence. She survived some friends leaving her team. She got a new mentor. She trained with and survived her sister. She started shooting with her mom. She fought with and then made up with her dad.
She has worked on her form since SLC, but early in the tournament, her fast shot returned. She fought it some and went with it on other ends. She improved over SLC, but didn’t reach some of the scores from early in the season.
Overall, the season isn’t easy to chart. With her equipment changes and target size changes, it’s not easy to compare scores from 40cm to 60cm.
It was a year of some podium finishes, some off days, a lot of practice, a lot of work, a lot of stress, and a lot of growth. She has more of the same in front of her for several years in and out of archery. Keep at it kiddo.
The younger one is doing pretty well shooting with her (left) hand me down kit (Hoyt Grand Prix Horizon Pro 25″ – still available even with model year turn over) and with a splash of black accessories, the bow doesn’t look like it used to when the older one used it for a palette of ocean colors.
But wait, who is that in the background? Have we found a home for her right handed bow?
The Prodigy XT 25 arrived and a whole bunch of other stuff. Time to get this hand me down process started. First, time to build up the older kid’s bow with the help of her coach. We adjusted tillers and checked for staightness.
Her coach had some used limbs we could buy and that means her draw weight poundage is going up. These limbs are made of wood. That seems appropriate for her for now. Future choices include all carbon, foam, and even bamboo. Sometimes it feels less like innovation and more like product specialization. Although, the only perspective I have is that of the customer.
Then, on to the refitting of her old bow (Hoyt Grand Prix Horizon). Black and teal seem to be an acceptable scheme for the younger one. A teal left handed quiver goes with her new-to-her riser. More work to do…
There is a JOAD Bow being sold by Lancaster. Once you select the bow, you go to a configurator. It’s more of a bow package than a specific bow. The smaller one wanted a white riser and that is not part of the JOAD bow package, so we had to go a la carte.
She’ll be reusing the hand me down archery equipment bag, her hand me down tool kit, and her own quiver (they shoot opposite hands and can’t share bows or quivers). All in all it looks something like this…
The sight is a piece of equipment that is optional in recurve archery. By observation, it looks far less optional in compound shooting since every compound bow I’ve seen has a sight on it. The sight is a piece of equipment that is fixed to your bow. If you have a metal riser, you probably have screw holes already drilled for the sight. If you have a wood riser or a knock down bow, you may not have an option for a sight. The sight consists of some mechanism for attachment (“mounting bracket”), a horizontal bar (“extension bar”), a vertical bar (“sight bar”), and a scope that travels up and down the vertical bar (“sight pin assembly”).
Simple sight parts – photo courtesy of Australian Archery
The sight is an interesting combination of relative and fixed instrumentation. You get the sight roughly in place and then make adjustments up and down the sight bar. This part can be confusing. I created this simple illustration to show how moving the sight pin assembly in the direction of the error corrects the position of the bow. If you start and the arrows are shooting too low, you move the sight pin assembly down.
Making adjustments to a sight in response to where the arrows go
The adjustment in my illustration are exaggerated, but are meant to show how the sight pin can be used to make an adjustment in the up and down direction of the riser and the bow. Similarly, if your arrows are going to high, move the sight pin assembly up and that will cause you to tilt your bow down to keep the pin on the target. There are all kinds of adjustments on a fully featured sight.
Full featured sight – photo courtesy of Jordan Sequillion
It could take quite a while to get all of these knobs adjusted and dialed in. It is recommended that you work with your sight a lot to learn how it’s adjustments work and to be ready to shoot at different distances. Recording your position (horizontal and vertical) is important. The scope can also be adjusted left to right with other knobs.
If you need to shoot longer distances, you may need to move the site pin assembly closer to you by adjusting the extension bar.
There are lots of adjustments and your sight may or may not have all the features. More features means the sight is going to cost more. Materials are either aluminum or carbon fiber. Carbon fiber moves less, so it is ultimately a better sight, but it costs a lot more too. The sight is probably another example of buy nice or buy twice.