A STICK AND A STRING: Competition Time

This past Saturday, June 22, saw my first experience in an archery competition. The Parkland Bowbenders club, situated west of Edmonton, Alta., hosted its annual tournament on June 22 and 23 and my friend, Cindy, and I were invited to participate.

Up to this point, most of my archery experience took place on indoor archery lanes. I enjoy this setting because it’s controlled and there’s lots of help on hand for a beginner like me. But I have purchased my own target and have shot outside before.

This tournament reminded me of a golf game. After registering, participants split up into groups of four. Cindy and I got to join Chris and Dale, shooters we had met through Trophy Book Archery in Spruce Grove, while using the indoor lanes.

Not knowing what to expect from this tournament, Cindy and I packed a lunch, lawn chairs and wore comfortable boots. When we arrived at the Bowbenders field, we realized we didn’t pack quite right. The other archers had hip quivers, some had backpacks for their other gear and many had rangefinders or binoculars (or both!) We were woefully unprepared, but Chris and Dale were very accommodating and agreed to carry our arrows. But at least we will know better for the next time around.

Once we were in our groups and had our scorecards in hand, each group moved to their starting point. There were a few courses set up, with 20 3D targets in each course. We started on course A, at the fifth target. Each shooter let one arrow fly – Dale and Chris shot from about 30 yards, while Cindy and I shot from about 20 yards – and then we calculated scores before moving onto the next target.

On these 3D targets, there was a “kill zone” to aim at, which looked like three circles – one inside the other – to represent the vital organs of the animal. If you hit the centre of the kill zone, that was 11 points. One circle out was 10 points, the next was eight points and then five points for anywhere else on the body. Of course, a miss was zero points.

I very much enjoyed this tournament! We were out walking in the bush, the other archers were very friendly and helpful, always joking and making sure we were having fun; not to mention it was a completely different environment than I had been used to shooting and it resembled an actual hunting environment, with the 3D targets set far back from the path, in the bush.

After completing the first round of 20 targets, all of the archers gathered for a barbeque lunch and then we went back out for round two – another 20 targets, but we moved to a different course.

The second course proved to be a bit more difficult, with some targets set uphill or downhill or down a narrow pathway.

For the first course, I scored 174 out of a possible 220. (The perfect score of 220 is obtained by shooting all 20 targets in the very centre circle for 11 points – 20×11 = 220.) And for the second course, I scored 159. But, I didn’t miss a single target all day. It was a beautiful day to be outside, good friends, good fun and good food. And archery! What more could you ask for?

Until next time!

Michaela Ludwig, assistant editor

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