What I learned as a spectator at an ASA tournament.

Photo courtesy of http://www.asaarchery.com

When I lived in New York I was part of a 3D Archery club. I found this club by searching on www.3dshoots.com – an incredible resource for finding 3D Archery clubs, there are thousands listed. The very easy to use search will help you find a local club to join.

I heard about ASA (Archery Shooters Association) tournaments but didn't look any further into them because I thought they were only for those far more talented than myself. I love archery but don't really see myself as talented enough to compete.

I decided to check out an ASA tournament after seeing Chris Brackett, the host of Fear No Evil on Outdoor Channel, dive into ASA tournaments feet first and learning while competing.

I've been a fan of Brackett's for several years, his trick shots on Arrow Affliction are the main reason I stayed with archery even after wanting to hang up my bow forever. This was before bow manufacturers recognized that there are archers out there with less than 26″ draw lengths that aren't children. My first bow was 2.5 inches shorter than my draw length and without being able to achieve consistent proper form my arrows were literally hit or miss. After seeing Brackett shoot an arrow through a washer barely larger than his arrow I knew that I had to keep trying. After getting a bow that fit me I was getting better and better and when ever I was feeling frustrated I would think about that washer and keep going.

When Brackett was on BowJunky Media's podcast he mentioned that there isn't a lot of spectators at the shoots even though they are allowed. He invited people in the area of the next shoot to come and watch him shoot. Since his next shoot was not far from my house I took him up on it and what I learned opened my eyes to a whole new world of archer.

Chris Brackett shooting at a black bear target.


I learned that anyone can join the ASA and shoot in the tournaments. There were people from all walks of life, every shape and size of bow and archer were shooting and having fun catching up with their fellow shooters.

I learned that if you bring your tiny every day umbrella it won't cut it and you may get some friendly teasing until they ask to borrow it.

I learned that everyone seemed to be very friendly and encouraging, it was like a huge family reunion but you could buy archery gear and shoot targets.

I learned that if its hot out you'll want lemonade and they will charge you a ridiculous amount for lemon flavored sugar water but you'll buy it because you're thirsty.

I learned that even some of the best in the world can miscalculate and miss.

I learned that bowhunters can and should compete to keep their skills sharp in the off season.

I learned that it is incredibly peaceful to be in the woods surrounded by archers and singing birds as the sunlight streams through the trees.

There are classes from novice to professional, known and unknown distance, ages 6 and up, and every bow brand out there including crossbows.

It is frustrating to without a bow around so many archers having a good time shooting. However, I still had a great time getting a glimpse into a world I would love to be a part of in the future. It has inspired me to seek out another 3D archery club in the South and get back into the fun shoots with possibly joining the ASA in the future.

I encourage anyone that shoots a bow or crossbow for target shoots or hunting to go to an ASA tournament to check it out. Bring a good pair of binoculars and bug spray.

You won't be disappointed!

From the ASA websiteIf you’ve never experienced the fun and excitement of a national tournament you need to be there. It is a true archery festival with the top archery manufacturers showing the newest and latest products, competition classes for the whole family, and a full schedule of archery opportunities. In addition to the two rounds of competition featuring McKenzie 3-D targets, other activities include McKenzie Speed Bags for warm-up, a 40 target 3-D practice range, Team Shoots with Pros and amateurs, the Known Distance Shoot, Lancaster Long Shot and the opportunity to meet, watch and learn from the greatest archers in the world. ASA offers everyone the chance to experience the fun of these professionally run events with competition ranges that are specifically designed to be spectator friendly, and competition classes that allow everyone from age six-to-over sixty to compete.

Among the amateur classes are the Bow Novice and Women’s Bowhunter classes that are specifically designed for novices and bowhunters to come out and try their hand. They shoot known distance, the maximum distance is 30 yards, and long stabilizers and movable sights and sights with magnification are not permitted. Anyone who has a passion for bowhunting needs to try their hand at an ASA event to help extend their season and hone their archery skills.

Check them out at www.asaarchery.com and don't forget to use the search at www.3dshoots.com to find a local club. Now get out there and shoot!