Monday, March 5, 2012

What really happened in Vegas

I waited to post this as the new BowAmerica issue comes out today. Check out the whole issue, some really great articles in there. Lions and tigers and BEARS, oh my!

So you may have seen the teaser, but here is the real story...

What do you get when you put all the current major archers in the world, archery manufacturers, gambling, prime rib and beer under one roof for a week in Vegas? A great time, that’s what! Held back-to-back with the World Archery Indoor Championships, the NFAA Vegas Shoot offered the opportunity to watch and compete against almost 2,000 archers from the USA, Mexico, and Europe and shoot next to accents from as far away as South Africa and Australia. Most of the teams stayed on to compete at the NFAA shoot and mixed up the action in both the Championship and non-championship flights.

Bows, bows and more bows. It was a bit unreal to see bows moving through the casino, on the elevator, escalator, arena, and generally everywhere except maybe in the pool. The folks that were not there for the shoot had lots of wide eyed questions when riding up on the elevator along with strung bows with monster stabilizers attached. The elevator was the place to be. We ran into almost every “name” and their spouses, parents, coaches and kids on the elevator.  I did my share of elbowing Matt while mouthing, “OMG, do you know who that is?!”  Yeah, I’m secretly still ten.  My favorite elevator moment however, was when a West coast guy sporting cigarette jeans, seriously pointy shoes and giant Elvis pompadour along with his equally stylish gal stepped on after a camo’d Midwestern teenager and his mom.  I so wish I could have whipped out my camera to capture the expression on that kid’s face. Classic!

On the floor, it was a fantastic culture clash with the typical American traditional barebow guy sharing a bale next to a Russian Olympic recurve archer. Ladies and men competed against each other, no separation in the flights. There were no points for style given, but maybe there should have been. Texas sized bling with head-to-toe pink accessories were spotted along with 3 inch heels on the ladies compound line. Hey, when you look good, you shoot good, right? Shooting styles varied tremendously. Everything from flamboyant French releases with the continental double kiss for good arrows, to the quiet, ultra-controlled USA team machine style that continued to win medals. I spent an unforgettable hour watching Miranda Leek, Holly Stover and Jennifer Nichols before going to shoot my final day.  Having those correct mental impressions actually helped my release later on.

Para archers were out in numbers, including an exceptional blind woman whose guide dog napped patiently off the line between ends. Yes, I said blind. To see these guys and gals shoot, and shoot well mind you, is amazing to watch. Plus, they were lumped in with everyone else for scores, no special treatment there.

Impressive final shootouts beginning the night we arrived under spotlights, rock music and live online coverage that set the tone for the week.  (World Cup finals photo) I have no idea how you prepare for shooting under those crazy conditions.  It’s critical to have nerves of steel to have the announcer holler, “NINE!” and keep it together for the next shot for a ten. I tend to turn fire engine red while shooting anonymously in a crowd without the benefit of an announcer when I hit a bad shot. Most of the guys and gals at that level are used to it, but getting to that point is pretty extraordinary. YouTube posted these live all day and a great overview of the venue and all the team and individual finals can be found here. 

We had a great time and would definitely go back again. If you haven’t been yet, I highly recommend it.

No comments: