Introduction to the KSAA Field Archery Tournament
The KSAA Field Archery Tournament is a grueling 112 arrow Field Archery competition shot on a 2-D target from various known ranges. The yardages of the shots can be as short as 25ft to as far as 80 yards. There are a variety of bows and configurations that may be used during the competition. There are age groups to further stratify the field. The 2015 event is my first Archery competition in many years and I look forward to the challenge of a difficult course at Wichita Archery, Inc. The KSAA web site houses details of previous tournaments and the schedule of future ones: http://kansasstatearcheryassociation.org/index.html
Preparing for the KSAA Field Archery Competition
In the time leading up to the Field Archery event I worked on extending my range and sighting in at the maximum distance of 80 yards for the tournament. Also, I’m working on my repetitions as my norm is 50 arrows at the range. I’m up to 75 right now, so I’ll need to extend my reps to better prepare, as 75 makes my arms feel like jelly afterwards. Shooting a lot of different targets over the years has been a benefit, though I’ve never shot at the NFAA field target used in this event until last week (the target in the header for this article). As we headed into the final days of preparation, I knew there would be better bows and more experienced archers at the event and therefore I prayed for good times and a friendly, learning atmosphere for both my son and I.
After a mild debate on if we should stay at a hotel or camp (our strong preference was to camp) due to dicey weather conditions, we decided the storms, if any, would be mild enough to not cause concern. We determined that camping in El Dorado State Park would be close enough to the tournament site to drive the last hour. From our home base in Kansas City this would be a quick 2 hour drive and we could get camp set up before sunset. As we drive into the state park, lo and behold an Archery Range! Not only do we have a great location to camp, now, we have a range to practice on before we head onto the tournament. You don’t get practice ranges at hotels!
As we packed up our gear from our early morning practice session in El Dorado, Kansas, we plugged in the GPS coordinates for Wichita Archery, Inc. The GPS didn’t take us through the best parts of Wichita as we drove by a couple salvage yards and on dirt roads of questionable repair, though when we found our location, our tournament’s course had a certain charm. Not only was area well maintained, we were quite impressed with the maintenance of the target area and multiple bow racks located strategically at the shooting line and the scoring area. Arriving about an hour ahead of the scheduled start time allowed us to meet fellow archers and have the tournament director’s wife and explain the course and go over rules that would be in place for our tournament. We figured out the class and age group we would be shooting in and the tournament officials assured us we would be place together with an experienced course shooter to help make for an incredible first Archery experience. And both I and the Junior Outdoorsman in Suburbia agree this tournament was top notch.
First Half of the Field Archery Tournament
The trail of 14 targets spread throughout several acres of wooded land. The trail is typical of the Wichita area and is covered in natural sand. The distances went from 80 yards at the far end of the range all the way down to 15 feet. Strangely enough, I had never shot that far or that close. I was quite surprised at my ability to shoot the long ranges and to keep the arrows on the target. I made no mental mistakes and was very happy that the only arrow that went off the target was one of my 80 yard attempts on the first round. After fighting with some strong winds I salvaged a 208 out of 280 total points.
Lunch was cooked on site and prepared entirely on the grill. I ordered a cheeseburger combo and was surprised to receive not only a well grilled cheeseburger, baked beans and a handful of potato wedges in addition to cold Pepsi. I’m not sure who the grill man was, though my compliments should be given for a terrific meal.
Second Half of the Field Archery Tournament
Shooting through the 14 targets a second time enabled me to make some minor adjustments and improve my scores on almost every target. Out of the 280 total points I accumulated 228 of the points and gained valuable experience of shooting that dreaded 80 yard target again. This time a branch unbeknownst to me was in the way and my arrow grazed the edge and slightly moved the arrow away from the target leaving me with a slight miss, though safely on the target. The best moment is when the Junior Outdoorsman in Suburbia hit the 50 yard target for the first time of the day for 4 points. That was the proudest archery moment for me of the day.
A day shooting is better than any day not! There was some question as to if both of us would shoot. My son hadn’t decided he would be able to shoot at 50 yards since the farthest pin on his sight was set for 30 yards. Even more amazing, no arrows were lost or damaged at any of these long distances. In the end the Junior Outdoorsman placed 2nd in the Youth Freestyle division and I placed 6th in the Men’s Freestyle division.
Next on our Archery Agenda
- Find better gear, on the short list is a sight for both of us to deal with ranges outside of our current range. I’m using my Ross XD in the freestyle category, so a longer, dual cam bow might be in my future, wink, wink.
- Find a variety of tournaments to participate in within a few hundred miles of suburban Kansas City, Missouri
- Meet more great archers in the area, like Leon and Noah who shot in our group