On February 9th -11th, approximately 3500 archers came to the South Point Casino in Las Vegas, for the biggest indoor archery tournament in the country. It is called the Vegas Shoot, and I was there.
On Thursday February 8th, my Dad and I left our house in Northern California and started our 10 hour drive to Las Vegas. It was a very uneventful drive, but we did cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and drove through the Mojave Desert. While we were traveling, we got a message that said I could sign up to shoot with pros. We would just have to arrive in Las Vegas by 7:30 pm. I wanted to see my favorite Pro, Paige Pierce-Gore (who lives in the same town as me), but it would be close.
My dad drove pretty fast, and we made it just in time! I got my bow bag from the back of the car and went right in to the main arena. It was HUGE! I had never shot an indoor tournament before and I was pretty nervous. There were a lot of kids from all over the country and some from outside the United States. A lot of people were there to talk with Paige, but she came over and talked to me and gave me some tips. She told me, “Take deep breaths before each shot, and don’t focus on the score.” She also said that we both had the same release! That was really cool, and I felt better after she talked to me. It was getting late, and we finally got to our hotel which was across the street. It was nice.
The next morning, my Dad got to shoot in Hall A. I used my press credentials and got to sit on the shooting line and helped score my Dad’s group’s arrows. I met a man that flew 5 ½ hours from Saskatchewan, Canada; his name was Jason Borys. Jason had been shooting target archery for 1 year and had been hunting for 30 years with a bow. He was shooting a Mathews TRX 38 and his arrows were Easton 2712’s. These are the biggest diameter arrows you can use in the tournament. Jason said he was excited and nervous for the event. He also said he lost is bow while flying from Canada! Luckily it arrived the next day. He also has a daughter who is 13, and she shoots also.
I shot later that day and there were a ton of kids in the arena. It was in a different area than where my Dad shot. I shared a target bale with 3 other girls. One girl was from Arizona, another was from British Columbia (Canada), and the other was from Arizona. The referee explained the rules and we shot our arrows. I learned how to call arrows, and the other girls took score with a little phone app and a paper scorecard. I used my outdoor bow hunter freestyle class bow, and skinny arrows. I noticed the other girls had very specialized equipment and wondered if it helped. My Dad said he was proud of me and said I did a good job. I was pretty nervous and didn’t shoot my best, but was glad that I got the butterflies out. That night, my Dad took me to Gilly’s for a hamburger. It was awesome.
The next day it was my turn to shoot again. I was ready this time and felt much calmer. I followed Paige’s advice and improved my score 34 points from the first day! I was super happy. A girl from Hawaii won my class, and shot a 581/600 with 21 X’s – that was amazing! I interviewed one of the girls on my bale, and her name was Jade. She said she had been shooting for 7 years total, and hunting for 5. She shot a Hoyt Charger and Victory Arrows. Her hobbies outside of archery are drawing and singing. This was her first year at the Vegas Shoot, and hoped to get 10th Place. She ended up 19th and had fun.
After I was done we went to the Expo. There were all kinds of archery suppliers there. I looked at some new bows, as well as releases, and products from other manufacturers. While we were there, we went to the Montana Black Gold Sights booth. Dustin Waddel agreed to let me interview him about their sights. He said the company has been in business 30 years, and make sights with as few as 1, and as many as 9 pins. They are based in Montana and the hardest part of making their sights is the precision machining. They are 100% Made in the USA and they manufacture around 30,000 sights per year!
While we were eating lunch we got a notification to interview the winner of the Female Young Adult, Compound Class; her name was Isabelle Geissbuhler and she shot 588/600 with 34x’s! Isabelle is 13 years old and lives in Washington. She has been shooting 3 ½ years and shoots a Hoyt Pro Comp FX, with Gold Tips XXX Arrows. To prepare for a big shoot like Vegas, she has a good breakfast, good sleep, and she relaxes and doesn’t worry about the score. On the shooting line, she goes through these items in her head: stance, grip, raise arm, draw, anchor, aim, and release. The hardest part for her in archery is the mental side. She is not sure about her future career in archery, but wants to continue to improve and have fun. She came to the Vegas Shoot with her twin sister (who also shot), her grandmother and her coach, Blake Jerome.
That evening we packed up our car to head home. Overall, I thought the Vegas Shoot was fun and exciting. I was nervous and happy. I learned a lot from the trip, and am really looking forward to trying again next year!