This weekend I shot my first United States Archery Team (USAT) qualifying event at The Buckeye Classic in Dublin Ohio. We decided to shoot this event because it would be a good experience, I have never shot at this distance or this size target in a tournament before; and so I can see what the competition would be like for once I'm ready. But the main reason was because it was only two hours away and my dad travels for work and was able to schedule jobs during the trip in that area.
We camped in our small deer camp camper, we came down Thursday to check in and check stuff out at the camp ground. There is walking trails at the camp site and I brought my BMX bike so I can use them as bike trails to have some fun. On Friday my dad had work in the morning so when he came back we ate lunch and headed out to the tournament field. When we got there I put on my BJM cloths and did a couple of interviews with the pros and watched them shoot, but with 2 ends left it started pouring and lighting was close so the last 2 ends were canceled. I had to wait 2 hours for them to announce if I was going to get open practice or not. I did for 2 ends then it started pouring rain and lighting again. So we came back to the camper and chilled. Since we had time we took a couple of my arrows that needed reflected and flected them since we had time. After that my dad went to work again and I went to sleep.
Friday we woke up at 6, ate breakfast and went to the fields for qualifications. When we got there the weather was perfect for practice but when we started scoring the wind storm started. It really sucked to shoot in it, and I had 2 misses that I was sad about but qualified 10th out of 17. I stayed around with my friend to watch the pros shoot and they were shooting in the wind as well and I saw that people that should shoot perfect were missing the whole bail so that made me not as sad with my 2 misses that would have scored on a 10 ring target. On Sunday it was eliminations, when we got to the field it was cold to me and we were the first group to shoot. In my 2 ends of practice I had to resight in my sight from the day before in the wind and I had a bye my first round so I had 5 more ends of practice and I was shooting my best scores I did all weekend. But I psyched myself out when I saw who I was going against in my next round because once I saw him I said I was going to lose. On my first end I shot a 17 out of 30 then after that end I acted like I was just shooting against myself and I was shooting much better scores. But as you can imagine I lost the match but I was still happy I qualified 10th out of 17 in a 15 to 17 age group class when I'm only 12.
Then we came back to the camper and I went swimming and rode bikes on the trails with my dad, then when it got dark we made a fire then went to bed. Monday morning me and my dad cleaned up the camper before he had to work another job, so we could just hook up and leave when he came back. Normally when I write out a story I do it at home, but on this morning I wrote out this story out on the beach since it was all fresh in my head. Overall the weekend was a really great shooting experience and I am very happy I decided to do it, and I thought it was cool being able to camp out for a tournament since I was able to do more than just sit in a hotel and watch TV when not at the field. I was able to ride my bike on trails, go swimming, have a fire and other things with my dad that you can't do in a hotel.
Originally published in the August 2020 edition of The Young Archers of BowJunky Media