Competing in a National Tournament
By: Carmen Ghidorzi
Age: 11 years old
From: Wausau, Wisconsin
September is always such an exciting month. It’s the start of a whole new school year, plus it’s the time that my family and I head to Yankton, South Dakota for me to compete in the NFAA Outdoor National Championship. NFAA stands for National Field Archery Association. Competing in a national tournament is a really cool opportunity, and this is one of my favorite tournaments of the year because it always ends up being an adventure!
The location of Yankton is unique in many ways. This happens to be where the NFAA has its headquarters and is also home of the world’s largest archery center, the NFAA Easton Yankton Archery Center. Even though Yankton is a world stage for archery competitions, it feels like a small town and is fun to explore when I’m not shooting. There is a lot of history to learn about since the Missouri River runs through it, and Lewis and Clark crossed there on their expedition.
Shooting outdoors in Yankton is an adventure to say the least. I have shot in three outdoor tournaments there and have had three totally different experiences. The first time was in September 2017, and it was freezing cold. It was the kind of cold that no matter how many layers you wear you just can’t stay warm. This September was the total opposite – it was hot, hotter than usual for the time of year and extremely windy. The wind added the extra challenge of needing to time your shots around the gusts blowing through the outdoor archery range. Last year, in September 2019, conditions were perfect. The temperature was pretty mild, and there was no wind. That worked in my favor to help me set a new national record for my division of Cub Female Freestyle. I only dropped nine points in the whole two day tournament for a score of 1491 out of 1500!
Another thing that makes Yankton and other national tournaments special is that you usually meet new competitors and have a chance to make new friends. This year in Yankton, I shot against girls from Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska, Michigan and my home state of Wisconsin.
One of the coolest parts about going to national tournaments is that you get to see the pros. Paige Pearce, Jesse Broadwater and Reo Wilde are my favorites! This year in Yankton, I got to see all of them practice and compete with other pros in a few shoot-offs! One was at 60 yards. They all shot one great shot after another! They also stayed really calm even though there was a lot of pressure on them. Watching them helped me because I need to do better under pressure. Watching the pros always gets me excited to shoot my bow!
The NFAA Outdoor National Championship in Yankton was fun as always, and I even got to bring home my fourth national win!