I am not an expert but sometimes I try to help with questions people send me about how things work when you are trying to learn archery. If I have a day when I will be at the range for a long time, I will ask everyone on my Twitter and Tumblr if they have questions. A couple of weeks ago, I got a great question and I asked permission to repost it here. It was VERY confusing in the beginning trying to figure out what organization to go to for what types of tournaments when I first started to shoot. Hopefully, sharing my Tumblr post here will help someone else!
My question came from theatomscombined:
Hi! I have a few questions. I’ve googled this a bit, but it’s hard for me to get a grasp on the proper information. How do tournaments work in the U.S.? Is there a website that lists tournament dates and such? Can anyone with skill compete in the more professional tournaments? If not, what would be the process in working your way up to competing in one? And what about world tournaments? Thanks!
My answer was a long one:
It can be really confusing. The short answer is “it depends on what you want to do.” Here is the long answer:
When I started shooting, I wanted to try some of everything. The only reason I figured this stuff out is my mom is super good at internet searches. I thought I would eventually pick one thing but so far, I still like it all. My question is, what kind of bow do you shoot? Each organization has a list of “classes” so you have to determine which one you are in. Unfortunately it does not translate from organization to organization, for example, a “cub” in USA Archery is a different class than a “cub” in NFAA! (see? confusing!) If you want to do Olympic type shooting and rounds, you would choose USA Archery in the US. They have a great calendar where you can see monthly whats going on. Important to note, some have closing dates or huge late fees on tournaments so look in advance on the calendar to make sure you get stuff in on time. There is also the World Archery site which is the group that covers international tournaments and some in the US. For example, the Vegas shoot is a World Archery event but also an NFAA one…confused yet? The NFAA has a good calendar that has events from several groups. Then there is the IFAA, IBO…ugh…but that’s more information than you needed, right?
You can shoot your class or you can “upshoot” like I did going to Texas. In the tournament in Texas, there was not an option for my class which in the USA Archery organization right now is Bowman. I shot as a Cadet (high school), two levels up, so I was allowed to compete. When you do that, you have to be able to shoot the distance required of that group. Since I want to try to apply for a Junior Dream Team Camp, I will continue to upshoot for those events so I can try to get ranked. When I go to Vegas, I will shoot as a Youth because that is my category now for NFAA.
I haven’t found any that I was prohibited from competing in but you have to check the rules on the entry forms. Sometimes you have to be a member of a certain organization in order to shoot. You can look on any of the above sites or check the USA Archery for JOAD clubs in your state and back track from those sites. I found some tournaments from just looking up the state stuff. You wanting to compete is up to you, not your skill level. If you want to shoot and are relatively certain that you won’t shoot the target over from yours, you can shoot. LOL.
If you shoot a compound especially, you will need to look at what class you would be because certain pieces of equipment can put you up a class. It’s a little easier for recurves to figure out.
Does any of this help?
Hopefully this helps some of you!