A long time ago, I met Kevin and he showed me how to shoot a bow. It seems like its been forever since I had that first tiny bow. Since then, we have traveled all over the United States competing and having fun at archery tournaments.
I feel grateful for him introducing me to archery but I really feel grateful that he went to war and made it back. Today, you should take the time to remember the Veterans that made it back and those that did not. Thank them, hug them, support them. If you are looking for a good place to donate, Operation Homefront is responsible for making sure we had a home.
WOW what a week! There was so much to see and learn.
Day before practice:
As we drove up to the field I was so excited that I had actually arrived. Then as I started unpacking my stuff from the car I realized I left my glasses in the room! So as we were walking down to the practice side of the field I tried to think of where I left them, but I couldn’t so I just let it go. When we finally reached the practice side and I started putting my bow together I saw friends and talked to them. After I got my bow together I went over to a target and started to shoot. As I shot more and more, a lot of people started to show up and take up bales at 60m, because there was only 3. So they moved 1 more up but it still didn’t help; because there were at least four lines and not enough time. So I only got to shoot 50 arrows and eventually went back to the hotel and found my glasses. I also discovered that I had put my limbs on upside down. Funny, right?
WHAT A DAY!
We agreed we would change them around the next morning.
We arrived at the field I had remembered my glasses AND my limbs were on the right way.
I WAS READY TO SHOOT!
As time passed, more of my friends showed up and decided to shoot with me. When I was done shooting, I put every arrow in the blue and in which was my goal for 60m this year, so YEAH! I felt ready for the tournament.
First Day of Qualifier:
I arrived at the field confident because of my shooting the days before. As I put my bow and toolbox by my bale, I got to meet the people I was shooting with. On my bale I had a team member from the Chinese Taipei team. It was so cool watching them go through their shot sequence and seeing that their shots were so consistent. It was also cool that I go to trade a pin with here and get a Taiwan pin. I started shooting and was low and got easily discouraged. I moved my sight down and shot level so that made me feel better. At the end of the first 36, the majority of problems were from dropping my arm. I even missed and shot below the target. I sat down and drank some water and shot a higher score at the end of the second 36 arrows. At the end of the day, I scored a 220 and a 234.
Second Day of Qualifier:
As I was approaching the field the second day I felt confident because I knew what when wrong with my low arrows so I could fix it, or try. Since I shot in the morning the second day, there was a lot less wind. When I started shooting I kept in mind to keep my arm up and I shot high because I moved my sight. I realized now that the previous day I was low because I was dropping my arm! After I shot an end and was consistently high, I moved my sight back to where it was and put three arrows in the gold. I shot three in the gold and automatically was so excited and I was ready to start scoring. I shot 2 more practice ends then it was time to score. As we scored the first end I had no arrows outside of the blue. I was shooting everything in my form felt good; then the wind picked up and was blowing against me and my front follow through wasn’t good two shots in a row. I got two 4s low in the 6th end. After the 4s I got discouraged but then I realized that they were my only 2 out of the blue so far. I tried to keep a positive outlook on it through the rest of the day and only ended up with 5 out of the blue that day. At the end of the day, I shot a 257 the first 36 and a 269 the second 36. I improved throughout the tournament a lot because Coach Diane was able to be there with me throughout the tournament and help me think things through more quickly. Since my form was broken down completely in January and then again in March at JDT camp, this was the first time I was able to get back up to the 260-270s I was shooting before. It has taken so long but I am glad to know that I have the tools for the proper form and I am finally going back up! I ended up 40th out of 70th, not the best but I shot my personal best for a FITA round so I am still happy with my second day improvements.
US Open OR and Team Rounds:
In the morning I didn’t have to shoot but Compound Kevin did so I went along and coached him. Up first was the 1/32 round and the wind was blowing consistently left and that’s where they were hitting. I told him to watch the wind and it worked! He shot an X! It was so much fun coaching him and he won his first match and advanced to shoot against Jesse Broadwater, a pro and really, really good compound shooter. I thought Kevin would be really nervous, and he was a little, but not as much as I thought. He shot really well (all red and in) but Jesse shot better by about 15 points so Kevin did not advance to the 3rd round. He shot well though and I was proud of him. After he was done we went back to the hotel and I rested until it was time to go back for my team round.
When we went back to the field, I had no idea who was on my team so it was a surprise. Mom went to check while I put my bow together and it turned out I was placed on a team with a girl from my old archery club and one that was right above me in placement. My team worked well together and we shot an end where we each shot a 5 and then a 10 in that order. We got all excited that we were ahead by 20 and then the last end we all dropped our arms and shot 4s and below. We lost and didn’t move on but we had so much FUN.
I shot in the morning and my mom checked who I was shooting against and it was Ashleigh Koval and she is on the Junior Dream Team. I was a little worried but decided I would just step up my game. I stepped up to the line she was there too and she is so nice! She is also left-handed so we shot face to face. We started scoring and two points went on the board for me so I thought it was just a lucky end. We shot another and I won the set again so it was 4-0. I couldn’t believe it. I got excited.
The next one passed and she won which put us at 4-2. The next round we tied and it was 5-3, then another she won which put us at 5-5. I was taking her to a one-arrow shoot off! I got so excited and I didn’t breath, dropped my arm and forgot to aim off for the wind. Ashleigh won and advanced. She didn’t have a spotting scope so I went to spot for her. She did really well but her competitor won. I had so much fun shooting with her and spotting for her.
The tournament was so much fun and if you are reading this thinking “Hey, I want to try archery!” I recommend the Outdoor Nationals. It was a LONG tournament but it was so much fun because we had time to enjoy each round instead of rushing through them.
WOW. Today was crazy. Things were going well, we were about an hour from our hotel for the night and then Dad said “UH OH.” In my opinion, that is never good! If you know about Kevin, you know he is pretty tough. This seemed to even have him scratching his head and mom was trying hard not to cry. I was thinking that for some reason, New Mexico just hates me. We end up pulled over on the side of the road and waiting. Someone was supposed to come and then didn’t. Let’s just say there was a lot of praying between the three of us. Then all of a sudden there was another person coming and I think that is who we were supposed to meet. They are the nicest family with the cutest kids EVER. They helped us get things figured out and get us to a hotel for a night. We will only end up being a little later than expected to Arizona. The people at La Quinta were all “You stay with La Quinta all the time, you have points for a free night.” That was awesome. Ortega’s should know in the morning about our car and we are all saying more prayers and crossing fingers.
If for some reason you are coming through Santa Rosa, NM and you need help on your car, please call the Ortega’s. They like archery peeps!
Kind of a bonus is we are chilling in our room before we would have checked in further down the road AND we are going to eat at a historic Route 66 restaurant for dinner. Remember, look at the bright side!
This week I have been trying to do a lot and I am running behind some. What I was able to help mom finish is a short film she had to do for school for her film class. It is about me and my step-dad Kevin. It is about some personal stuff but we have talked about him being a disabled Vet before but this tells you a little bit more of what happened when we met. I hope you like it!
You may have seen me in recurveemma videos and funny pictures before. I figured I would start a page since Emma is getting questions about compound shooting and I have decided to start competing myself. I am a compound shooter from way back. I started shooting with a Bear recurve in 1978 when I was 13. I updated to a Bear White Tail Hunter in the 80’s and have been shooting compound ever since.
I have been hunting and trapping since I was 8. Growing up in a super rural town in the hills of Virginia there was little else to do. I have been hunting in Canada and several states here over the years. I shot competitive 3D archery from 1990 to 1994.
I did a 4 year tour in the U.S. Army from 1984 to 1988. I enlisted in the Army for a second time in 2003 and honorably discharged in 2009. During my second enlistment I deployed to Afghanistan with The Special Operations Command and was injured in combat. I am now classified with the Veteran Administration as disabled as a result of multiple injuries.
I will be blogging here to answer questions about compound shooting and about returning to the compound archery competitive environment with disabilities. Looking forward to hearing from you here or on Twitter.