3-D Archer Andy Callaway
Wins 2014 Rookie of the
Year Title 3-D Archer Andy Callaway Wins 2014 Rookie of the Year Title

Professional 3-D archer Andy Callaway set two goals in early 2014: become Rookie of the Year and make a final shoot-off. When the ASA tournament season ended in August, Callaway had accomplished both goals.

The Neenah, Wisconsin, native shoots the Open Pro division of the Archery Shooters Association (ASA) tournament circuit – competitions based on shooting 3-D foam animals for score, with high stakes prizes for the winners.

The ASA holds six Pro/Am Tour tournaments each year, plus the ASA Championship Classic. The “Shooter of the Year” title  is determined by cumulative points from each Pro/Am Tournament, with the lowest score dropped, plus the score from the ASA Championship Classic, a mandatory event. Archers in the Open Pro division shoot 20 3-D targets at unmarked distances up to 50 yards during both days of the two-day event.

Callaway also won the High-Pro title on the LimbSaver Known Distance Competition range, a10-target event where members of each class compete for cash paybacks. The highest-scoring professional and amateur receive cash, a plaque award, and an automatic spot in the Long Shot shoot-off competition at the ASA Classic.

Tim Gillingam Levi Morgan Andy Callaway

Tim Gillingam, Levi Morgan and Andy Callaway earned cash payouts and plaques at the ASA Classic. Photo: Shannon Rikard/ATA

“I couldn’t be happier with how this year went,” Callaway said. “Traveling to see my archery family motivates me to practice and improve. Earning Rookie of the Year is a bonus that helps get sponsorships and continue my pro career.”

For Callaway, 32, archery is a family sport. His dad is Rich Callaway, a senior pro who introduced him to the sport at age 12. They also work in their family’s construction business, and often practice and travel to tournaments together. Archery 360 caught up with Andy at the 2014 ASA Classic in Cullman, Alabama, to learn about life as a pro 3-D archer.

3-D archer Rich Callaway

Senior Pro Rich Callaway introduced his son Andy to archery and watched him claim the 2014 ASA Rookie of the Year title. Photo: Shannon Rikard/ATA

Practice

In 2014, Callaway practiced three hours daily. Sometimes, he only judges targets. Other days he shoots between 200 and 300 arrows. His father’s full range has 20 3-D targets. Callaway often practices there, but he also has 14 targets in his own backyard.

“Every time I practice, I think of it as a tournament situation so I’ll be prepared to focus on making an accurate shot when I compete,” Callaway said. “Tournaments are set up in the woods, where there are leaves and twigs on the ground, and different qualities of light filtering through trees. It’s more challenging to judge yardage at tournaments than it is to judge targets on my lawn.”

Many 3-D archers agree that looking at 3-D targets in a woods creates a tunnel-like effect that can hinder distance judging. The competitors use spotting scopes and markings on the targets to help estimate distances and place their shots.

3-D archer Rich Callaway

Many 3-D archers agree that standing in the woods looking at a 3-D target gives a tunnel-like effect that can make judging distance a challenge. Photo: Shannon Rikard/ATA

Challenges

Callaway says the most challenging aspect of being a professional archer is also its highest reward.

“People are the greatest part of archery,” he said. “I’m shooting against other competitors who are at the top of their games, so I have to focus throughout the weekend. But those competitors are also friends I enjoy seeing at tournaments. I meet lots of new people at every tournament, which makes every season better.”

Callaway notes that every ASA tournament includes a team shoot where one professional archer shoots with up to five amateurs. He says it’s fun to answer questions from up-and-coming archers, and hear about their trials and successes.

3-D archer Andy Callaway

Andy Callaway, pictured on the LimbSaver Known Distance Competition range, shoots a Hoyt Pro Edge bow. Photo: Shannon Rikard/ATA

Equipment

  • Hoyt Pro Edge bow with 65-pound draw weight, 27.5-inch draw length and 293 feet per second
  • Fuse stabilizers
  • Axcel sight
  • Shrewd scope
  • Alpen binoculars
  • Easton arrows

Techniques

3-D target

3-D targets can be up to 50 yards away for pro archers. Judging target distances is a main component of training. Photo: Shannon Rikard/ATA

Callaway’s focus during his rookie pro year was mental management. He worked to represent himself professionally and remain calm while competing. He also worked on judging target distances, especially on small targets.

“Small targets like the coyotes and javelinas always cause problems for me when I compete,” Callaway said. “For some reason I don’t judge them as far away as they are, so my shots on those targets aren’t accurate and my scores are low. I constantly work to judge those targets more accurately.”

Traveling

Andy Callaway Rich Callaway 3-D archer

Andy Callaway said following in dad, Senior Pro Rich Callaway’s, footsteps helped him become a pro archer. Photo: Shannon Rikard/ATA

“My dad and I have traveled together to tournaments for 15 years, and I still love it,” Callaway said. “I wouldn’t have the relationship with him today if it weren’t for archery. He introduced me to archery and I just knew I wanted to go pro. Learning from him and following in his footsteps has helped me get to this level.”

Advice

When advising archers who hope to go pro, Callaway says to have fun and practice hard.

“It’s difficult, but you have to keep a positive mindset and know the hard work from practice will pay off,” he said. “You also have to have fun. As soon as you don’t have fun, everything will tumble down.”

What’s Next?

Callaway’s goal for the 2015 season is to earn a podium spot. To do this, he must finish in the top five during two days of competition at an ASA Pro/Am or Classic tournament, compete against four other pros in the Pro Pressure Point Shoot-Down, and finish in the top three.

After a few weeks off, Callaway will return to the range, working toward that podium finish.

Interested in archery? Check out Learn Archery and 5 Fun Ways to Get Started in Archery Right Now!

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