Competitive archery got hit hard by COVID-19 this past year, with safety concerns canceling tournaments around the globe.
Some competitions went on as scheduled, however, providing several great performances captured by video broadcasts. If you haven’t seen the three 2020 events below, make time soon to check them out.
The Vegas Shoot Legends Match
Exhibition matches can be forgettable events few people see. Some just warm up the crowd for bigger competitions. That wasn’t the case at February’s 2020 Vegas Shoot, where World Archery set up an exhibition called the “Legends Match” before its Indoor World Series Finals.
The match pitted two-time Vegas champion Jesse Broadwater of the United States against Sara Lopez of Colombia, who was World Archery’s No. 1 women’s compound archer at the time. Broadwater and Lopez shot a typical World Archery 18-meter indoor match, which meant shooting five ends of three arrows each at targets with a 2-centimeter center ring worth 10 points.
Lopez is a crowd favorite wherever she shoots. Besides her incredible skills, Lopez is known for her smile on the line, and humble emotions when victorious. Broadwater is a well-known stoic. His facial expressions hardly change in victory or defeat, and he usually prevails when the pressure peaks.
In the Legends Match, Lopez shot well, barely missing the tiny 10-ring just five times. Broadwater showed his typical precision, dropping only one point to win, 149-145. That might not sound exciting to watch, but it drew over 560,000 views after World Archery aired it live Feb. 17. That’s more views than all the Indoor World Series matches combined, plus the Vegas Shoot Open Championship finals.
“My two favorite archers going head to head,” one commentor posted on YouTube. “What a dream to watch.”
Watch the 2020 Legends Match here.
2020 ASA Open Pro Shootdown: London, Kentucky
Levi Morgan is widely considered the greatest of all time in unknown-distance 3D competition. Morgan won a record 12 consecutive Shooter of the Year titles through 2018 while competing in the Open Pro division of the Archery Shooters Association. That title honors the archer in each division with the best cumulative score through an entire ASA season. Morgan’s streak ended in 2019, but he reclaimed it with his 13th title in 2020.
At ASA national tournaments, competitors in the four professional classes shoot two days of qualifying scores on 20-target courses. The targets feature a mix of lifelike 3D foam animals at distances out to 50 yards. Archers in the Open Pro division must estimate the distance to each target without a rangefinder.
After the two-day qualifying rounds, the top five pros in each class advance to shoot-downs to determine the podium places. Each archer shoots one arrow at five targets during the shoot-downs. After shooting the five targets, the leader and anyone within 10 points shoot a sixth and final arrow.
Morgan entered June’s 2020 London Open Pro shoot-down with a 2-point lead over Shane Bragg. After completing the five-target shoot-down, Bragg held a 2-point lead.
The scoring rings on ASA targets are worth 12, 10, 8 and 5 points. Another ring scores 14 points, but only during shoot-downs. It’s about the size of a half-dollar coin, and it’s at the edge of the 8-point ring near the 5-point ring, which offers archers a huge risk-reward decision. If they miss the 14 ring, the best they can score is 8 points.
Because he trailed after the five-target shoot-down, Morgan got to shoot his sixth arrow first. As he drew, a wind gust forced him to let down. He drew again and, with a visibly shaking hand on his release, fired an arrow that cut the 14 ring. Bragg then needed a 12 to tie and 14 to win. Bragg went for 14 but missed low, giving Morgan the win.
The shoot-down, which was broadcast by Competition Archery Media, was the ASA’s most-watched 2020 event on YouTube. You can see it here.
U.S. Open Men’s Barebow Gold Match
When the lineup boasts barebow heavyweights John Demmer vs. John Dillinger, you know the event could be a thriller. Listing their titles and records requires pages of text. These good friends are fierce competitors who regularly square off in spectacular tournaments. Their August title fight didn’t disappoint.
The U.S. Open is a sort of a tournament within a tournament because it always immediately follows USA Archery’s Outdoor Target National Championships. The scores shot during two days of competition at the national championships set the U.S. Open’s field. Much like the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, archers square off in head-to-head matches determined by rank. Winners advance. Losers go home.
The men’s barebow archers shoot a 122-centimeter target face from 50 meters. The fight for the 2020 U.S. Open men’s gold medal was a rematch of the 2019 event. A year ago, Demmer tied the score in the last end to set up a one-arrow shoot-off. He then took the title when his last arrow scored a bit better than Dillinger’s.
This year, Demmer and Dillinger squared off for the gold on a windy field. After two ends in which each archer shoots three arrows, they were tied, 2-2. After trading ends again to get to 4-4, they went to a fifth end. Demmer then finished first, shooting a 10 on his last arrow to score 28. Dillinger had to match that 10 to also score 28 and send the contest to a one-arrow shoot-off. He nailed it.
Demmer shot first in the shoot-off, scoring an 8 when his arrow landed left of the gold ring. Dillinger also shot left, but kept his arrow inside the gold for a 9, earning the gold medal and the title of U.S. Open champ. Check out the whole match here.