64 shoot perfect on Vegas’s most successful opening day
The Vegas Shoot, the world’s largest indoor archery competition welcoming nearly 3500 participants in 2017, works slightly differently to regular World Archery events. Compound archers shoot at targets scoring the recurve 10-ring, the larger four-centimetre ring, as 10 points rather than the smaller two-centimetre middle.
It means that the scores are higher and that the aim is Vegas is, especially in the pro rounds, not to miss – and shoot a perfect 900 for the three days of competition.
Those who do not drop a point qualify for the shootdown at the end of the weekend and are in with a chance of competing for a large prize fund. The winner of the championship open category in 2017 bags a tournament-high $51,000 in winnings – which is subsequently bolstered with contingency.
The number of perfect-300 shooters on the first day of Vegas is usually indicative of how many perfect-900 archers there’ll be at the end of regulation on Sunday and, in 2017, it was a record amount.
In the championship open division, 58 archers kept all 30 of their first-day arrows in the 10 ring.
One of those was Sara Lopez, the only female to have entered the newly-opened championship division, now available for entry by both men and women.
“I wanted to challenge myself. In this competition the mental game is essential. It has taken me three months of heavy practice to prepare for this event and shooting against the men,” said Lopez, the world’s number one ranked compound woman.
“It doesn’t matter if I shot 300 on Saturday or Sunday. What I really wanted to prove is that men and women can be at the same level in archery.”
Steve Anderson, another perfect shooter on Friday, told a local Vegas television station that he wasn’t surprised in the slightest that Sara had kept pace over the opening round – highlighting that at the 2015 World Archery Championships in Copenhagen, Sara had shot the highest qualification score of an archer on the field, man or woman.
The 58 clean in the championship division after day one marked a 24-person increase on 2016, when just 34 managed it. In 2015, 47 archers shot 300 on day one, in 2014 it was 45 and in 2013, 41.
The six clean archers in the women’s championship division also marked a high, counting two more than 2016 – even though Sara moved out of the category. Only two women have previously shot perfect 900s over the three-day competition: Mary Zorn in 2010 and Sarah Lance in 2014.
At the 50th anniversary of The Vegas Shoot in 2016, just five championship open competitors (men) shot perfect 900s, then the event was eventually won by the Lucky Dog, top-899 shooter Sergio Pagni. The number of perfect scores marked a decrease from a number that was steadily rising.
Eleven men shot 900s in 2013, 13 in 2014 and 15 in 2015.
Looking at the numbers after day one, 2017 could be the first year in history that the number of shooters on the line for the Vegas shootdown, including the one that wins the Lucky Dog tournament for all archers that drop a single point over the three days, pushes 20.
The fourth stage and final of the 2016/17 Indoor Archery World Cup runs 10/11 February 2017 in Las Vegas, USA as part of The Vegas Shoot on 10-12 February.