ATA Trade Show to Record-Breaking Numbers

Posted by Amy Hatfield on January 16, 2014 in Trade Show2014 ATA Trade ShowA record-setting total of 1,047 retail and distribution buying companies represented by a near-record 3,193 individual dealers, distributors and buyers attended the show, which is good news for the business value of the event. Photo: Shane Indrebo

“We all wait with anticipation as major bow manufacturers…release their newest products at the ATA Show in January each year. This year it’s no different…trust us, there’s plenty to drool over.” – Petersen’s Bowhunting

It’s been dubbed the “big show for the bow,” and that rings true as a rallying cry for the annual ATA Trade Show, but it’s also a million other things.

For starters, it’s like a “second Christmas.” At least that’s what many eager retailers called the event through comments and posts on their shop’s social media accounts. Yet, the 2014 ATA Trade Show, held in Nashville, Tenn., at the newly constructed, downtown Music City Center, remains — first and foremost — a business opportunity for thousands of ATA members.

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Keeping Your Equipment Dry

NB 2013 1 546All weather conditions present various challenges for competing as my earlier blog about weather can attest. If you have been shooting for some time, you probably already have experienced what the weather can do to your equipment. The rain, or any adverse weather, can have some undesired long-term effects on your bow.

Rain is especially tricky as it can get into all kinds of small places that you would never even expect like inside your string, inside your plunger or other various tiny screw holes. It can even impact the inserts for your limbs. If ignored, rust can form and make things very difficult to adjust in the future, which can lead to a lot of work to fix or money to replace.

peeledRain can also create havoc during competition with your equipment like impacting plunger performance, making your handle slippery, and it can even impact limb reaction speed. However the most common and problematic is with your sight. Besides the potential of additional weight on the arrows, impacting your sight marks, there is the potential of faded sight marks or the sight mark tape losing adhesive and peeling completely off.

Although shooting in the rain is unavoidable for any competitive archer, there are a few things you can do before, during and after a rainy competition.

Pre-Competition

  • String: Make sure your string is waxed
  • Handle: Add grip (adhesive or wrap) to the handle
  • Pack: A Towel, Small Tarp, Plastic bags, Umbrella, Footwear, etc…

During Competition

NB 2013 1 437

  • Before Each End:
    • String: Pluck your string to remove any accumulation of water.
  • Between Ends
    • Sight : Protect your sight with a Ziploc or small plastic bag when not shooting
    • Bow: Store your bow under a tent, tarp or umbrella
    • Finger Tab: Store your finger tab in a dry place.
  • During Breaks
    • All Equipment:  Use a towel to dry off all surfaces

Afterwards

  • String: Pluck the string before taking it off the bow.
  • All Metal and Plastic Equipment: Thoroughly dry off all surfaces and meticulously towel dry all small parts of your bow including sight, limb fittings, plunger, any screws, etc..
  • All Other Material Equipment: Take a hair dryer to your finger tab, sling, arm guard etc…
  • Bow & arrows: Towel dry each arrow shaft and dry your feathers.

Personally, I love shooting in the rain, it can be lots of fun if you are in the right mindset. So, if you are prepared, all you need to do enjoy it.

Competition Baby Powder

This past weekend, I participated in the Ontario Spring Classic held at Woodlands Park in Toronto, Ontario. Toronto just happened to have very hot and humid weather during the tournament.

Heat and humidity can affect your arrow flight. Humidity can cause your arrows not to spin as quickly leaving your shot grouping lower since they do not gain as much distance. Heat affects the archer too with hot and sweaty hands. Sweaty hands affect your grip on the bow possibly changing your point of power and the heat causing your hands to swell which in turn affects your feel for the string in your fingers. Check out my previous blog about other effects of various weather conditions.

 Weather is a great metaphor for life – sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, and there’s nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella.  -Terri Guillemets

This year I packed baby powder, something that every competitive archer needs to bring with them to every outdoor competition.

A little baby powder on your…

…under your anchor point will help allow your hand ride along your chin smoothly

…inside of your string arm keeps your arm from becoming too sticky keeping your draw and release smooth.

…bow hand helps deal with sweaty hands that can affect your grip of the bow

… string fingers to allow your fingers to have a good grip on your finger tab making it easier to control your drawing and releasing of the string cleanly.

…cheek bones under your eyes, if you wear glasses or sunglasses, will help prevent them from fogging up.

The Ontario Spring Classic is a two-day tournament with high-performance archers including past, current and future Olympians hopefuls with the winner in each category receiving $500.00 prize money. This open tournament is a great way to measure your development against some of the best archers in Canada. If you are ready to take the next step in competition in Canada, I suggest you plan on attending next year and pack a little baby powder just in case.

Drying Feathers

Now that we are in the outdoor season there is an opportunity to shoot in all kinds of weather. Weather itself effects the way we shoot, and you can read my earlier blog about different weather conditions and their effects on shooting. As competitive archers, we love our equipment. We have invested time, money, and countless hours in finding the perfect setup for us. So,once the tournament is complete we need to care for our equipment. We need to have our equipment in perfect condition for the next tournament.

Perfect shooting conditions rarely require additional maintenance, however not all tournaments are shot in ideal conditions and rain has the potential to do the most damage if not dealt with immediately since metal rusts, wood warps and fletching matte.

Once out of the weather, take the time to properly and thoroughly dry all your equipment. Using a clean dry cloth, wipe down your limbs, riser and stabilizer. Carefully dry your sight making sure not to lose your sight marks or damage your scope. If you use a spotting scope or binoculars make sure no water has damaged or fogged up the lens.

Finally, carefully dry your arrows by wiping the shafts dry. Plastic Vanes can be dried using a clean dry cloth however feather fletchings will need to be air dried so that are not squished. If your fletchings, plastic or feather, are matted, you need to open them up again and allow them to air dry by following the following guide:

How to dry your feathers

You will need: your arrows, a pot, water, and an oven/stove

  • Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil
  • Hold each arrow’s fletching over the steam
  • Patiently wait for the fletching to start to open up. Remember the fletchings will open the rest of the way as they dry.
  • Place the arrow in a clean dry spot with the points facing down until dry.
  • Repeat for all your arrows and turn off the stove.

Taking the time after a rainy tournament to attend to your equipment, can save you money and grief.

Weather Conditions

For outdoor tournaments, it has been my experience that organizers only cancel archery tournaments for lightning and tornadoes.  Therefore, as an archer, you have to shoot through a wide variety of weather conditions. Although wind is a common troubling weather condition for all archers there are many other types of conditions can also adversely affect your shots at any given tournament.

SUNNY

 “A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.” Steve Martin

Most people would think that a bright sunshiny day would be the ideal conditions for shooting outdoors and this is “usually” the case. However, it depends on how the target field has been setup. If the sun is behind the target, then you can have the sun shining directly into your eyes, which it not that ideal. If the sun is directly behind you and the target has a reflective surface you have the same effect.

Sun reflects off everything, so if it is bright in your eyes you need to protect your eyes with a brimmed hat or sunglasses.  Although most tournaments try to abide by the rules about direct and reflective sunlight it is not always possible.

WINDY

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”  Jimmy Dean

The wind conditions are something every archer needs to watch. They are completely unpredictable and can quickly change speed, direction and location.  Windy conditions can be a nightmare for young archers who have a lightweight bow or low draw-weight for different reasons.  Lightweight bows sometimes can become a sail, catching the wind, creating a constant fight to keep it steady and aligned. Low draw-weight bows usually force the arrows into a greater arch to reach the same distance; therefore, they are in the air longer and more affected by strong winds.

Quick Tip: Check the trees, grass, and flags to understand the wind through your shooting plane.

Most archers need to be patient when shooting in high winds and wait for as long as possible for low winds. Remember, the more you practice in different kinds of winds the more you learn about how they affect you.

RAINY

“Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain”Unknown

Unlike wind, which can blow your arrows off the target, rain only adds weight to the arrow and causes the arrow to fly a little lower.  Try to remember to keep strong through the entire shot and aim a little high. If your shots were weaker than normal, the rain will make that mistake 10 times more noticeable than it would be in clear weather conditions and produce lower scores.

HOT AND HUMID

“I like to play long matches and in hot weather. Those are my conditions. I like it hot because it’s bad for other players. A lot of them don’t like it hot.”Yuliana Fedak

Most new archers do not think about humidity affecting their arrows however, if the air is heavy it can cause varying effects. If it is very humid, it can cause your arrows not to spin as quickly leaving your shots grouping lower since they do not gain as much distance.

The heat affects the archer too with hot and sweaty hands. Sweaty hands affect your grip on the bow possibly changing your point of power and the heat causing your hands to swell which in turn affects your feel for the string in your fingers. Another possible affect is quicker dehydration resulting in loss of energy that is extremely bad for any endurance athlete. Therefore, in the heat it is important to know how you react in the heat and humidity and know how to keep cool.

FOGGY

“It is not the clear-sighted who rule the world. Great achievements are accomplished in a blessed, warm fog.” Joseph Conrad

Shooting in the fog can be one of the most difficult and dangerous weather conditions. Whenever you are unable to see the target or able to review the shot and compensate it can be extremely trying on your patience and self-esteem. Some archers absolutely refuse to shoot in the fog with associated dangers and for fear of loss of arrows and the associated costs.  If you choose to continue to shoot in the fog focus on hitting the target and understand that tight grouping of your arrows can be a real problem.

Quick Tip: Numbering your arrows and tracking your arrows can help so you can adjust your shots.

COLD

“It doesn’t matter if the water is cold or warm if you’re going to have to wade through it anyway” Teilhard de Chardin

Although outdoor tournaments are rarely held during frigid weather with conditions of snow or hail, it can be very cold in the morning at the start of a tournament in the spring or fall.  Muscles tend to tighten up and you can injury yourself if you do not properly warm-up or wear appropriate clothing. Make sure you are appropriately dressed in layers that can be shed as the day warms up.

“I don’t see pitches down the middle anymore – not even in batting practice.” Hank Aaron

It takes time to figure out what happens to your shots in the different types of weather conditions; therefore, it is important to practice a lot, in all types of weather, to prepare for not so ideal weather conditions.

 “Practice is the best of all instructors.” Publilius Syrus

Thanks to Luke Pacholski for the use of his web images

Importance of Footwear

Shooting requires a good strong foundation therefore comfort and stability as equally important, so you need proper footwear to be successful. When shooting indoors, you need to make certain you are comfortable in the shoes or boots you wear.  Since indoor floors are level, you are able to distribute your weight evenly on your feet, the important things to remember include good arch support, low or minimal heel and lightweight.

Shooting outdoors presents various challenges including weather, location, and safety. Various types of tournaments with various types of weather create different types of obstacles for archers. For target archers who shoot on a relatively level field, the weather is the largest factor. An archer needs comfortable footwear however they also should be prepared for bad weather and/or wet ground to trek through.  You do not want to be stuck shooting in wet feet for several hours; therefore warm, dry feet should be the priority. Rain boots or waterproof footwear are recommended.

If you choose to participate in field and/or 3D tournaments, you are often trekking through the woods and shooting on uneven ground. Once you add in weather conditions, you might have to deal with mud, puddles, slippery conditions as well as bush, vermin and insects. I would recommend you invest in a good set of waterproof boots or Gore-Tex hiking boots. Boots help protect the foot and ankle from brush, and provide traction on uneven or muddy ground. A shoe covering that goes over the ankle is recommended in any place that wood ticks can be present.

Therefore, for outdoor shooting things to consider depending on the types of tournaments you choose to participate in, are comfort, good arch support, low or minimal heel, lightweight, warm, waterproof, breathable, good traction and decent quality. A good quality shoe or boot will help with your posture and in turn improve your scores.

Also, remember to practice frequently in all your different footwear, since every pair can have a slightly different fit and have a different feeling during shooting. A tournament is not the time to be adjusting to a new set of shoes.

The Perfect Hat

There have been many different studies on the use of a hat during athletics.  There are two trains of thought, some feel wearing a hat outdoors may reduce the level of thermal stress by limiting the amount of solar radiation to the head, but others feel that covering the head may also impede convective and evaporative heat loss during extreme heat.

In my opinion, it is very important for an archer to wear the proper hat while shooting. A light brimmed hat helps protect your from the sun so you do not burn and more importantly provides shade to your eyes so you can see the target while you are at full draw.  In rainy conditions, a brimmed hat has the additional benefits of keeping your head dry and protecting your glasses from raindrops.

It is important to find a hat that not only feels right and looks good but also does not interfere with the bowstring. For compound archers, their bows have a narrower string angles at full draw that enables them to choose hats with a larger brims such as a baseball cap. For most recurve archers the bowstring angle is much wider, and therefore they will need to choose hats with a shorter brim.  A lot of recurve archers choose to use a bucket hat similar to the hat Gilligan wore on the 60’s popular TV show.

Finding the perfect hat for you is not always easy and may require some trial and error. Remember, the hat should have some shade protection for your eyes, some sun protection for your head, it needs to fit right, and feel comfortable, somewhat breathable, and most important not interfere with your bowstring.  Even if you choose not wear a hat regularly while shooting, you should always have one with you, just in case.

Rain, Rain go away…

For some archer’s rain can be a real pain, since it is not like shooting under a calm clear blue sky. However, for those archers who prepare and train for it, it is an awesome opportunity to excel.  To be prepared for shooting in the rain, there are only three things to prepare and train for; arrow flight, keep your equipment dry as possible, keep warm, and dry.

Unlike wind, which can blow your arrows off the target, rain only adds weight to the arrow and causes the arrow to fly a little lower.  Try to remember to keep strong through the entire shot and aim a little high. If your shots were weaker than normal, the rain will make that mistake 10 times more noticeable than it would be  in clear weather conditions and produce lower scores.

Dry equipment is just easier to work with, it functions better and is easier to draw and hold. Keep your equipment under your tent or umbrella while you are not shooting. Towel-dry your bow, arrows and your hands between ends.

  • Quick Tip:  Keep a small dry piece of cloth in your quiver so when you go and get your arrows from the target you can dry the shafts of the arrows to help you remove them for the target easier.

For any type of athletics, it is more important to keep warm even if you get wet. You can use good waterproof jacket, however make sure it does not interfere with your bow arm rotation, you are able to draw back your bowstring, and it does not get in the away of the string. Otherwise, wear several layers of shirts and a form-fitting sweater that you can shed. Make sure you have dry clothes you can change into between ends and afterwards.

  • Quick Tip: Get a light waterproof zip-up sport jacket and wear it with your bow arm exposed and the arm pinned out of the way. This way you will at least be warm and dry everywhere else.

Remember, that you can avoid a poor performance by being be prepared, and the advantage of being prepared for those unexpected weather conditions such as rain can help give you a great opportunity to excel.

MK Archery Vera Limbs

Every bow requires limbs, most beginner, and some intermediate bow kits come with limbs. If an archer moves towards competition archery, they will want to upgrade this essential element. Designers of limbs strive for an ideal combination of speed, stability and smoothness when deciding what materials to use and how to combine them.

Modern recurve limbs are made from multiple layers including fiberglass, carbon and/or wood and usually are laminated over a core of wood or carbon foam. A good archer will be able to shoot well with any good set of limbs, no matter the composition and elite archers often have a selection of various types for different training purposes, they usually gravitate towards one.

Foam-core limbs are more resistant to warping, are usually lighter and are not affected by humidity and/or weather conditions. They provide a consistent straight smooth pull curve and a faster shot. Carbon foam-core limbs are usually a lot more expensive and require a lot care. Archers need to inspect and repair even minor imperfections as they can lead to massive failure. Whereas, Wood-Core Limbs are usually far less expensive than foam-core, and are usually more durable. Although they usually have, a little more mass weight they can deliver a slightly higher speed with the same poundage as foam-core limbs.

Manufacturers produce limbs in various strengths or draw weights to service all types of archers and are measured in poundage (#) at a certain draw length (usually twenty-eight inches) and by length of risers.

Example is 66”-34# @ 28” or 68”- 32#@28”

Since not all archers have the same draw length, the same limbs will be different for each archer. The same set of 34# limbs for an archer with a 24” draw length will pull less than 34# and an archer with a greater than 28” draw will pull more than 34#. You can easily determine your draw weight using a bowscale at your local archery shop.

Limbs also come in various lengths that will determine the overall length of the bow which may be a factor for shorter archers.  This chart can help you determine which length to order.

Riser Size Long Limbs Medium Limbs Short Limbs
23” 68” 66” 64”
25” 70” 68” 66”

Limbs use to be designed specifically for the manufacturers riser and once you purchased a riser you were bound to that manufacturer for limbs or you would have to change both limbs and riser. Now most manufacturers use International Limb Fittings or ILF and are an unofficial standard that allow limbs manufactured by different companies to fit on the various risers.

There are several great manufacturers of limbs and in 2010 MK Archery started producing a great set of competition limbs.  Currently holding world records in recurve men with scores of 1386 for FITA and 342 for 90M. The two top of the line models are the MK 1440 (foam-core) and VERA (wood-core).  The limbs are made from multiple crossed carbon layers, laminated over a foam or wood core. If you are seriously considering investing in a good set of limbs, consider some from MK Archery.

Dress for Success

In other blogs I have talked about having the right bow equipment when shooting.  Clothing is important piece equipment that needs to fit properly.  Any clothing that you wear would vary depending on the weather and where you shoot.  If you are in a cold room you may want long sleeves on or a sweater on when shooting to keep you warm, or if you are in a warm area you may want to wear a T-shirt or a tank top on to keep you cool.

It is very important to remember that any shirts or sweaters that you are wearing when you are shooting must not interfere with the string when shooting.  The sleeves of these shirts have to be fairly well fitted to avoid interference, but the shirt still has to be loose enough for you to rotate your shoulder when drawing back on the string.

Regardless of the weather, every tournament has a dress code. This dress code usually revolves around common sense and generally states that you must wear solid colours, nothing that says anything inappropriate, and clothing must cover the  body to be respectable.  Check with your local, provincial, national and international rules to verify any clothing requirement before attending any tournaments.