The Archer Girl: The Paul Laurence Dunbar Bulldog Classic

Look out Legolas Greenleaf!  Yeah I completely Googled that, I thought the The Lord Of The Rings movies were a good reason to sleep.

As many of you probably already know my love affair with the state of Kentucky is more tragic than a Shakespeare play.  As a native southern Hoosier it is my birthright to take jabs at all things Kentucky.  Sometimes though you come across pockets of the Bluegrass State that aren’t too bad.  I’m more than familiar with Louisville, KY, as I grew up right across the Ohio River from it.  Louisville is a vibrant and a “modern” city that is well worth a visit.  No, I’m not getting reimbursed from the Chamber of Commerce for that compliment!  Also, if you have never had a chance to see Lexington, KY, trust me you are missing out.  Granted it is home to the University of Kentucky, but every city has an eyesore that the can’t get overlooked at times.

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of traveling two hours to visit the self proclaimed “Horse capital of the world”, as it was my weekend with my daughter and we had her first ever archery tournament to attend.  Getting from my home domicile of Madison, Indiana to Lexington, KY isn’t exactly “easy.”  I don’t know if some descendant of Henry Clay was drunk on some of the finest Kentucky bourbon and had a broken Etch-A-Sketch when it came to laying out highways in East Central Kentucky, but good golly! Whoever laid out the roadmap for that part of the state definitely didn’t believe in anything close to a “straight” line when it came to putting down asphalt!   I mean seriously, a Formula 1 driver would struggle to hold a line on some of these roads!  Left, right, left, bigger left, hard right, uphill sharp left, was our path to the bullseye haven known as Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.  Yeah I know he was from Dayton, OH, so I had the research team look into this a little further.  Apparently, mommy and daddy Dunbar were native Kentuckians so henceforth, one of America’s first notable African-American poets is forever remembered in Lexington.

Someone was feeling a little sassy the night before her first tournament!

Thankfully though, when you get through the driving obstacle course you see some of the finest real estate in the country.  I don’t care if you are a horse racing fan or just hate life in general.  The horse farms that dot the countryside outside of Lexington are a sight to behold.  Boooootiful is an understatement!  Hell, I even drove past the farm that American Pharoah resides at, that stud is only the highest paid horse gigolo in the country!  For a mere 200K (USD), your favorite My Little Pony can be bred with this stallion.  

I had never seen my daughter so amped up for something.  She has taken to archery like a bird takes to air.  Once we arrived on the hallowed grounds, I had to take a cursory sweep of the premises to make sure some rogue Kentuckian wasn’t looking to collect a bounty that the governor’s office put out on me years ago.  Besides I had my own little Katniss Everdeen more than ready to show off her archery ninja skills and come to dad’s defense!

Future archer herself, Miss Madison Jr. came along for some step-sister support.

If you aren’t familiar with archery other than what you’ve seen in old Robin Hood movies, it works like this.  Three sets of five arrows from ten meters and then three additional sets from 15 meters.  Showing off some expert marksmanship and hitting the center ring gets you a score of ten, each corresponding ring out from the center decreases by one.  Now if you don’t hit the board at all and say hit a random patron, that will get 5-10 years for involuntary manslaughter.  Thankfully, there was no Monday morning arraignments for my little girl at the Fayette County magistrate’s office.

I think dad was more nervous that she was!

Like bowling, a perfect score is 300.  Unlike bowling, this involves a lot more discipline and sportsmanship.  Plus I’m pretty sure beer league archery clubs forbid the “beer” part.  Skipah’s PSA for the day–don’t shoot arrows if you have been drinking.  Sloane’s first every competition she scored a 172.  From ten meters she was solid, 15 meters not quite as good, but I was proud of her nonetheless.  She’s only been doing this for about six months, and seeing her poised and concentrating when it was her turn had this dad smiling ear to ear!

Sorry about the photo quality, I think I need to talk my wife into letting me upgrade my phone!

Out of 19 girls she finished 11th in the elementary division and was one of the top 12 among boys and girls on her team.  The top 12 is key, because for the team competition the top 12 scores are the only ones that count.  If you are a fellow archery parent, you know those few minutes of watching your kid(s) compete is well worth the waiting and boringness of watching an archery tournament.  Yeah, to quote Tom Petty “The waiting is the hardest part.”  If you don’t have a child participating in it, you are either a talent acquisition scout for Mathews Inc. (no relation, BELIEVE ME, I’ve looked into it), or you really have nothing better to do.  It’s not exactly an “action” sport.

This is archery competition 101 when you are waiting.

About it for now, this could be a weekly feature or not.  I’m not sure yet, but God knows I’ve got plenty of chances to write about it since it will be every Saturday until 2024 I think.  Summers and holidays not included.  That might be a slight exaggeration, but she has tournaments as of now through March of 2018.  Am I looking forward to all the driving, not hardly, but once again sometimes you have to “dad up!”  Although, I wouldn’t miss my daughter taking pride in something like this if I had to drive across the country!

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  1. That was about as smooth as 20 grit sandpaper :). Congrats on the healthy baby again :). So happy for you!

  2. My favorite part of summer camp as a kid. I’d love to do it again now. 🙂

  3. Didn’t know there was an actual word for the part of your arm that gets hurt by shooting arrows! Now your site gets added to my educational sites!

    Give your little sharp shooter congratulations from me. She deserves it!

  4. Really cool to get into archery, makes me want to give it a shot. <— ha ha ha, see what I did there?

  5. You do realize that Lord of the Rings was a book trilogy first? Oh, never mind.

  6. How is she doing with the bruise on the inside arm. It is possible I was rubbish at archery, but my inside arm bruised for weeks. Also just keep in mind Olympics 😉

  7. Pretty great form she’s got there! Great job on the first tourney, though I’m sorry you had to endure Lessington. If she’d have clipped Calipari, there’d have been extra $20 in bow case, from me. Oh, and I see she remembered her string bow. That’s good. Archery coaches are kinda militant about those things. They are helpful though. Muscle memory and form are vital for good shooting. Good luck to get the rest of the way. 😃

    • 172 at that tourney, the last two she scored a 236 and a 226. She finished 7th with a 236 in her age group at that tourney…..but only got out shot by one boy :). She couldn’t find her string bow last week and completely lost her mind for a sec, so I know what you mean about the string bow. I’m debating on letting her aim at an apple on my head to improve her aim :).

Tell Skipah all about it!

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