Local club competitions are the backbone of the competitive archery scene. What’s more fun than shooting with friends or family at an event where having a good time is emphasized more than competition? But these events are also where most competitive archers get started in the game. How many top-level archers started out shooting at local events, got bitten by the competitive archery bug and then took their game to the next level? The answer is “many.”
Problem is, small, local archery events near home can be difficult to find. The organizations that hold these tournaments — 3D, indoor, field — generally aren’t the best at advertising them, and so it’s easy to miss them even when they are scheduled.
But we have a system for finding local competitions that works pretty well regardless of where you live. It will help you sniff out events and plan a schedule in advance that could allow you to shoot somewhere close to home every weekend, all year long.
Unfortunately, there is no central website or database where club-level events across the country are recorded. The Archery Shooters Association (ASA), International Bowhunting Organization (IBO) and National Field Archery Association (NFAA) are all national organizations that have local club affiliates. So going through those organizations to find local member clubs near you is a good way to start your search.
But let’s be honest — this route might not yield any local results for you because there are many more local clubs and organizations that are not associated with any national organizations than there are affiliated groups. So, talk to anyone you know who shoots a bow and arrow and ask them about local tournaments they might know about. Ask them to check with their friends as well. The goal is to cast as wide a net as possible among the people you know, and the people they know.
Stopping by your local archery retailer is a must. If you’re not sure where that is, Archery 360 has a pretty extensive database of local archery retailers all over the country. The people who work at and frequent local archery shops are going to know where to find local competitions. Pay particular attention to the shops that are known to cater to target archers. They’re going to be especially tuned in to the local target archery scene.
All of the avenues we’ve mentioned will produce for you names of clubs and shooting organizations in your area. Keep a running list of these organizations, and then search the internet for their websites and/or social media pages. Often, these are the only places where these organizations advertise their events.
A small club in Pennsylvania puts on monthly 3D tournaments from April through September. The club has no website, but it does have a Facebook page. Once each year in late winter, the club posts on that page its schedule of events for that year. And that’s it. That, and word of mouth, is the extent of their advertising, yet they have a decent turnout at all of their competitions. You have to know someone who is tuned in to their schedule, or you have to look in the right place to find it.
The good thing about finding local tournaments is that it gets easier the more you find and the more you attend. Once you get into the local club-tournament scene, you’re suddenly surrounded by club archers who know where to find the local events. As you attend events, ask other participants about other local tournaments. Before long, you’ll be able to put together a schedule of various archery events in and around the area where you live.