Gator Cup was at the end of May. Now, we are preparing for USA JOAD Nationals! While at a TOTS (Texas Outdoor Target Series) tournament, parents from two different families approached me and asked if we were going to do an episode on nationals. I thought that was a fantastic idea and text Scott. So, we sat down and recorded a podcast on how to prepare for it. This is going to include a lot of information, but it will help you plan and prepare.
Registration is completed through usaarchery.sport80.com. You will log in using the same information you used for your USA Archery account for USA Archery membership. If your archer is not already a USA Archery member, you will need to take care of that first through the same link above. If you are already a member, you will log in and click the Tournaments tab on the left. To make things easier than what I tried to do, go to the search field, and type in JOAD Nationals. Two options will appear. The first one is for coaches. That is not the one you want. Say you do click on it, like I did. Don’t worry. The program is smart enough that it will not let you enter the kids. You want the second one, 2022 USA Archery JOAD Target Nationals. Early registration for this tournament is open until June 29. Be prepared for the sticker shock. Registration is $190 per archer. After June 29, the fee is $230. Registration closes July 6. All archers will shoot at a single spot target. Remember this program is smart. When you get to the division section, the program will only give you the age categories your archer can compete in. It gives you the age division they are in as well as the divisions above them, in case they would want to shoot up an age division. When looking at the age categories, you will see the new names (U15, U18, etc.), as well as the previous names (Cub, Cadet, etc.). Next is the section for the Team Round. This is optional and free. Following the section for the Team Round is the section for the Kick-off Social. There is a $4 fee associated with this event for a Frios Gourmet Popsicle. My family has not participated in this before. Scott says his family has not either. I am not saying don’t go. I am simply saying we just haven’t, so I do not have much information to offer about it. Last year, I paid, and then we didn’t go. Once done with that page, click Next. This brings you to the page to enter the club you are associated with. Click on that field, and a drop down box will appear with the club you entered when you became a member. Once done with that page, click Next. The question here asks if you require any personal assistance. This involves assistance associated with para archers. Once done with that page, click Next. This brings you to the page for the waiver. Once done with that page, it is time to pay up.
What to Bring
For those who fly, here is a bonus packing tip. We fly with an airline that allows 2 carryon and two checked bags per person. Carryons have our clothes. The bows are checked. A canopy is checked. We have a bag that fits 4 inexpensive, lightweight, small chairs. It is checked.
We drive. Scott’s family does too. Flights cost too much for our families and it is less than 12 hours from Houston. Last year, we drove to Merdian, MS, which is about 8 hours from Houston, and spent the night. The next morning, we had breakfast then drove the last 4 hours to Decatur. Since we drive, I tend to pack a little more equipment. That equipment includes the following:
Why do we bring canopies? There is no shade there, and it almost always rains. A canopy provides shade and a little protection from rain showers. If you do not have room for a canopy, do not worry! Other families on your team, or even other families you meet there, normally have canopies and will welcome you to hang out with them under theirs.
Why do we bring chairs for spectators? The tournament has seating for the archers. They do not provide seating for those watching the archers. Keep in mind that if you have archers competing at different times, you may want to include a chair for the archer who will be watching when not competing.
Prepare for rain. In regards to bows, there is a mom in our team who makes bow covers, or rain jackets for bows. If you do not have a bow cover, bring a giant garbage bag. We have used the giant almost clear garbage bags for leaves or 50 gallon drums. Why do we bring these? These keep the cams, mods, and strings dry. I have bought scope covers from Lancaster (so has Scott), and the kids have lost them. Instead of continuously buying scope covers for $15 each, we have been known to use sandwich bags. Others use grocery store bags. Another thought is to bring an extra pair of clothes in case the archer gets wet. This may include another pair of socks and shoes. The field does not get too muddy, but the entrances to the high traffic areas (entrance gates) and the shooting lines, get pretty muddy. On Amazon, there are shoe covers to help keep shoes from getting wet or muddy. If your archer is accustomed to shooting in rubber boots, that is okay, but not optimum. Archers need to have a solid foundation. Rubber boots do not provide a solid foundation. They tend to be hot, loose, and uncomfortable. They rub ankles and legs. Then the archer’s focus is not longer on their process, it is on those boots.
Spectating is allowed but from a slight distance. Archers are in front of the chain link fence (the tournament sets up canopies for them). Coaches are between the archers and spectators. Spectators must remain behind the fence. You are not allowed to go past the chain link fence for any reason. The archers are allowed to come back to the spectator area, but you cannot go through the gate. Why? The reason is simple, safety. Safe Sport will be there checking all staff and volunteers for their certification. In the past, staff had to wear wristbands showing we were allowed to be on the field of play. Canopies must be set up behind the fence. Last year, our team who had archers compete in the morning would set up tents and leave them for the afternoon families.
Drinks and Snacks
There is a concession stand at the location. The prices were not bad last year. They had burgers, chicken sandwiches, chicken strips, french fries, ice cream, drinks, etc. The had a 2 lines, so the lines will be long during peak times. One line was for cash. The other was for cards. My family took a cooler with water and Gatorade/Powerade/Body Armor and snacks. Having something with a little bit of protein is good. Anything with chocolate is going to melt in the heat. Peanut butter crackers are good. Something that is easy is Skippy peanut butter balls. I got Scott and Ryan hooked on these. Fruit is good. Grapes are easy to carry. Stick some in a baggie and pop it in the cooler. My suggestion is to have a lunch bag cooler for each of your archers. This way they have their “fuel” with them on the line. If they have it with them, they are more likely to consume it.
It is always great to have a set of Allen wrenches. Be sure to get the category you need, standard or metric. You may find yourself like us and need both. Take a set of pliers to pull off broken nocks. Make sure to bring extra nocks. We prefer pin nocks and bushings. They are easy to replace at a tournament and they are better at saving your arrows when they are hit. Are you running a Hamskea rest? Having an extra spring is handy. The kids will need pens for scoring and marking their arrows. Remember that since this is a USA Archery event, all of your arrows and their components must match. Super glue and a torch/lighter come in handy for several different reasons. Q-tips are not just for your ears. Put a package of those in your tool kit. The pointy ones work great for the clarifiers in the peep sights. Lense cloths can be used as well. They just seem to be a little more difficult to maneuver around those pins and dots. If your archers shoot with a lense, make sure they have a few in their quiver. Why? It rains. These come in handy to help dry off lenses. On a side note, make sure they do not move their pins or dots when they clean their lense. What if you forget something? Last year, Lancaster was there with their trailer. We will bring a fletching jig, extra serving and D-loop materials.
Check the D-loop to make sure it is not fraying. If it is, now is the time to change it out. Check the timing. Make sure you have about a dozen arrows.
What to Expect
As soon as you pull into the complex, the first field to your right is the 50 Meter field. If your are shooting 50 Meters, turn to the right and there are about 4 rows of parking that run the full length of the field. This parking is shared with the 70 Meter field. When you turn into this parking area and drive down it, the 70 Meter field will be farther down on the left. The parking kind of sits above that field but is level with the 50 Meter field. As you pull into the complex, there will be parking to the left. That parking is near the 25 and 30 Meter field. If you come in late, you will just need to find a spot somewhere. There will be lines for checking in. There will be lines for equipment inspection. For compound archers, there will be a line for a draw weight check. There will be nerves. Tuesday, 9-4, will be the unofficial practice on the practice field which is between the 25/30 Meter field and the 70 Meter field. Archers will get a feel of where everything is. If you brought a canopy, this is when you set it up. We leave it over night. You are staking your spot. Just take the top off, and lower it down. Wednesday is official practice and mandatory equipment inspection on your competition field. Thursday, 8am, starts the tournament with 3 practice ends. After the practice ends, we will go straight into the qualification round of 72 arrows. A good rule of thumb is, arrive about 1 hour earlier than your scheduled time. Be sure to look at the schedule. When you shoot is determined by what division you shoot. Also, the time you shoot switches day to day. Like other USA Archery events, the shooting lines alternate, A/B then C/D which alternates to C/D then A/B.
For the archers who registered for the Team Round, their scores from the qualification rounds Friday and Saturday, are used to rank them. Once ranked, they will be split into thirds (top, middle, and bottom). After being split into thirds, teams of 3 will be formed by randomly pulling one archer from each third. You do not pick a team. The tournament picks the team. Teams making the podium will receive medals just as individuals in qualifications and eliminations.
USA JOAD Nationals may sound scary, but it is not. In fact, it is loads of fun. So many memories are made. It is a great event to meet new friends. Register. Practice. Pack. Go!
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