Lancaster Archery Classic through the years

The 2017 Lancaster Archery Classic, taking place Jan. 27-29 at Spooky Nook Sports, will be the 14th iteration of this annual event.

The Classic has grown tremendously since its inception in 2004, and is now the largest indoor archery tournament on the East Coast.

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January’s event is shaping up to be the best and biggest yet, with over 1,000 archers expected to compete at our new venue – the T.R.U. Ball/Axcel Hall in the Spooky Nook Sports Complex. At nearly three-quarters of a million square feet, Spooky Nook features 17 acres under roof, 40 vendor booths and on-site restaurants and lodging. Archers will compete in 15 divisions for over $100,000 in prize money, including the top payout of $15,000 to the Men’s Open Pro champion.

Register now.

With the 2017 tournament closing in, we thought we’d take a trip down memory lane to revisit facts and information about the Classic from the past 13 years.

According to LAS president and founder, Rob Kaufhold, the Classic began as a fun and creative way for LAS to show our appreciation to archers for their loyal business. That first event in 2004 drew 116 archers, who competed in five divisions – Men’s Unlimited, Women’s Unlimited, Men’s Recurve, Women’s Recurve and Limited – on the ranges on site at Lancaster Archery Supply’s longtime home at 2195-A Old Philadelphia Pike.

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LAS president and founder Rob Kaufhold spends a lot of time on the mic at the Classic.

Just one year later, the separate classes for Men’s and Women’s Recurve were combined so all recurve archers shot against one another, and a new division for Bowhunters was added. In 2006, the Recurve division was combined with Compound Limited.

A Masters division for archers age 50 and older was added in 2007, and the Classic offered competitions in Men’s Unlimited, Women’s Unlimited, Bowhunter, Masters and Limited classes for five years. All through those years, attendance climbed – from 224 in 2007 to 306 in 2011.

For 2012, recurve archers had their own division restored in a combined male-female class. In 2014, a Youth Open division was added, and it drew 38 young archers. Also added was a Senior class for archers age 60 and older. That same year, the Limited class was dropped, as shooting compounds with fingers continued its fall out of popularity in the archery world.

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A Limited class for archers shooting compound bows with fingers, was part of the Classic through 2013, but was dropped in 2014.

The 2014 Classic was the last one held at LAS facilities. With 489 competing archers, the event had outgrown its home, and so tournament organizers went hunting for a larger, off-site venue for 2015.

That year, the Classic was held at Lancaster Host Resort, which was capable of accommodating 1,000 archers. In anticipation of increased attendance, the competition divisions went through an overhaul.

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The Unlimited divisions were renamed Open, and, for the first time, professional archers were separated from the amateurs. So there were Men’s, Women’s and Masters’ Open divisions for both pro and amateur archers. Also, the Recurve division was divided into Men’s and Women’s classes and a Barebow Recurve division was added. A total of 848 archers competed that year.

For 2016, the Classic moved again to an even larger venue at Lanco Fieldhouse, and the Youth Open division was divided into Male and Female classes. Despite an historic snowstorm that saw an all-time record 30 inches of snow fall right in the middle of the tournament, the event grew again to 933 competitors.

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The 2017 Classic is being planned for the massive Spooky Nook Sports complex at 75 Champ Blvd., Manheim, Pa. It’s capable of accommodating 1,356 archers. Added are the Youth Male and Female Recurve divisions.

What makes the Classic a unique and fun event is its Olympic-style bracket competition. Every archer shoots a qualification round, which results in rankings among the top qualifiers for head-to-head competition until a winner is declared. Under this format, you don’t have to be perfect in qualification. You just have to shoot well enough to qualify for the head-to-head bracket, and then hope to beat each of your opponents in 12-arrow matches.

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Linda Ochoa Anderson shoots during an elimination match.

Still, the Classic brings out the best shooting from the best archers in the world. There have been two perfect rounds shot during qualifications. Both were shot by archers in the Men’s Unlimited/Open Pro class.

Jesse “The Freakshow” Broadwater posted the first in 2005, with a 630. Back then, qualification consisted of shooting 30 arrows at a five-spot, NFAA target face, for a perfect score of 300. Archers then shot 30 arrows at a three-spot Vegas face, where the center X-ring is counted as an 11, for a perfect score of 330.

The second perfect round was shot by Reo Wilde in 2009. He shot a 660 under the current qualification format, which requires archers to shoot all 60 arrows at a 40-cm face, with the center X-ring scoring 11. That X-ring is about the size of a nickel, and all of Wilde’s arrows hit it.

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Reo Wilde shot a perfect qualification score in 2009.

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Current target faces used at the Classic.

There have been three rounds shot since 2004 in which an archer dropped just 1 point. All were shot in the Men’s Unlimited/Open Pro class under the current qualification format, so they scored 659. Those were shot by Scott Starnes in 2012, Jesse Broadwater in 2014 and Josh Schaff in 2015.

Reo Wilde has won the most Classic titles, capturing the Men’s Unlimited championships in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Jesse Broadwater is the only three-time winner, claiming titles in 2005, 2013 and 2014.

The Women’s Unlimited/Open Pro division boasts four, two-time champions – Christie Colin in 2005 and 2009, Jamie Van Natta in 2007 and 2008, Erika Anschutz in 2010 and 2012, and Sarah Lance in 2014 and 2016.

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Sarah Lance won her second LAS Classic title in the Women’s Open Pro division in 2016.

Surprisingly, Brady Ellison – one of the most decorated archers in U.S. history, with two team silver and one individual bronze Olympic medals and numerous World Archery indoor and outdoor titles under his belt – has never won the LAS Classic Men’s Recurve division. He has, however, finished in second place three times – 2013, 2014 and 2016. Ellison’s incredible 2016 qualifying score of 643 is the record for the division, and would have qualified him for the finals in the Men’s Open Pro division.

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Brady Ellison, right, congratulates 2016 LAS Classic Men’s Recurve Champion Sean McLaughlin.

Aside from the Men’s Open Pro and Men’s Recurve divisions, here are the record qualifying scores in each of the Classic divisions:

Women’s Open Pro – 652, shot by Sarah Lance in 2011 and Jamie Van Natta in 2013.

Masters Open Pro – 651, shot by Duane Price in 2014 and Doug Monteleone in 2015.

Men’s Open – 653, shot by Ryan Locke in 2015 and Travis Gesell in 2016.

Women’s Open – 652, shot by Madison Rutkowski in 2016.

Masters Open – 639, shot by Matt Setzer in 2015 and Daniel Deterline in 2016.

Senior Open – 640, shot by Carl Wenk in 2016.

Youth Open Male – 656, shot by Jacob Slusarz in 2016.

Youth Open Female – 632, shot by Gracie Detamore in 2016.

Bowhunter – 651, shot by Darrin Davis in 2011 and Jeff Human in 2012.

Womens’ Recurve – 603, shot by Mackenzie Brown in 2016.

Barebow Recurve – 582, shot by John Demmer in 2015.

Will any records fall at the 2017 Classic?

Time will tell.

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