OPA Archers fight the wind on the first day of competition

For the first day of competition at the Organization of Professional Archery’s (OPA) Summit Invitational, the wind seemed to baffle a lot of the Men’s Expert archers. They shot on the West Range – everyone else shot the East Range – which features several long-distance targets placed out in the wide open.

This is a golf course on the very top of a mountain, and the two archery courses sit on either side of the peak of the ridge. OPA founders Levi and Samantha Morgan are taking full advantage of the open fairways to increase the challenge to the archers. The slopes add another element of challenge. To give you an idea of how steep things can get here, the property once was used as a ski resort, and the golf course criss-crosses the old ski slopes.

I stood and watched several groups of pros tackle what Levi called the most challenging target on the course – the tree house shot. If you’ve ever seen the TV show Treehouse Masters on Animal Planet, they filmed an episode on the Summit Inn’s golf course, where they built a fabulous tree house about 12 feet off the ground on a steep downward slope. People can rent it for wine tastings and other events.

For the archery tournament, a platform was placed on one of the tree house decks, and archers stand on it and shoot at a Dall sheep 63 yards away. Levi talks about how challenging the shot is in our video. I watched several of the best archers in the world struggle just to shoot a 10 on that target, let alone go for bonus points.

I also spent some time with some guys working the LAS Express at the tournament as they participated in the Manufacturer’s Bowl. It’s a friendly competition among the vendors set up here, and the only prize is bragging rights. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

Invited to this tournament were many of the best spot and 3-D archers in the world. One thing I was interested in was seeing who would prevail in the unique OPA format – 3-D targets with painted bonus rings, placed at known distances out to 80 yards. Would that favor the spot crowd or the 3-D shooters?

At the end of Day 1, I was not surprised to learn that the Men’s Expert leader is one of the few archers who has excelled in both shooting formats – Chance Beaubouef. Here’s a guy who has won three Vegas Shoot titles, he won our own LAS Classic in 2009 and has stood on the podium of many World Archery competitions, in addition to ASA and IBO tournaments.

Can he keep it going through the second day of competition?