Soon after first shooting a bow at age 6, Erika Jones began competing in and winning archery tournaments. Now 25, she’s stamped her passport in locales including China, France and Colombia – all because of archery.
Jones says her favorite event to shoot is her local archery club’s league night because it’s relaxing and fun, but she appreciates opportunities to compete and be an archery world traveler. Want to see her compete live? Watch the live finals from this weekend’s World Cup in Turkey, where she’s currently ranked first.
For the world’s No. 1 women’s compound archer, competing often means winning medals. Jones earned four World Cup silvers in 2013, and earned individual and mixed team gold at the World Games in California. She won the 2013 Longines Prize, an award for most perfect 10s shot in a World Cup event. And in January, World Archery named her the 2013 Female Athlete of the Year.
In response to being named World Archery’s 2013 Female Athlete of the Year, Jones said on her Facebook page:
“Thank you so much to everyone for the outpouring of support! I have come a long way since I started shooting 18 years ago … I remember being a little girl and seeing at a tournament, for the first time, someone with #TeamUSA on the back of their shirt. In that moment, I told myself that someday I would have one. #shootforthestars”
Jones competed in her first national tournament, the NFAA Indoor Nationals, only five months after first trying archery. The next year, she won that tournament. She has secured a place on the Junior or Senior U.S. Archery Team for 14 consecutive years.
According to her biography on sponsor Easton’s website, Jones has:
• Won 40 medals in individual and team events at World Championship and World Cup events.
• Won 50 national championships.
• Established 164 national records and 28 world records.
One of those records was scoring the most points in a women’s qualifying round. Jones scored 595 at the World Archery Indoor Championships in Nimes, France, setting a world record by breaking friend and teammate Christie Colin’s world record by two points.
I just shot a 595 and set a new #worldrecord during the qualifying round of the Indoor World Champs!! My friend and teammate, Christie Colin, held the record for 13 years at 593! I've tied the record several times over the years, so I'm #superexcited to finally have it! #waic2014 #TeamUSA #hoyt #TeamE
For Jones, shooting for the stars means traveling often to compete in up to 25 tournaments from January to September. Here, she talks about how archery has taken her all over the world, and reveals some of her travel favorites.
How often do you travel for archery?
It depends on the year, but usually I have about 22 to 25 tournaments between January and September. During these months, I’m gone more than I’m home. There are some months that I may only be home for seven days or less. Depending on the tournament, I have to be away anywhere from three days to two weeks.
Where is your top archery destination and why?
My favorite archery travel destination is Paris, France. I competed in the World Cup Final there in 2013. I enjoyed the history and culture of the city, and I’ll never forget shooting the competition at the base of the Eiffel Tower.
What is your favorite part of being an archery world traveler?
The best part is getting to see the world and experience different cultures.
What are your travel essentials?
I must have snacks, a good book, a comfortable pillow and headphones to listen to music.
What songs are on your travel playlist?
Most of the music I listen to is country, but I also like pop music.
How do you pass the time when traveling?
I usually sleep, watch movies or read a book.
Have you tried any adventurous food while traveling for archery? Where were you and what did you try?
It’s not really “adventurous,” but every time I go to Turkey I can’t wait to eat baklava, a sweet, flaky pastry filled with chopped nuts and held together with honey or syrup. I could eat it with every meal.
What surprises you most about traveling for archery?
It might surprise others that I am a homebody and enjoy my time at home sometimes even more than being away.
Where would you like to go that you haven’t been before?
I’d like to go to Africa and Australia so I can say I’ve visited all the continents (excluding Antarctica).