Shooting a bow is fun, but archery enjoyment doesn’t end at the range. It’s also a great spectator sport. Archery fans enjoy watching the best archers in the country — and the world — compete in exciting matches.
Archery’s indoor season is just starting, and you can watch plenty of tournaments in coming months on your computer or TV. Or, you can compete alongside your favorite archers while watching them live and in person.
Archery is unique in that amateurs and professionals can participate in the same events. It’s like getting to shoot hoops with Lebron James or catch passes from Peyton Manning. It’s a cool experience, especially for young archers.
Let’s review archery’s top can’t-miss indoor competitions.
Lancaster Archery Classic, Jan. 26 to 28
Archers visit Pennsylvania’s Amish country each January for one of the sport’s largest indoor events. Professional archers shoot for huge payouts, and amateurs compete for bragging rights.
The format resembles USA Archery events, but the target’s innermost ring is worth 11 points. The surrounding rings are worth 10 points to 1 point. Archers shoot 60 arrows the first day for ranking, which is based on their score. Things get exciting the next two days when archers compete in head-to-head matches. Winners move on and losers become spectators.
Another exciting aspect about the Classic is that it’s one of the few tournaments with barebow competition. These archers don’t use sights or other shooting aids to direct their arrows into the gold.
The whole tournament is broadcast live on Lancaster Archery’s YouTube channel. If you live nearby, you can watch the competition in person. While you’re there, shop Lancaster Archery Supply’s impressive showroom.
The Vegas Shoot, Feb. 9 to 11
The world’s largest indoor event is held each February in Las Vegas. Just like the droves of tourists who visit the city to win big in the casinos, the Vegas Shoot attracts 3,500 archers hoping to win big payouts for their efforts. The event pays out over $400,000 in cash and scholarships, which jacks up the pressure for shooters while making the tournament more exciting for spectators.
The nation’s best compound-bow archers compete in the championship freestyle unlimited division, which pays out $52,000 in prize money. A unique aspect of this division is that men and women compete against each other.
The Vegas Shoot isn’t restricted to pros. It also features amateur divisions called “flights,” which group archers who shoot similar scores. This format means beginners and experts can win some of the event’s large payouts.
You can watch the action on the World Archery YouTube page.
Indoor World Cup Final, Feb. 9 to 11
The Indoor World Cup final takes place alongside the Vegas Shoot. It’s the final stage of the Indoor World Cup circuit, which features the world’s best archers competing in head-to-head matches.
Indoor World Championship, Feb. 14 to 19
The Indoor World Championship takes place every other year in Yankton, South Dakota. Countries send their top three compound- and recurve-bow archers to try to win the “world’s-best” title.
USA Archery Indoor Nationals
This unique tournament is held at various dates and locations, so most archers don’t travel far to participate. Tournament venues across the country host competitors in this national event. This convenience makes the USA Archery Indoor Nationals a popular tournament for experienced and first-time competitors.
This event uses a multicolored target with a gold center, and red, blue, black and white in the outer rings. The rings score 1 to 10 points, with 10 being the innermost circle. USA Archery indoor competitors shoot three arrows per “end,” which is one round of shooting. Check out this video to learn about the scoring rings.
You can watch these competitors by just showing up at one of 342 venues nationwide on the day of the event. You can also watch the finals on YouTube.
NFAA Indoor Nationals, March 10 to 11
The National Field Archery Association hosts its indoor national tournament in Cincinnati.
The NFAA target is blue and white, with white in the center circle that’s surrounded by blue outer rings. The rings score 1 to 5 points. NFAA competitors shoot five arrows per end, and 60 arrows per day.
In the professional division, archers often tie with perfect scores, which forces “sudden-death” shoot-offs. The archers line up and shoot until everyone misses the center except one, who wins.
To watch NFAA Indoor Nationals, follow BowJunky on YouTube.
Need to watch an event right now? You can binge-watch the Indoor World Cup videos from Nimes, Bangkok and Marrakesh on World Archery’s YouTube channel.