State JOAD Target Championships 2003
Hosted by Cameron County JOAD
Brownsville, TX
June 14-15, 2003

RESULTS PAGE   Extra Photos

This was the first time for hosting by the Cameron County JOAD, but you couldn't tell by looking either looking at it or experiencing it.  It was great.  The venue was a completely fenced-in area adjacent to the frontage road of the main highway through Brownsville, Highway 77.   This insured that plenty of civilians got an eyeful every time they drove by during the two-day event.  There was a lot of traffic, too, since on one side of the freeway is a large shopping mall with a host of great restaurants, and hotels up and down the close side (the venue actually backed up to one hotel's parking lot!).  Just beside the venue was an 8 screen movie theater, and to the north side was a large circus, complete with elephant rides. You can see the pictures of the big top behind the targets in the pictures below.  If that wasn't enough good stuff, Mexico itself was a mere 10 minutes away (including the border crossing) and several families had a great time shopping and dining "abroad", including yours truly.

In addition, the organizers managed to get front page newspaper photos and several pages of coverage as well as evening news footage on the first day of the event! GREAT publicity for the sport of archery and most unusual in this writer's 6 years of experience attending both state and national events.  Not even the National JOADs have in the past gotten coverage so well, even when they were 30 minutes from CNN headquarters!

The ancient Roman archery goddess Diana (or Artemis if you are Greek)  was surely looking down and protecting the archers this weekend.  Though Friday afternoon there were high winds (25 mph) blowing when we rolled into town, we chose to take the quick drive out to South Padre island and dip toes into the chilly, clean, Gulf of Mexico and walk along the wonderfully clean and nearly empty beaches.  Saturday morning, during field setup, there was very little wind and skies were clear to partly cloudy, a trend that continued till the end of shooting on Sunday around 12:30PM.   By 2PM, the trophies and awards all handed out, the field cleared, Diana then turned loose a huge deluge of several inches in just a portion of an hour!  So it was a great tournament with little wind, decent temperatures, and almost no direct sun to contend with.   A few archers got some fire ant bites, and there were some small thorn bush remnants from the mowing of the field to be aware of.  All in all that makes this one of the best executed Target events in Texas, ever.

While the crew was tallying up the scorecards to determine the winners, a fun shoot was conducted that kept not only the kids busy but also the moms and dads.  Using plain, basic red fiberglass bows with Jazz arrows, each person got ONE shot at "pin the arrow on the picture of the donkey's butt", and just about everyone took a chance, but only a few won the coveted prize of either a kite or a pocket radio!

The organizers provided three  HUGE tents able to house everyone comfortably, including large wooden bleachers (IN THE TENTS).   Four portolets, including one designed for wheelchair access, were handy.  A generator for powering the bright shooting lights as well as a large TV.  This was connected to a video camera with a high-powered zoom, so the audience could actually watch the arrows hitting the target face. One of my favorite features that is common in many Texas shoots - the archers' families were allowed to park their cars just behind the bleachers and tents, so there was no long distance hauling of gear - a MAJOR nice thing when you have kids and gear you are trying to handle. 

The people that put this one on were all very concerned to see that their guests had a good time, a good event, and a real hospitable experience.   They succeeded.  And they are already planning a shoot for next year - bigger and better!  When that time comes around again, plan to attend. 

Click here to view the Brownsville Herald's Article covering the event

Remarks from Rick Stonebraker, judge for the event:

I was delighted to be invited to judge this event in South Texas, actually Deep South Texas. The award for TSAA archery participation goes to the Cameron County JOAD program who have supported TSAA no matter what part of the state the competition was in. Although the Cameron County JOAD Archers have ventured north to Victoria, Austin, College Station and Bay City, only a handful of dedicated archers ventured down to the valley to support their “first” archery tournament. It was a great event run by some dedicated people in the hopes of building archery for the kids in the valley. The Carmichaels get the long-distance award as they traveled 7 and 1/2 hours.

Hats off to Joe Garcia, Greg Garcia, Charlie Leal and Joe Human who did an outstanding job in running this tournament. Through them, the city provided two circus style tents and bleachers. There was plenty of shade and not one person (archer or spectator) had to sit out in the sun. The venue was within 50-yards of the motel which made things mighty convenient. In fact, the location was as good as it gets for an archery event: several other motels were in close proximity, shopping center right across the freeway, a dollar-cinema within walking distance and to top it all off, there was a circus in town on the opposite end of the field. If anyone read my story about the World masters Games when I described a target where giraffes were in the background? Well, this time, we had elephants in the background. This 53-year young veteran of archery still has plenty of kid in him. After making four trips to the circus on Saturday, I was finally able to get there as the show was closing and the elephant trainer/handler gave rides to the kids as they came out of the closing performance. I was waiting first in line. The elephant was a 33-year old named Maria and came from Burma (Southeast Asia). Asian elephants have small ears, African elephants have large ears. The ride did not last very long but it was still pretty cool!

As a veteran archer who has seen or heard it all, I chuckled when I was told that it had not rained in eight months in Brownsville. The morning of the shoot, the skies put down several inches of water but the sun came out when it was time to shoot. Tom Parrish hosted a state championship in San Marcus one year and it hadn’t rained in 18 months. It rained the entire weekend and we got soaked. There was a thought long ago that we should advertise the TSAA state championships as “rain makers” and paint a “divining rod” on the TSAA trailer.

This TSAA State JOAD championship reached International status when three youngsters from Monterey, Mexico came to compete. They saw the event advertised on the web and decided to compete. Everyone enjoyed themselves. Thanks again to the Cameron County JOAD Club for their hosting this fine event. There were many archers who have never shot an outdoor event before this one and are looking forward to the next one already. Three new NAA members signed up at the event. RWS

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