The largest indoor archery tournament on the East Coast kicks off at noon Thursday, Jan. 26, when the first line commences shooting at the 2023 Lancaster Archery Classic, which runs through Sunday, Jan. 29.
More than 2,500 archers from all over the world are expected to compete at this year's Classic, being held at the massive Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Manheim, Pa.
This number includes nearly 700 young archers who are competing in the Easton Youth & Collegiate Trophy Tournament, which will be held Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 28-29. The Easton event is a separate tournament within the Classic that allows younger archers to get the full Classic experience for a fraction of the cost and time commitment.
Over $300,000 in cash and prizes are up for grabs at the Classic, including the top prize of $20,000 for the Open Pro champion. With contingency money added, the winner of that division could rake in up to $50,000 for the weekend.
The Classic is known as a tournament where the improbable is always possible, due to its unique format. Every archer will shoot a qualifying, 60-arrow round, where a perfect score is 660, since the X-ring counts as 11 points at the Classic.
(Only three perfect 660 rounds have ever been shot at the Classic. All were shot in the Men's Open Pro division. The first was by Reo Wilde in 2009; the second by Braden Gellenthien at the 2019 Classic; and the third was shot at the 2022 event by Bodie Turner, who was 14 at the time.)
Following qualifications, archers are ranked within their respective 17 divisions, so that the top 64, 32 or 16 archers - depending on the division - can advance to head-to-head elimination matches. From those matches, the top eight or four archers from each division will advance to the finals shoot-up rounds.
The shoot-ups are held in a separate area, with spectator seating surrounding two spotlit stages, from which the archers compete. Every finals match will be broadcast live on the Lancaster Archery Supply YouTube channel.
The finals matches start with the lowest ranked archer competing against the next lowest ranked archer. The winner advances to shoot against the archer ranked just above them until someone competes against the top-ranked archer for the top prize.
At the 2019 Classic, Men's Open competitor Tim "The CEO" Hanley became the first archer in Classic history to enter the shoot-up finals as the No. 8 seed, and shoot his way to the title. Hanley's accomplishment proved what many archers love about the Classic, which is that you don't have to shoot perfect. You just have to shoot well enough to stay alive in the competition.
BACK AGAIN FOR 2023
Returning this year for its second run at the Classic is the special target reserved for the shoot-up finals matches only. Those targets include a high-risk, high-reward 12-point scoring ring that measures 1.5cm across. The 12-ring is positioned below the center of the target, on the line separating the 7- and 8-point rings. So a miss will likely result in a score of either 7 or 8 points.
Archers must call the 12-ring before they shoot at it, and they can only call for it once per three-arrow end. Going for the 12 at least gives an archer a chance to make up lost ground or to try to seal a victory. This adds a unique, strategic element to the always-exciting Classic finals.
Also returning with an expanded field is the Easton Youth and Collegiate Trophy Tournament. Just under 500 young archers competed in this event last year, but nearly 700 are registered for this year’s competition.
In this tournament, archers shoot only the 60-arrow round from the standard 18 meters at 40cm target faces. There are no elimination rounds, with trophies going to each division’s first-place finisher, and medals being awarded to the top three archers in each division. Each age class will feature separate competition divisions for Open, Recurve and Barebow archers in both male and female classes. Since the Youth and Collegiate Trophy Tournament is shot Saturday and Sunday, archers who participate in this event also can compete in the full Classic if they want.
Those who cannot attend the Classic can follow all the action from their phones or other devices anywhere in the world. Scores from qualifications and eliminations will be posted live through the Rcherz site here. Live scoring also can be followed during the Easton Youth and Collegiate Trophy Tournament here.
Video coverage updates and stories during qualifications Thursday and Friday, and elimination matches on Saturday, can be found on the Lancaster Archery Supply YouTube Channel and Facebook page.
Full video coverage of the final shoot-up matches Saturday and Sunday can be found on the Lancaster Archery Supply Facebook page, as well as the YouTube channel and the Lancaster Archery Classic homepage here.
(To view the finals coverage from the last Classic, check out the 2022 Classic playlist here.)
Thursday, Jan. 26 - Qualification lines start at noon and 4 p.m. EST
Friday, Jan. 27 - Qualification lines starting at 8 a.m., noon and 4 p.m. EST
Saturday, Jan. 28 - Eliminations begin at 8 a.m., followed by this slate of shoot-up finals:
Senior Open, 1-1:35 p.m.; Women's Open, 1:40-2:15 p.m.; Masters' Open, 2:20-2:55 p.m.; Women’s Masters Open, 3-3:35 p.m.; Youth Male Recurve, 3:40-4:15 p.m.; Youth Female Recurve, 4:20-4:55 p.m.; Youth Female Open, 5-5:35 p.m.; Women's Barebow, 5:40-6:15 p.m.; Barebow, 6:20-7:50 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 28 - Easton Youth & Collegiate Trophy Tournament begins at 2 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 29 - Easton Youth & Collegiate Trophy Tournament begins at 8 a.m.
Sunday, Jan. 29 - Shoot-up finals: Masters' Open Pro, 8-8:35 a.m.; Bowhunter, 8:40-9:15 a.m.; Women's Recurve, 9:20-9:55 a.m.; Olympic Recurve, 10-10:35 a.m.; Youth Male Open, 10:40 a.m.-11:15 a.m.; Men's Open, 11:20 a.m.-12:50 p.m.; Women's Open Pro, 12:55-1:30 p.m.; Open Pro, 1:35-3:05 p.m.
For media inquiries, call P.J. Reilly at 717-575-3039.