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Lucky Dog Wins Vegas Championship Title for First Time in History

Posted on 01 February 2016

The lucky dog is the one 899 shooter that wins the honour to compete against the perfect archers for the main prize at The Vegas Shoot. 

The Vegas Shoot: The biggest pro archery event in the world. In 2016, the famous tournament brought in over 3,000 shooters from across the globe. The main event at the three-day competition? The shootdowns in the huge arena, to decide top placings in the championship divisions, who often shoot perfect or close-to over their three shooting sessions.

All archers at Vegas use the recurve, four-centimetre 10-ring during qualification. The shootdowns make use of the World Archery-style compound, two-centimetre 10-ring.

Known for being one of the highest of high pressure shoots, the tension in the arena in 2016 was compounded further by the prestige of the event being the 50th anniversary of The Vegas Shoot and an inflated USD$50,000 top prize for the freestyle men’s championship division. (That’s the same as the World Archery compound men’s category.)

Despite the larger field, the pressure was obvious from the very start of the competition. A surprisingly-low 38 archers remained clean, on a perfect 300, after the first day – and more fell by the end as the weekend progressed. Eventually, with three dropping out of the 900-running on the final end of qualification, only five remained.

The 900 Club at Vegas 2016: Chance Beaubouef, Justin Hannah, Logan Wilde, Reza Zamaninejad and George Ryals.

There would be six to shoot for the win, though. For the ninth year, the freestyle men’s shootdown would welcome the lucky dog. The 899 shooter that beat out all other 899 shooters in an inside-out X10, single-arrow shoot-off. There was 32 archers on one-down in 2016.

The field quickly thinned, until just two remained. It took some time to decide between those two archers, both from Italy: Federico Pagnoni and World Archery Indoor Champion Sergio Pagni. It was Pagni that came out on top. He joined the five finalists in the shootdown arena.

Before 2016, the lucky dog had never won Vegas.

In 2016, that changed.

In one, quick end, the Sultan of Smooth, Sergio Pagni, won Vegas.

He was the only one of the six on the line to shoot a perfect 30 on the small 10 in the first end. All the other shooters but Ryals shot one nine, Ryals shot two – and the two-time outdoor Archery World Cup Champion, Pagni, against the incredible odds, became the first lucky dog to win The Vegas Shoot.

“I stepped out there without pressure,” said Pagni. “I was the lucky dog and I enjoyed my shooting. I was given the opportunity to compete for the title, and I took that opportunity with both hands.”

Pagni was whisked from the stadium, and returned to receive his award on the back of a chariot, on fire, and set against an orchestra of fireworks.

“To win the 50th edition of this tournament is incredible. Here, in the home of compound archery in the USA, the championship just means so much. It’s amazing.”

The four men tied continued to shoot for second place. Hannah dropped first, finishing fifth, then Reza fell away, leaving Logan Wilde and Chance Beaubouef competing for the runner-up spot.

Two ends later, Chance dropped an arrow out of the 10 – and Logan took second.

The freestyle women’s championship round, which translates to the compound women’s discipline under World Archery rules, saw three archers tie on three-down, 897 out of 900, for the lead after three days. Inge van Caspel, from the Netherlands, and USA archers Sarah Lance and Christie Colin went into a three-way shootdown for the podium places.

Inge van Caspel put her first arrow of the tiebreaking contest on the X. Her two opponents did not – they were in the nine. She dropped the second into the 10 as well, but the third was well low, bleeding into the red, but still in.

It was enough.

Christie Colin had shot three nines, landing her third, Sarah Lance two nines and a 10 for second – and Inge’s 29 was good for top in the competition, and the USD$10,000 first prize.

“I didn’t know I’d won,” admitted van Caspel, saying she asked her opponents what had happened after they’d all shot. “I didn’t know the rules and I thought it was big 10. But I looked over and saw Peter [Elzinga] smiling.”

Inge’s last arrow was wide nine, and though her opponents had show big 10s, the trio were scoring on the small, World Archery 10-ring – and she’d taken the match.

“The first two shots were great. My last was bad. It’ll take a few hours to sink in but I’m really happy. To be here and show everyone how well you can shoot, it’s the best thing.”

Jackie White took down the senior compound championship division in a four-way shootdown. The recurve men’s and recurve women’s championships were both won outright over the three days, by Brady Ellison – who also won the Indoor Archery World Cup title on Saturday night in Vegas – and Sim Yeji.

This article was written by Chris Wells. To view the original publication, click here.


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