A few years ago I was flipping through Eastman’s Hunting magazine while deployed and saw an advertisement for a competition called “Train to Hunt” (TTH). The competition was in its early stages at that point so I couldn’t find too much information about it. I just knew that something with a name like that was something I wanted to be a part of.
The following year had me stateside during two of the TTH qualifiers; my first attempt at TTH was in northern Colorado. Honestly, I completely underestimated the competition. I thought that given my military history and being overly obsessed with hunting, I would be placing high on the scoreboard. I had no idea that there were so many other like-minded hunters out there that cared about their fitness and staying sharp on the archery skills. Needless to say my first qualifier was humbling and I did not earn my spot at Nationals.
I headed north to Wyoming for my second qualifier. Knowing a bit more of what to expect this time I managed to earn my place at the National event. Still not performing to my full potential I knew I needed to step up my training, so I started shooting my bow everyday while maintaining my physical readiness. While at the Colorado qualifier I would meet my future partner for Nationals, Tyler Boschma. At the time Tyler was also a service member and just returned from an overseas deployment earlier that week. Neither of us placed in the top five in Colorado and that was not sitting well with us. Tyler originally from Idaho ended up going even further north, placing for Nationals in one of the Idaho qualifiers. We started entertaining to idea to enter Nationals in the men’s partner division and after much deliberation we decided to go for it as a team. We managed to win all three events taking home the cherished golden cams!
The point of this story is that if you truly think of yourself as a badass , as you work out in your gym with the same people all the time your vision tends to get a bit skewed as to where you actually rank on the fitness totem pole. Some people are happy with just keeping themselves in shape, general physical preparedness and lack any hobbies that would have them wondering how they rate. As for others with the competitive nature, these smaller/larger scale competitions involving people outside of your everyday realm will give you a better understanding of where you sit in the world of your fitness goals. How you place gives you the insight into the validity of your program. Or maybe even a hard lesson learned into your fitness failures and time to hit the drawing board to revamp your current training program.
So if you are a fitness nut with a competitive nature, I suggest you find something like TTH and ENTER! You never know where it may lead. Better fitness. Better appreciation for hunting. Most importantly, by surrounding yourself with like-minded hunters, you are sure to meet some fantastic new friends.