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What is ASA in Archery?


If you are interested in archery and 3D archery, in particular, you’ll have undoubtedly come across the term “ASA” before. Some people who are new to the 3D Archery scene might not know what that is.

So, what does ASA stand for?

In archery, ASA stands for the Archery Shooters Association and this organization puts on hundreds of 3D Archery tournaments each year. Members pay an annual fee and ASA is one of the fastest-growing archery organizations.

There two basic levels of ASA: the National level and the State level. The National level is called the McKenzie ASA Pro/Am Tour and the State level is called the ASA Federation.

Many archery clubs around the country are certified by ASA and these clubs will host the vast majority of the ASA 3D tournaments.

Each year ASA holds 3D archery tournaments from February to August and the winners win cash!

What is an ASA Qualifier?

An ASA Qualifier is what you compete in at your local State level.

ASA Qualifiers consist of at least 1 round of 20 3D targets, or more, set up so that an archer can complete the course in 1 day.

Archers compete in groups that can either start in a casual, staggered manner one group after another or it can be a “shotgun” start. A “shotgun” start is where all groups start at the same time from different target station.

Rangefinders are permitted for the Known distance targets but not for the Unknown distance targets.

The distance for Unknown targets must be judged by each individual archer as they approach to take their shot. This tests their skill, especially as a hunter.

The same Known and Unknown format matches that classes set up in the ASA Pro/Am. This means that archers can move between State and National competition levels in their own class without any confusion.

For example, if I compete in the Barebow Recurve class at my State ASA Qualifier, then I can compete in the Barebow Recurve class in the ASA Pro/Am Tour. Likewise for Open Pro and all the other classes.


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In order to compete in a State ASA Championship, you ave to qualify. This is done by you competing in the ASA Federation State or Multi-State Qualifier for the same State where you want to compete in the championship.

For example, if you compete in a State Qualifier in Alabama, you will then qualify to compete in the Alabama ASA Championship.

If you want to compete in the championship in Texas, then you have to compete in an ASA Qualifier in Texas.

n schedule an event at the same time as another club within 100 miles radius of each other.

You can find the most current list of ASA events by State here.

What is the McKenzie ASA Pro/Am Tour

Unlike an ASA Qualifier, each ASA Pro/Am consists of 2 rounds of 20 3D targets over the course of 1 day or 2 days. Each round is a “shotgun” start.

The McKenzie ASA Pro/Am Tour is a series of 5 or National ASA tournaments that are hosted at different locations around the United States. Competition is open to all ASA members in good standing.

These events include:

  • Hoyt Pro/Am
  • Black Eagle Pro/Am
  • Easton Shootout
  • Mathews KY Pro/Am
  • McKenzie ASA Classic,

The location of these events changes slightly from year to year but there consistent location include Foley, AL, Paris, TX, London, KY, Metropolis, IL, and Cullman, AL. Each year, ASA publishes the location and dates of these events and you can find the complete up-to-date list here.

The competition starts with all groups being at their assigned starting target minimum 15 minutes before the “shotgun” start. Each group is no more than 6 archers but it is recommended the group size be 5 for an easier flow.

They also publish the Tour Guide which is a complete brochure pamphlet with all the information you could possibly need to attend these events. They even include what you can expect for weather conditions, shooting conditions on the range, and hotels to stay at during the event.

How is ASA Archery Scored?

Scoring in ASA is the same for both Federation (State) and Pro/Am levels. All targets are supplied by Delta McKenzie Targets

Each arrow is scored based on where it hits the 3D target. The target is divided into areas and is illustrated below.

Image source: https://www.asaarchery.com/rules/scoring-images

Working from inside to the outside, the centre ring of the target is worth 10 points. There are 2 smaller rings inside the larger 10-ring (one upper ring and one lower ring) that are worth 12 points.

Only the LOWER 12-ring is in play by default unless the archer “calls out” the UPPER 12-ring. Then, the lower 12-ring is no longer valid for that archer on that target.

The next outer ring is worth 8 points and then anywhere else on the target is worth 5 points.

The upper 14-ring is not used for normal shooting events and is only used for special competitions.

These are the general scoring rules for ASA tournaments. For the complete and detailed scoring rules, see their website here.

Check out this video of the 2020 Open Pro Shootdown from London, Ky during the TRU Ball/Mathews ASA Pro/Am.

What are the ASA Classes?

ASA competition classes are the same across the Pro/Am and Federation levels. An archer’s competition class is determined by a combination of 1) their archery equipment, and 2) their competition career.

All ASA competitors must be ASA Members in good standing.

1) Archer’s Equipment

There are 6 general classes based on equipment:

  • Open Class Equipment
  • Fixed-pin Class Equipment
  • Crossbow Class Equipment
  • Traditional Class Equipment
  • Olympic Recurve Class Equipment
  • Barebow Recurve Class Equipment

Open Class Equipment

In the Open class, you can use any compound or recurve bow with any sight (including magnification), stabiliser, release or equipment that is not specifically prohibited.

Things that are prohibited across all classes are broadheads, retaining mechanisms on anything other than a crossbow, laser sights, and support sticks of any kind. ASA makes exceptions on a case-by-case basis and ONLY for persons with physical challenges.

Fixed-pin Class Equipment

There are 2 basic restrictions in this class: sights and stabilisers.

The sights must be fixed-pin and there’s no limit to the number of pins. Magnification is permitted on targets at 40 yards but NOT permitted on 30 yard targets. Peep-sight clarifiers are not considered “magnification” and so ARE permitted.

Front Stabilizers must be 12 inches or less and rear V-type stabilizers have no restrictions.

Crossbow Class Equipment

The requirements for Crossbow class equipment is very detailed and specific.

In general, the crossbow must stock or as it came from the manufacturer (ie. no trigger modifications) with a plain scope up to 6x magnification. No red dots or scopes that project an image for the reticle are allowed.

For all the crossbow details, see ASA’s website here.

Traditional Class Equipment

In the Traditional class, bows must be either recurve or longbow and now wheels or cams and now sights or release aids are allowed. No draw checks (clickers) or overdraws are allowed either.

When you draw, you must have at least 1 finger touching the arrow nock. That means no “fixed crawl” or string walking allowed in this class. Neither can you have any marks on the string, tab, sight window or bow to use as an aiming reference.

You can have a single front stabiliser no longer than 12 inches.

All arrows must be the same length, weight, and construction.

This class is going for all skill with as little help from “technology” as possible.

Olympic Recurve Class Equipment

Equipment in the Olympic Recurve class must meet the definition and requirements of World Archery under Chapter 22, Section 22.1.

It’s extremely detailed, but what it basically says is you can have all the fancy doodads you want on your recurve bow EXCEPT for magnified sights.

This includes all stabilisers, plunger type arrow rests, clickers, kisser buttons, etc. The type of “release aid” permitted is a tab, but not a glove.

Barebow Recurve Class Equipment

Barebow recurve is the in-between class for recurve bows. Like Olympic Recurve class, Barebow equipment must meet Wolrd Archery definitions and requirements. No stabilizers are permitted BUT vibration dampeners and weights are permitted provided they are fixed directly to the bow and do not have stabilizers.

Again, clickers are not permitted.

String walking or fixed-crawl is permitted and you can use a tab or a glove.

Plunger type arrow rests are allowed.

2) Archer’s Competition Career

In ASA, an archer’s competition career is defined by how much prize money they have earned combined with their best ranking results and whether or not they have won a “Shooter of the Year” award.

These classes are:

  • *Young Adult & Youth
  • Amateur
  • Semi-Pro
  • Professional

Young Adult & Youth Class

The Young Adult & Youth Class applies to anyone under the age of 18 and is broken down by the archer’s age as of January 1st of the competition year:

  • High School – 15 years to 18 years
  • Middle School – 12 years to 14 years
  • Elementary – 9 years to 11 years
  • Junior Eagle – 6 years to 8 years

Amateur

For most beginners in 3D archery, over the age of 18, this would be your starting point. With 25 different classes in this division, no matter what your preference is for the type of bow and style of archery, there’s a class for you!

Other than equipment type, each class has restrictions on how fast your bow can launch an arrow ranging from 260 feet-per-second (FPS) for Women’s Hunter up to 330 FPS for Crossbow.

Each class also has a set limit on shooting distance from ranging from 25 yards for Traditional class all the way up to 50 yards for Open A class.

Some classes are designated with a “(+)” sign. This means that for those classes, you must move up to a higher class for the next competition season. when you meet the following requirements:

  1. You win an amount equal to 12 times your class entry fee plus Shooter of the Year bonuses; AND
  2. You rank in the Top 10 two times OR you rank in the Top 5 one time.

Note that you CAN move up when you reach 10 times the entry fee worth of winnings plus the Top 10 or Top 5 rankings, but you MUST move up when you meet the above requirements. Here’s a complete list of the Move Up conditions.

For example, if I compete in the Open B class the entry fee is $60 (for the year 2020). That means when I win a total of $720 AND I place 5th at one of my tournaments, then next year I must compete in either the Open A, Known 50, or Hunter Elite classes.

Semi-Pro

Once you win your way out of the Amateur classes, the next step if Semi-Pro. Unlike Amateur, Semi-Pro is collapsed into only 5 classes:

  • Semi-Pro Open (+)
  • Known 50 (+)
  • Senior Know 50
  • Women’s Known 45
  • Crossbow 45

All the previous 25 classes from Amateur can find a place somewhere in these 5 Semi-Pro classes.

As stated before, the classes designated with the “(+)” sign must advance to a higher Pro class once you meet the Move Up conditions.

Professional

The Professional or Pro Class is open to all ASA members who have been certified as an ASA Pro and paid their annual ASA Pro Certification fee.

A Pro is an archer who:

  • competes using a compound bow as a certified professional in any other nationally sanctioned 3D, indoor, or field event; or
  • receives sponsor support in $4,000 worth of gear, services, or direct cash; or
  • has earned $10,000 or more in ASA Pro/Am prize money throughout their archery career

ASA Pros can move down to Semi-Pro class if they have won less than $300 in the previous year and down to Amateur Class subject to Competition Committee approval.

At the Federation (State) level, ASA Pros can only compete as “guest shooters” and may not qualify for an ASA Championship Classic through the Federation Tour.


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Peter Sontrop

I live in Alberta, Canada where I enjoy field archery and target shooting with traditional bows and compound bows. On this site, I share everything I’ve learned about archery along the way.

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