For the first time in their recorded histories, the California Bowmen Hunters and State Archery Association will unite for a centralized head-to-head state championship this weekend.
The inaugural CBH/SAA state championships will be hosted by the Fresno Field Archers at the club's 38-acre range in Dunlap.
Before this year, the CBH and SAA would host five regionals across the state to determine the best shooters by scores. But there was one problem with archers saying they're the best -- they never actually competed head-to-head against shooters from different regions.
"In previous years, the organization of competitions never accurately compared the best archers in the state," said Brad Stevens, spokesman for the Fresno Field Archers.
"Now it's one tournament at a centralized location. It's going to be a beautiful thing to watch."
More than 100 archers from across the state have registered for a variety of shooting styles -- freestyle, traditional/longbow, barebow, bowhunter, bowhunter freestyle and freestyle recreation -- organized by age-group divisions -- adults (18 to 54 years), seniors (50-59), silver seniors (60-69), master seniors (70 and up) and youths (15-17, 12-14, and 11 and under).
No crossbows are allowed, as the championships are poised at finding the state's best non-mechanical shooters, Stevens said.
The Fresno Field Archers was chosen to host the event because its range was the most appropriate for different types of shooting, Stevens said. With two full courses in rugged foothill terrain dotted with oak trees, granite outcroppings and brush, it challenges archers' abilities in the outdoors as opposed to inside a warehouse.
Competitors will shoot at least 252 arrows over the two days.
Saturday's first round will be field archery, with competitors shooting a total of 112 arrows at four basic bull's-eyes set up on bales at different distances. The second round will consist of 28 animal targets, with archers shooting one arrow at paper targets attached to bales across the range.
Sunday is the hunter round -- a black background with small white crosshairs at the center -- and arguably the most difficult of the three events.
Shooters will have 112 targets, with a maximum of three tries apiece. The goal is to hit the target on the first shot -- worth all 20 points, as each shot's value decreases by two after that.
Competitors with the most points will be determined the winners and will receive a medallion from the CBH/SAA.
For safety reasons, spectators will not be allowed.