The Road to Redding
A few years ago I shot the Western Trail Classic 3D tournament in Redding, California for the first time, and I’ve been looking for an excuse to go back ever since. What better excuse than to escape winter’s last laugh in Montana? Getting a couple buddies to road trip, camp and shoot 70 targets in three days was like opening the door for barn cats to come sit next to the fire.
Meet the Boys
- Executive Camp Chef
- Jack of All Trades
- Beard Connoisseur
- Mathews Team Shooter
- Elk Junkie
- Class Clown
- Bottomless Pit
- Film Maker
- Back Seat Driver
On the Road
We opted out of the fast lane and took the slow crawl to California. With our bows, gear and a trusted ol’ Reinhart loaded up, we soaked up all 1,800 miles of that scenic route – stopping at every whiff of a taco truck or roadside attraction that called to us.
- Miles Driven 1,982
- Food Stops 9
- Coffees 17
Somewhere deep in Idaho I spotted an old junkyard and the proverbial wheels started turning. 10 miles later we turned our literal wheels around and headed back to the junkyard for a creative pre-game warmup.
After getting permission to send a few arrows through the old man’s junkyard, we started plotting our course. Shots got more daring the longer we stayed. Luckily we’re decent shots.Brett Seng
Arrival to Redding
Dropping into the Shasta Valley was like rolling into summer. Time to set up camp, put Buck to work on dinner and introduce ourselves to the neighbors. For guys like us, starting conversation with strangers doesn’t get any easier than at an archery shoot.
Cooking awesome meals without the luxury of a real kitchen can present it’s difficulties, but for me it’s some of the most fun I can have while hunting or camping.Buck Reece
With 70 unique targets spread across 65 acres, the Straight Arrow Bow Hunter’s club has developed this event into the “go-to shoot of the year,” and it lives up to the hype. It’s a great mix of people – both professionals and amateurs from all over the world come to pursue prize money and bragging rights amongst friends. Shots range from 3 yards to 101 yards and every target has a different sized bullseye and third axis mystery – if it’s not downhill, it’s uphill.
We enjoyed the observation aspect of the event just as much as shooting it - you notice a different style of bow setup, string release, what the pro's do right, what an amateur does wrong - all of this is part of the learning experience and the part of Redding we came to appreciate most.Zack Boughton
The famed Big Foot target stands 13 feet tall at 101 yards away. At this distance, there is no room for error. Trail veterans watch others shoot first and see where arrows are stacking up to gauge third axis variables and wind drift. Some shooters are happy to just hit foam, while others impress with their precision, stacking two arrows in the eleven ring.
Nine months ago, these Redding trails looked like burnt toast. A wild fire ripped through the area and took a path so unpredictable that nothing could be done to control the devastation. When it was finally contained, the club had lost 95% of their targets in the wake. Jim Waters, a life-time member of the club explained, “This place was re-built with team work and fueled by love for this tournament.” And as the National Anthem played on opening day, there were many smiles and soggy eyes among the crew who knew what they had overcome to make it happen.
A walk-up chart tells you what yardage to set your sight at to hit at close range and is key at Redding. Mathews Design Engineer, Mark Hayes, explains, “Your line of sight (your eye) is higher than your arrow, so at super short distances you need to aim like it’s farther away to adjust your line of sight and arrow trajectory to meet at the yardage you’re trying to hit. For example, I set my sight to 57 yards in order to hit at 3. That’s where the two paths cross for me.”
The Road Home
There’s no designated season for doing things that make you feel whole or spending time with friends who make you laugh. There’s also nothing more important or more worth the investment of time and money than doing these things that make us who we are.