Top Bow Championship adopts head-to-head tournament format.
After more than 25 years as the most intense and highest-paying archery tournament in the country, the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor World Championship will see its first major format change in 2018, a move that will add a new level of excitement and fun for both shooters and spectators.
“When it comes to how the champion is determined, this is the biggest change we’ve ever had by far,” said Top Bow Tournament Director Mike Foster. “We’ve had some small changes over the years, like the addition of the Last Chance Target, but this new head-to-head format will level the playing field and push the excitement level off the charts.”
After three preliminary rounds determine the top 32 shooters, the 2018 Top Bow event will switch to a head-to-head, double-elimination format that makes every round critical, while also giving shooters the chance to bounce back from a bad round.
“If you follow sports, you know how popular the college tournaments have become,” Foster said. “Even the most casual fans tune in to the tournaments because of the excitement of the head-to-head challenge.”
Unlike March Madness where a loss ends a team’s season, the Top Bow tournament will adopt the double-elimination format similar to the increasingly popular NCAA softball tournament and others.
“If you survive your round, you move on,” Foster said. “It’s just that simple. If you have one bad round, though, you can still come back from it. In the end, there will be an undefeated shooter coming from the unbeaten bracket, and a one-loss shooter advancing from the other bracket. When those two square off, if the unbeaten shooter wins the round, it’s over and he’s the champion. If the one-loss shooter wins that head-to-head matchup, they’ll shoot again for all the marbles.”
Foster said the new format puts more emphasis on what’s happening in the moment, and less on how someone shot in a previous round.
“In the past, the Top Bow tournament was more about being consistent and beating the range,” Foster said. “Now they’ll need to focus on beating the other guy. It will be a challenging course, but I’m not going to be doing anything to try to fool them or trick them into a miss.”
While the format is different, the range itself won’t see many changes.
“Fundamentally, the range will be the same,” Foster said. “Targets will be at a minimum of 15 yards and maximum of 60. We’ll still have 20-, 30-, 40- and 50-yard markers, and shooters can still use binoculars and rangefinders when they’re not actively shooting in a round.”
Spectators at Top Bow events often marvel at the difficulty of the moving targets and some of the long-distance bucks, but Foster said it’s actually mid-range targets that give the shooters fits.
“We’ll still have some runners [moving targets] and some long-distance shots, but those aren’t the targets that give these guys trouble,” he said. “It’s funny, but I see it every year: You watch everybody shoot, and there’s always one target everyone seems to miss, and it’s almost always a mid-range target. A guy will miss it low one round, and then come out the next round and miss it high. Then he’ll turn to me and say, ‘You moved it!’ But I didn’t. Maybe it’s because they have to think more since it’s neither close nor far, but it’s not the hard shots that trip these guys up.”
It will be fun to see if that changes when the Top Bow focus moves from beating the range to beating the other shooters, and fun is exactly what the format change is all about.
“We want the shooters to enjoy it,” Foster said. “We want them to shoot and have fun with a chance to win some money. If you started off with a bad round or two in previous years, you were either out immediately or faced a monumental uphill climb to try to get back near the top. Now, once you’ve earned your spot in the top 32, everything is equal and all you have to do is beat one other guy to advance. I’m very excited about it, and everything I’ve heard from the shooters is positive. This will be the most exciting Top Bow championship ever.”
As usual, the Top Bow tournament will be held in conjunction with the annual Buckmasters Expo in Montgomery, Ala. This year’s tournament will run Aug. 16-19, and there are still openings for shooters to participate.
For more information, or to register, contact ShelLee Swain at (334) 387-2611, or send her an email at email@example.com.
2018 Top Bow Format Notes:
• First three rounds are cumulative to determine top 32
• Round 4 to the Finals will be head-to-head, bracketed format
• Winners of each matchup remain in Unbeaten Bracket; losers drop to One-Loss Bracket
• Two losses put you out of the tournament
• The two bracket winners will shoot head-to-head in the finals
• One-Loss Bracket champ must beat Unbeaten Bracket champ twice to win the championship
• Ties during head-to-head competition will be decided by a red-dot shoot
• Cash prizes paid down to 12th place (placement determined by score in round archer falls out of the tournament)