Countdown to Vegas: Winner’s Thoughts

NFAA USA

In less than 30 days the Vegas Shoot 2016 will be underway. This will mark the 50th Vegas Shoot since 1962, and to celebrate 50 successful Vegas Shoots we’re digging up some history on the tournament. This week we are featuring previous winners of the Vegas Shoot. Today we are focused on archery couples like Michelle and Terry Ragsdale and Becky and Frank Pearson.

Michelle Ragsdale won Vegas titles in 1979, 1980, 1998, and 1999.

Terry Ragsdale won Vegas titles in 1978, 1979, 1980, and 1985.

Becky Pearson won Vegas titles in 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1994.

Frank Pearson won Vegas titles in 1991 and 2000.

NFAA: What was it like to win a Vegas title?

Michelle: For an archer to win Vegas meant you’ve won the biggest tournament on the indoor archery circuit. I believe that still to be true today. It is the “gold standard” many other tournaments imitate to help the archer prepare for the “grand finale”. I was fortunate to be a part of it.

Becky: It was exciting and nerve racking!

Frank: I was shaking while I was shooting.

NFAA: What was it like to shoot as a couple during Vegas?

Terry: Shooting as a couple at any of the events was the reason I believe competing for 30 years on the pro-circuit was possible. Michelle is a great motivator, and gave me a run for my money every time we hit the practice range. My relationship with her, I believe, was/is truly a gift from GOD.

Michelle: To be able to “live, breath, and eat” archery with my best friend was the greatest gift. Competing in the archery circuit with him made me a better archer and a better person.

Becky: We have always been supportive of each other, but with the Vegas formats you cannot always be close.

Frank: Well, I was more interested in what Becky was doing then what I was doing!

NFAA: How many Vegas Shoots did you attend?

Michelle: My first Vegas attendance was in 1978 and I believe I competed there until 2005… a rough guess. We never kept track!

Becky: 35 years.

Frank: I believe all but four.

NFAA: Did you both shoot every year you attended?

Becky: We didn’t both shoot every year. The first year I attended was in 1979 and I just spectated. I think Frank shot one other year in the mid 2000’s when I didn’t shoot.

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Michelle and Terry Ragsdale in 1992.

NFAA: Did you coach each other or were you each other’s cheerleader?

Terry: Although we didn’t coach each other, we were good “cheerleaders”, though, we knew each other’s shooting style well enough we could offer an occasional tip.

Michelle: Early on we each had our own ideas, styles, and practice routines, but over the years we “married” those into one routine and it became very effective and helpful, for me at least. Imagine practicing with the worlds greatest archer… you can’t help but be better from it.

NFAA: What is your favorite Vegas memory?
Terry: That would be a tough one. I was fortunate enough through the great support of Pete Shepley/PSE to attend the Vegas shoot for 30 years. If I had to label one memory as favorite, it would be seeing all my archery friends each and every time I attended.

Michelle: My favorite Vegas memory was being 9 months pregnant, due in three days, on the shooting line the last day, the last end, the last arrow… at full draw and hearing the crowd go crazy when Terry shoots his last arrow to win Vegas! Very special because we had discussed not going that year because our son was due around that time. We decided, against Drs. orders, to go anyway because Terry was shooting so good. Our son was born 3 days later.

Becky: For me, Vegas is all about the people and seeing old friends.

NFAA: What is the biggest change you’ve seen at the Vegas tournament over the years?

Terry: HOLY SMOKE, the accuracy level has gone to unimaginable heights. Amazing talent!

Michelle: The biggest change of course is the prize money. The second biggest change is seeing just how many people end up shooting perfect scores…the skill level just keeps going up. I’m in awe of the talent.

Becky: The number of attendees, especially from foreign countries.

Frank: Every year there are more and more great shooters.

NFAA: What tips do you have for the Vegas participants this year?

Terry: Enjoy yourself! Revel in the atmosphere of the shoot, treasure the friendships you’ll cultivate, and have fun… and don’t ride the Big-Shot atop the Stratosphere until AFTER the tournament!

Michelle: My biggest tip is this… remember, this is just an archery tournament. Don’t chase money… instead pursue the friendships and memories. They are of far more value. Honor God above everything else because in the end, that is the only thing worth doing!

Becky: Just enjoy yourself!

Frank: Remember to breath. When archers get nerves they forget to breath and that affects your eyes and makes everything look darker than it really is.