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Nock Out: Archery’s First Reality Show

While it’s cool watching fictional archers in films like The Hunger Games and the TV show Arrow, it’s even better to see professional archers in action. Unfortunately, outside of the Olympics, we archery fans must get our fix by watching competitions on the Archery TV YouTube channel. Occasionally on Top Shot, the History Channel’s marksmen reality show, you may see archery included in the competition.

Nock Out contestant, Rowdy Dowdy

Nock Out contestant, Rowdy Dowdy

Thankfully, this summer the NBC Sports Network has launched a reality show devoted to Archery–Nock Out. The series first episode aired July 26th 2013.

I only discovered the show a few weeks ago due to one of Facebook’s page suggestions. Thank you, Facebook.

Nock Out is a reality show similar to Top Shot with the exception that instead of changing weapons each week, the competitors use their own bows in each competition. All of the archers are using compound bows, sorry recurve lovers. And, so far, the competitions have been field archery challenges.

Like other reality shows, the archers are divided into teams, in this case three teams. The two lowest performing teams of the week’s main competition, have to pick a person to compete in a head-to-head shoot-off to stay in the competition or go home.

As an archery fan, I must admit that the head-to-head shoot-off can be more fun to watch than the team competition. It’s a nail-biter. The stakes are high, the margin of error low and the competition’s tough. You’re wondering who’s going to blink first.

Nock Out Contestant, Laurie Leroy

Nock Out Contestant, Laurie Leroy

There are few sporting events in which you’ll see men and women competing together. It happens in tennis with mixed doubles but it’s pretty rare. That’s one of the cool things about Nock Out. The men and women compete as teammates and occasionally against one another–one-on-one. It shows that in archery, how well you shoot isn’t always about strength but about technique, experience and how well you compete under pressure.

The contestants are a diverse group, as far as age (18-64) and gender goes, of professional archers. One of my favorites has been 64 year old Connie Calloway. She took up archery in 1977 and turned pro in 1992. She got knocked out in a head-to-head shoot-off last week, but she’s a great example of how this sport is one you can practice for a lifetime. Then there’s the inspirational archer Matt Stutzman, the 2012 Paralympics silver medalist, who is very much giving the other archers a run for their money.

Overall, I think it’s a great show and I hope it does well enough this season to have a season two. Tune in and check it out before the season ends. The show airs Fridays at 1pm on the NBC Sports Network. Go to their site to see what channel it airs on in your area.

Check out the season’s first episode here.

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