Sharon Wallace walked away with a big win at her first 3-D archery tournament in February this year, after a shoot-off with two other archers. Sharon, who has been competing at the professional level for 13 years, added this trophy to her collection that includes wins such as two-time Archery Shooters’ Association (ASA) Shooter of the Year, two-time International Bow Hunting Organization (IBO) World Champion, three-time IBO National Triple Crown, two-time IBO “Shooter of the Year” and ASA Classic Champion.
Wallace, who lives in Townhall, South Carolina, has found a shooting partner in her husband, Jack, who also competes professionally in 3-D archery. We caught up with her between matches, and found out more about the lifestyle and her passion for this shooting sport.
When people ask you what you do, what do you say (elevator speech length please)?
“I’m a professional archer,” is what I say. They usually say, “A what?” ... and I’ll usually explain.
How did you get started in the sport of archery?
I actually started shooting a bow to hunt. I thought it would be a great challenge. A few years later, I heard about 3D archery and went to a local shoot. I loved it. Then I went to my first Archery Shooter’s Association (ASA) shoot. I was hooked and knew I wanted to become a professional archer. Note: In 3-D archery, we shoot life-sized three-dimensional animal targets, as opposed to target archery, where the traditional round bull’s-eye targets are used.
Do you only compete in 3-D archery tournaments? If so, why?
No. I will usually compete in two or three major national and world-level indoor target shoots each season.
How is the sport of 3-D different from other archery disciplines?
3-D Archery is not just shooting a bow and arrow; it is a game. I shoot the unknown yardage divisions, which means we do not know the distance to the target – it must be estimated. A game plan and strategy must be laid out, as it is a risk-versus-reward game. The more confident I am with my yardage estimation, I will shoot for a smaller ring risking more, versus laying up and shooting a larger, lower-scoring ring.
About how much would it cost someone to get started in this sport?
It can vary massively. Archery is a sport where once the equipment is bought, it is very inexpensive to practice. Somewhat opposite of, say, golf. I would guess the least one could begin with would be around $350 for a full complete setup of everything needed. Then, it can just go up from there – depending on the skill level or how involved someone wants to get.
Who are your sponsors?
PSE, Black Eagle Arrows, Dead Center Archery Products, I Shoot A Stan, Hamskea, Axcel Sights, Rogue Bowstrings, GPO, Tac Vanes, Bowfinger, Feather Vision, Last Chance Archery, Lancaster Archery Supply, TopHat, LP Archery, Swat Broadheads and Rinehart Targets.
We’ve read that your husband also competes. That must be an interesting lifestyle! Will you tell us a bit about it?
Yes, he does. My husband, Jack Wallace II, has been shooting for almost 38 years. I used to shoot against his sister a few years back, as she was a pro-shooter, also. We knew of each other but never really said much. He sent me a message out of the blue about five years ago. We have been together since then and got married in October 2017. To be able to do what you love, for a living, and with your spouse is an awesome feeling. We have both won our class twice at the same event and I can’t even describe the feeling we both had.
When is tournament season for 3-D archery?
Typically the season runs February to August each year.
What does your routine/regimen look like for getting ready for an impending competition?
We will increase our practice routine to two rounds per day, a morning and an afternoon. We double-check all equipment to ensure everything is spot-on. We lay out a game plan and make notes on how we might play each target. This all creates a confidence and a peace to help us go in knowing we have done all we can.
Why do you recommend this sport for women and girls?
There is a class, division or style for everyone and every age group. Archery is a discipline, like golf or a martial art. By attempting to master it, you may find it helps discipline in other areas of life. It never outgrows you. I’ve seen four-year-olds and 80-year olds shoot. It is such a broad sport and all are welcome.
How can people follow you on social media?
I have an athlete page on Facebook, Sharon Wallace #Proarcher.