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NZ Archer makes history at prestigious Vegas Shoot

winners posing with
giant prize cheques

Riku an Tonder on right


From Archery NZ (Inc)

New Zealand Archer makes history at the prestigious Vegas Shoot.

NZ history was made in Vegas on Sunday 10th February with New Zealand Archer Riku an Tonder being the first New Zealander to make the prestigious Vegas 900 Club and qualify for the final pro shoot offs. This was Riku’s second visit to the largest archery tournament in the year, having shot there in 2018.

Sunday evening Riku lined up in the group of 23 men for the pro shootdown (many of whom are world champions, Olympians, professional archers from USA and around the world). It was tense watching the live stream. Each end needing that perfect 30 to continue, with top archers falling by the wayside. Then there were 3. Sergio Pagni of Italy who has won vegas before, Chance Beaubouef of USA a 3 time vegas winner and shootdown debutant Riku van Tonder of New Zealand in contention.

Riku Van Tonder secured 3rd place dropping his only points of the tournament, Chance Beaubouef 2nd and Sergio Pagni 1st.

History now includes Riku as being the first New Zealander to podium at the Vegas Shoot.

Speaking with Riku not long after the event he said:

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‘I am still a bit shaken up what has taken place. I came to the world’s biggest archery competition in Las Vegas, held in the South Point Casino. This was my second year coming to this event and I manage to make my name as the third best archer in the world. 3746 archers entered for the weekend including over 270 professional archers from around the world. I was one of only 23 guys that shot a perfect score over 3 days. And I came out in 3rd. I know I have made my country proud and most of all I have made my family Proud.’

History: The iconic Vegas Shoot is the world’s largest indoor archery tournament.

In 2019, the Vegas Shoot will hit another milestone in entries, breaking 3700 for the first time at its 53rd edition.

The largest indoor archery tournament in the world has doubled in size over the past six years. It’s grown exponentially since it was born more than half-a-century ago.

It was in 1991 that the now iconic Vegas shoot downs were introduced. The format pitted the archers with a perfect score at the end of the round against each other in sudden death competition to decide the winner.

Then, in 1993, the official three-spot Vegas target was used and the targets set at 20 yards. At the 1999 event, it was announced that the National Field Archery Association would take ownership of the Vegas Shoot beginning in 2000.

In 2012 the event moved to the South Point Hotel and Casino.

In 2014, the event saw 2000 archers register for the first time. That same year, Dutchman Mike Schloesser became the first shooter from outside of North America to win the main event, beating out 10 other men in the shootdown.

The championship compound open division – open to both men and women – was introduced in 2016 and Sergio Pagni became the first lucky dog to win the shoot, taking home USD 50,000 at the event’s 50th edition.


The Vegas Shoot is arguably the most popular fixture on the international archery calendar. It’s grown to include categories for almost every conceivable competition bowstyle, the Indoor Archery World Series Final, and special events for school kids, initiatives like Break the Barriers and a comprehensive seminar schedule.

It attracted over 3,500 archers for the first time in 2019, from all 50 US states and 52 countries, and that growth looks set to continue.

How it works.

The Vegas Shoot is known as the largest and most prestigious indoor archery tournament in the World. The event brings together over 3,546 archers from around the Globe ranging from beginner archers to Olympic champions. Senior, youth, compound, or recurve; The Vegas Shoot welcomes all demographics and shooting styles. The three-day competition features the traditional 3-spot 20-yard Vegas Round that made this tournament famous.

Since Terry Ragsdale shot the first 900 in 1985, only a handful of archers each year are able to push through the pressure to join this exclusive club. To join the 900 Club, archers must shoot 90 perfect arrows in the 4cm wide 10-ring over three days of cut-throat competition. 2019 saw an unprecedented 25 archers (23 men & 2 women) in the 900 club.

Those who make it to the 900 club each year then go into a shootdown. All archers keep shooting and each round those that haven’t made the top score (generally 30) are eliminated, until the final round in which the top scoring archer wins the shootdown and the 53,000 US$ pay cheque.

© Scoop Media

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