Levi Morgan took home his sweetest IBO victory to date at the 2015 IBO World Championship, the last event of the 2015 season, held at the picturesque Holiday Valley Resort, in Ellicottville, N.Y.
With the win, Morgan fulfilled an IBO record with the Grand Slam, which can only be claimed by winning all three legs of the IBO Triple Crown National Championship and the IBO World Championship. Just prior to the World Championship, Morgan was the first to win all three legs of the IBO Triple Crown National Championship.
While conditions were beautiful, with sunny skies and warm temperatures, the Holiday Valley resort, a recreational ski facility, provided steep inclines and difficult footing throughout the courses.
The Pro Division of the IBO sanctioned 3-D event features 40 unmarked targets shot over the course of two consecutive days. Contestants shoot each target once per day, scored as 5 (non-vital body), 8, 10, and 11-point rings per target, thus a perfect possible score of 440. Target distances range to approximately 50 yards. No range finding equipment is allowed at the IBO unmarked event, putting additional pressure on shooters to accurately judge distances. The event’s third day presents a final 10-target Shoot Off for the top five scores after the first two rounds of competition.
Prior to the first round, Morgan found himself busy working out kinks on the practice range. Continually judging short on his yardages, he was low on his targets, a concern that was quickly eating at him.
“I don’t know what caused it but I was seeing everything shorter than it actually was, it just happens sometimes,” he said. “It was during the first round, on a wolverine target that I judged at 39 yards, I forced myself to shoot for 41 yards and I was still a little low. That was it, from there on I just knew I had to adjust if I was going to make anything happen.”
After making the mental adjustment, Morgan hit six 11’s in a row on his first 10 targets of the first round. He finished +11 on the day, with no 8’s, and held a one-point lead over the rest of the pack. In all, five Pros were within two points of the lead.
“It’s such a stressful situation to be in, really,” Morgan said. “I shot what I felt was a solid round, no 8’s, and I really didn’t feel I could have shot any better, yet you’re hanging on to the lead by just a point and know you have to go right back out the next day and do it all over again.”
“I know I can’t control what other shooters are going to do on the course, all I can worry about is what I do. I’m used to being in the chase position, it’s what I’m used to, but in this case I had to force myself to be aggressive and shoot like I was chasing for the lead.”
An unexpected eight during the second round cost Morgan his lead. He knew it was time to regroup and finish out the round strongly. He quickly rebounded with an 11 on a difficult turkey target that had caused others problems, and eventually went on to finish the second round with a two-point lead, landing him in the final 10-target finale on Sunday.
In all, eight Pros fell within the top five scores, which qualified for Sunday’s third and final round of 10-targets. Qualiifying scores ranged from 412 to Morgan’s own 419. Setting off in groups of four shooters, the highest scores shot ahead of the lower four scores.
Morgan’s first target was a difficult downhill bedded ram. Morgan found the 10-ring and realized solid “base hits” not “home runs” would lead to a win. Morgan went on to win his group, but had no idea what was happening in the group behind him, where Joby Shaw was shooting lights-out and quickly racking up points. However, Morgan’s consistent shooting throughout the tournament earned him the victory, with a one-point advantage over Shaw.
“Even though I was getting in my own head at times throughout the tournament and felt like I had a bulls-eye on my back, I tried to stay within myself and battle on,” stated Morgan. “It’d been three years since I’d won a world title, I’d just won all three legs of the Triple Crown, and I knew this opportunity may not come again. I really wanted this one.”
Morgan is a 11x World Champion, 42x National Champion, 11x Shooter of the Year and has won the ASA Shooter of the Year title a record-setting eight times in a row. He is the host of the popular hunting show, Name The Game, currently airing on Sportsman Channel.
LEVI MORGAN TOURNAMENT SETUP:
BOW: Elite Victory
ARROWS: Gold Tip Pro 22’s with Q2i Fusion vanes, 140 grain heads
REST: QAD HDX Tournament Prototype
SIGHT: CBE Vertex, 3x lens with #1 Clarifier, .010 pin
RELEASE: SCOTT Exxus
PEEP: Peeping Tom
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