Tournament Archer's Shooter Profile: Jeff Hopkins
Tournament Archer's Shooter Profile: Jeff HopkinsJanuary 20, 2010 - Joel
TTA- What is your hometown?
Jeff- I grew up in Sudlersville, Maryland but now live in Clayton, Delaware.
TTA- How did you get started in archery?
Jeff- My father involved me in hunting at an early age and as I got a bit older he bought me a bow and rest is history…
TTA- What equipment did you start shooting at the beginning?
Jeff- I had an old Bear recurve.
TTA- What equipment do you shoot currently?
Jeff- For tournament archery I shoot a Mathews Conquest 4, Easton arrows, Classic Scope, Axcel sight, Trophy Taker arrow rest, Shrewd stabilizer and Carter hole thing 3 release aid.
TTA- How long have you been shooting?
Jeff- I started at age 9.
TTA- What is it about archery that grabbed you at first?
Jeff- When I was a kid (and well still today too) I loved to deer hunt and gun season was only a week long. Bow season was 3 months long. When I got started I found that I just loved shooting arrows and working on the precision of hitting what I was aiming at.
TTA- What about the sport keeps you interested?
Jeff- I thrive on competition and have always been competitive at whatever I do. I have a passion for shooting my bow and feel privileged to have a career doing something that I love. Another motivation is that my son shares my interest in the outdoors and hunting. When he harvested his first deer this past hunting season, I don’t know who was more excited me or him.
TTA- What are the biggest challenges during tournaments and what do you do to overcome them?
Jeff- One of the biggest challenges is judging yardage and the only way to overcome that is to practice, practice, practice. Another big challenge is focusing on each shot as the only shot of the tournament, that is staying mentally engaged for every target throughout the tournament.
TTA- What do you consider your greatest archery achievement(s) and why?
Jeff- I have several but the biggest one is winning the ASA Shooter of the Year 7 consecutive times and also winning the World Archery Festival in Las Vegas the first time I went there. 7 years is a long time – you have to be healthy, have reliable equipment and have some luck along the way. For a listing of all my accomplishments, I would suggest visiting www.jeffhopkins.com.
TTA- Shooting tips: What advice can you give readers?
Jeff- The best advice I can give is to relax, relax, relax and have fun. Archery is meant to be fun, sometimes it’s easy to lose that perspective along the way. For those that are new to archery, get to a bow shop and find a bow that fits you individually. Get a bow with correct draw length.
TTA- How do you physically prepare yourself for the tournament season?
Jeff- Hunting season is physically demanding and that prepares me for the archery tournament season. I shoot year round because I love it and to stay in tune with my shooting form.
TTA- Who is your role model or someone you look up to?
Jeff- I don’t have a specific role model in the sport of archery. I prefer to look at professionals in many sports and I admire their drive to be successful in their careers and also in their personal life. As a fan of basketball, I thought Michael Jordan was awesome and then in Nascar, I thought Dale Earnhardt Sr. was the intimidator, the man to beat. Tiger Woods in golf is competitive and has a desire to win. I admire their accomplishments. Outside of sports, the people that impacted my life are my family, which are still to this day great role models. One person that’s not a family member that has helped me throughout my archery career is Curtis Beverly. I met Curtis in 1993 and he became my coach. He has a wealth of knowledge in archery and is still today a dear friend.
TTA- Who is your favorite hunting or archery partner?
Jeff- My favorite hunting and archery partner is my son, Scott. He’s only 10, but he’s a riot to hunt with. We have a blast spending time together, no matter what we do.
TTA- Who do you travel with when you go to tournaments?
Jeff- I travel with my family to the tournaments when possible. When they can’t go, I go solo with my Solocam!
TTA- What organizations and class do you shoot in when you participate?
Jeff- I shoot in the IBO, ASA and NFAA organizations in the professional men’s open class.
TTA- What is your practice schedule and routine?
Jeff- I don’t have a set practice routine. When I identify targets that I struggle on, then I work on them diligently to improve my game. I try to shoot as many 3D targets as possible in a terrain close to that in which the upcoming tournament will be held. On average, I shoot 5 days a week.
TTA- What have been your greatest rewards from participating in tournament archery?
Jeff- There are many rewards from shooting a bow for a living…I’ve been able to see the country, met some wonderful people, spend a lot of time with my family, gone on some amazing hunts, and oh, I won a lot of money! The past few years to see what the NASP program has done is truly remarkable. Everyone that makes that possible, my hat is off to you. I could shoot any bow I want and I truly believe in my heart that I’m representing the finest archery company in the world…Mathews! They support every growth aspect of the sport of archery.
TTA- What other hobbies interests you other than Archery?
Jeff- Archery consumes a lot of my time, but I love planting food plots for wildlife on our farms in Kentucky. I enjoy spending time in the outdoors and waterfowl hunting in the fall on the eastern shore of Maryland. I love to hunt.
TTA- What competitions do you plan to attend in 2009?
Jeff- ASA, IBO, NFAA.
TTA- Where do you see yourself going in the sport of Archery?
Jeff- I’ve shot professionally since 1993 and I want to continue to stay involved with archery. I’m going to shoot professionally as long as I believe I can be competitive. I want to be the best archer, the best husband, the best Dad that I can be.
TTA- How has your family helped you in the sport of Archery?
Jeff- Wow, I could write a whole page on that. My archery career is a team effort from my whole family. I couldn’t do what I do if it wasn’t for their support and for that I’m truly thankful. I travel a lot and that is a lifestyle my family has adapted to. They travel with me when they can but I’m also home a lot too, given this career.
TTA- What is your occupation?
Jeff- Professional outdoorsman.
TTA- What else do you want the readers to know about yourself?
Jeff- I’m truly blessed, I have a wonderful family around me. I’ve been very successful at something I truly love to do. My daughter, Jena and my son, Scott are healthy and wonderful kids and my beautiful wife, Tara has always supported me. After this past year, I have become more patient. For those of you that don’t know, in August of 2008 I was putting up a brand new ladder stand that broke and I fell 22’ down. I dislocated my right shoulder, crushed my axcillary nerve and broke my humerous bone in 3 places. Respect each time you leave the ground to go up in a tree – even when you take every precaution realize that there are things that could happen that are outside of your control. Never hunt alone and always have plenty of help setting up treestands. For me, this past tournament off season was like no other. After visiting several doctors, the best advice I can give anybody is to get several opinions because I truly believe had I not gone to the best (Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama) that I would not have regained my shooting abilities in the professional class again. I am very thankful for the role Dr. Andrews played in my life because it gave me back the profession that I love. Visit Jeff Hopkins website at www.jeffhopkins.com.
From the Editor: It was not hard asking Jeff if he wanted to do a shooter profile because truly he is an ambassador to the Sport of Archery. He is a living legend for the sport we all cherish and it is testament to Jeff that he is in competition again with the year he just went through. If ever you see Jeff and you want an autograph or a picture you should in deed stop him and ask because I personally have never met a better person in the Sport of Archery!!
Tony R. Haynes