Editor’s Note: Levi Morgan says, “I've been wearing Mossy Oak since I could walk, and I wear Mossy Oak on my TV show ‘Name the Game’ on the Sportsman Channel where I hunt a wide variety of game animals and also show tournament archery. I come from a bowhunting and competition archery background.” Morgan has built his reputation by winning some of the biggest archery tournaments in the world. He has proved to be consistent by winning the ASA (Archery Shooters Association) Shooter of the Year title for 8 consecutive years, breaking Jeff Hopkins previous record of 7 consecutive Shooter of the Year titles. Morgan also competes in the IBO (International Bowhunting Organization) and shoots in-the-field archery tournaments. Morgan shoots all the recognized disciplines of tournament archery, and he's an avid bowhunter.
My entire life revolves around a bow and arrow. So, I feel confident hunting any game with a bow or competing in any tournament with a bow. I want to show our viewers at “Name the Game,” how crossing back and forth between competitive archery and bowhunting can make an archer better in both sports. From the very beginning of my archery career, my goal always has been to be the best in the world. I'm highly competitive. When I was 18-years-old and just beginning to shoot archery competitions, I set my goal then to be the best archer in the world. I wanted to win Shooter of the Year more times than anyone else ever had who had won the title.
When I was coming up, Jeff Hopkins had set the record of being Shooter of the Year for 7 consecutive years. He was considered to be the best archer who ever had lived, by many people. So, when I was 18-years-old, I set a goal to try and break Jeff’s record. In 2007, when I was 19, I won my first Shooter of the Year title on the ASA circuit. I've always set high goals, and I've always tried to become the best at anything I do.
As I continued to compete, I always kept in my mind that I wanted to try and break the almost unbelievable record that Jeff Hopkins had established by winning Shooter of the Year title 7 consecutive times. Each year that I won Shooter of the Year, the pressure to achieve that goal began to build, which created a lot of pressure (self-imposed) to train, practice and shoot - knowing that I wanted to earn the title of Shooter of the Year each year for 8 years. When you're an 18-year old kid, 8 years seems like an eternity. But I devoted myself to the idea that, “I can do this.”
Jeff Hopkins was probably one of my biggest inspirations. I don’t think Jeff ever knew how he lit my fire. We were both competing in an archery tournament in Augusta, Georgia. I was 7 points behind Jeff before the final shoot-down. I started talking to him, complimenting him on winning 7-consecutive Shooter of the Year titles. I mentioned what a great feat that was. Jeff told me, “Yes, it is, and that record will never be beaten.” I can remember the very spot I was standing in when Jeff told me that. He was 7 points up in the tournament in which we were competing. I knew Jeff didn’t mean his words this way, but I took that comment to mean, “And you or no one else ever will be able to achieve what I've done.” So in my mind, Jeff had thrown down the gauntlet and given me the incentive to push harder, to practice more, to try and win more and to try and prove that I was as good, if not better, than the best tournament archer ever. When we went to the final shoot-down, I made up the 7 points I was behind. I won the tournament and won my first Shooter of Year title. I also won the World title that year. After winning the first Shooter of the Year title, I built the confidence to try and win Shooter of the Year for the next 7 years.
In 2013, I tied Jeff’s record. In 2014, I reached my lifetime goal of being awarded Shooter of the Year for 8-consecutive years. Jeff knew that I was trying to break his record. So, he and I competed against each other vigorously. When I tied Jeff’s record last year, I knew 2014 would be my make it or break it year. When I went to the last tournament of the year, I was really, really stressed out. I was within one weekend of reaching, what for me, was a lifetime goal. When the tournament was over, I won by 46 points and got the last Shooter of the Year title for which I’d been working toward for 8 years. By going through this process, I learned that no one ever should tell an 18- year-old youngster what he could do. Many youngsters are like me. When you tell them they can’t do something, they’ll dedicate themselves to the purpose of trying to prove you wrong.
I’m sure Jeff’s feelings were hurt when I broke his record, because no one in the archery world really believed that any tournament archer could win the Shooter of the Year title for 8 consecutive years - just as no golfer ever has won the Masters Tournament 8 consecutive years, and no quarterback has won the Super Bowl for 8 consecutive years, and no basketball player ever has been Player of the Year for 8 consecutive years. Winning a national or a world championship is a great achievement in itself. But to be able to stay at that high level of athletic success for 8 years seems impossible. I thought it was probably impossible. However, I had to least try to obtain the dream that I had of being the best archer in the world.
Another undercurrent was driving me. Jeff shot for one of the leading bow companies in the nation – Mathews. I shot for Mathews for 7 years and won 7 Shooter of the Year titles shooting Mathews bows. When I switched and started shooting Elite bows, there was a lot of pressure on me to prove that I still could be successful and finish my dream with the Elite bow. Part of what drove me to try and shoot the best I could were the many competitors saying, “Levi, you can’t win 8 Shooter of the Year titles with an Elite bow.” So once again, I had a lot of pressure on me to prove that my sponsor, Elite, had built a quality bow that I could use to win. 2014 was the biggest year of my whole archery career, and I felt the most pressure to win that I'd ever known, but the Good Lord was watching over me. I tell everybody I believe He helps guide my arrows.
To learn more about Levi Morgan, visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Levi-Morgan/308973412532654?sk=info.
Tomorrow: Levi Morgan: How Long Can He Continue to Win 3D Archery