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.
I'm often asked, “Levi, how long can you continue to win the Shooter of the Year title?” To be really honest, I don’t know. I'm 27-years old now, and I shoot against some of the best archers in the world. I never may win another Shooter of the Year championship. But whether I do or whether I don’t is more up to the Good Lord than it is me. I want to walk away from each tournament and know I've shot the best I possibly can shoot.
To win the Shooter of the Year title in ASA, the archer has to compete in seven tournaments, including six national tournaments and the World tournament. ASA totals your six best scores out of those seven tournaments. The person who scores the highest in six of the seven competitions is declared Shooter of the Year. We shoot against the top-100 archers in the nation. An archer can have one bad tournament. But, if he has a second bad tournament, then more than likely, he won’t win Shooter of the Year. On the ASA circuit, I've only won the World title two times in 8 years. I've won either four or five World Championships on the IBO circuit.
Right now, I’ve seen some young guys coming on who are excellent target archers. So, I can’t say that my record of 8 consecutive Shooter of the Year titles won’t be broken. However, an archer will need at least 9 years to do it. Archers like Jacob Marlow and his brother Tyler Marlow are some of the toughest competitors I've ever seen. Right now, Ty Adkins, Garrett Esmond and several other teenagers on the circuit have the potential to be target archers and bowhunters. Although they're still teenagers, they’re ridiculously good. These youngsters are very talented, they work hard, and they have the potential to be the best-of-the-best. They're not the only ones. We have a great core of fine young shooters coming up through the ranks.
At tournaments, I’m often asked. “Levi, what did it feel like when you won your eighth Shooter of the Year title?” My answer is, “The toughest part of the last tournament was the last shot I had to make in competition, because I realized that last arrow had the potential to produce a lifetime goal for me. When I released that arrow, I felt like a 100-pound weight had been lifted off my shoulders.” The last 2 months leading up to the final tournament I had a headache almost every day. I had to go to physical therapy to get some relief. When that last arrow came out of the bow, I knew that the dream of a lifetime was finally over. When the arrow hit right where I wanted it to hit, I was almost ready to collapse.
I have won the IBO Triple Crown for 5-consecutive years, which is the IBO points’ race, and I won the World shoot four times in IBO. What made all these accomplishments so much more difficult is right now I have a 2-year old. If I could, I would spend every waking moment with him. He's beginning to turn into a Daddy’s boy, and that’s a great feeling for me.
When you set a goal like I have, that goal has to almost consume you. You have to have a passion that drives you to work harder, longer and more intensely than you’ve ever thought possible. The other critical ingredient that I’ve found is the Good Lord has to be guiding your hand through it all. My prayer throughout these 8 years has always been, “Lord, if you don’t want me to achieve this goal, take it away from me. Close that door, and open the door through which you want me to walk.” I don’t know what my future will be in competition archery. But now, I want to turn my attention toward taking the Super Slam of bowhunting, and I'm embarking on that journey right now.
I'm frequently asked, “How many arrows do you shoot per day?” When I was a teenager, before I got married, I would shoot from 200 to 500 arrows per day, and I’d shoot 4 or 5 hours each day. But now, I'm only shooting 2 days per week, because of my commitment to my family, the TV show and my production company. Right now, I'm trying to keep my confidence up and maintain the muscle memory that I've built over the 8 years of shooting 200 to 500 arrows per day.
Often other outdoorsmen say, “If you can identify one of the biggest problems you’ve had during this 8-year run in archery, what has been the most-difficult problem you’ve had to deal with to become Shooter of the Year eight times consecutively?” I think it’s the negativity that goes with winning. I’ve learned that people only like a winner for a certain period of time. Then, they start looking for anything and everything to tear you down mentally. This was the most difficult-problem I had to deal with throughout the 8 years. Some of the people I competed with tried to get in my head and destroy my confidence. Don’t get me wrong, 90 percent of the people I competed with were my friends, and they encouraged me. But the 10 percent that tried to discourage me really bothered me, until I learned how to deal with it. However, this year was one of the easiest years mentally for me. I had the least amount of negative comments than I'd ever had.
I think one of the key ingredients to winning at whatever you try to accomplish is having a strong family support system. Also many of my friends came to my tournaments and kept me upbeat and encouraged me. At one point, during this 8-year run, I realized the best thing I could do was be myself. I couldn’t worry about what negative people had to say about what I was doing or other competitors put negative thoughts in my mind. I finally came to the conclusion that God would handle whatever happened with me, and I could be happy in knowing that. I also learned the older I got and the more I competed, the better I learned how to deal with negative people and negative comments. When I first started competing, I really would get upset when someone had a negative comment about me. I couldn’t believe that people would talk bad about me. But as I grew older, I learned there are a lot of negative people in the world, and you can’t let them make you negative.
The other escape mechanism I’ve had is bowhunting - that’s my true love. Putting on my Mossy Oak camo, taking my bow and arrow and going to the woods, after the tournaments were over from June until the opening of archery season, I was like a little child waiting on Santa Claus to come.
To learn more about Levi Morgan, visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Levi-Morgan/308973412532654?sk=info.