Pea Shooting: Historic Pedigree, Scientific Principle and a Coming Revival
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Pea Shooting: Historic Pedigree, Scientific Principle and a Coming Revival

The first National Pea Shooting Championship is complete. Almost 70 competitors battled for hours on Saturday, October 11 in a variety of heats designed to test accuracy and consistency of shooting skills.

The sport is new to the U.S., with most of the competitors being novices. But that didn't dampen interest or intensity of competitor or observer.

"I knew folks would be interested in this new sport but I admit I was surprised at the high intensity level of the competitors. And even more so by the rapt attention of the audience throughout," said Dan Wensley, National Pea Shooting Association (NPSA).

The championship ended in appropriate high drama with three elimination rounds needed after the finals for ages 5-11 ended in a tie.

The results:

James Rosar
National Pea Shooting Champion, Adult, 2014

Zach Dauel
ational Pea Shooting Champion, 12-17 Years, 2014

Jackson Wills
National Pea Shooting Champion, 5-11 Years, 2014


Pea shooting has a rich cultural and utilitarian pedigree. During the early 20th century in England "knocker-uppers" would wake folks for work by knocking on their bedroom windows. Initially this was accomplished by reaching up to the window with a long pole with a knob or wire attached to the end. But the trade soon transitioned to a preference for using a shooter tube and blowing dried peas through it at the windows.

The basics of pea shooting are simple enough but like all sports it takes a lifetime to master and shooting skill develops through practice.

"It’s more skillful than something like archery because you have inconsistencies with the peas.”
Ian Ashmeade, former World Pea Shooting Champion

"The scientific process is studying the known world through repeated observation.  We do this everyday without thinking when we play sports, for example.  But in addition to repeatedly observing, we take what we observe and we use it to tweak our actions.  In pea shooting, when you repeatedly see yourself shooting off-target, you make adjustments.

Part of the scientific process also involves defining what your variables are, and trying to change only one at a time to see what happens.  Breathing speed, tongue position, moisture in the blow tube, diameter of the tube, angle of the tube to the target, size of the pea, and roundness of the pea all affect the pea's final location on the target. 

The challenge for the sports pea shooter is to try to only adjust one variable at a time to see which "setting" works best.  There are so many variables that this is a life-long iteration for most anything in life."

-- Colin Campbell, Engineer


National Public Radio is covering the inaugural National Pea Shooting Championship - broadcasting through over 200 media outlets nationwide.

The show, Only A Game, is scheduled to air at the end of October. Click here for info on ways to listen.


It's happening! The birth of a new US sport and a new national sports championship! And it's all starting in Roanoke, VA!

Check in the coming weeks for photos and video from the 2014 National Pea Shooting Championship and plans for the 2015 National Pea Shooting Championship.

For more information please contact:
River Laker

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