First, you have to shoot a score that is uniquely higher than anyone else before you.  Tie records ARE allowed and recognized.  You must understand what constitutes a record, what conditions you can set a record, and what kind of record you might set.  There are several kinds of records that USA Archery chronicles.

For the most part, USAA (USA Archery) follows the rules of FITA for determining the categories of rules. For example, Gender, Age, Bow Type, Distance, Tournament Type, these are all part of what defines the records USAA and FITA recognize.

Here is where it gets tricky:

You can shoot a "National" Record, a National "Star FITA" record, a JOAD National record, or a combination of these, all depending on the circumstances of the tournament.  State associations generally follow these same guidelines but do not have anything to do at all with the USAA/FITA levels. 

If you are at a USAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP EVENT (either the indoor or the outdoor "Target" event), then your record score is called a "National" record.  ALL USAA national events are also registered with FITA as "Star FITA" events.  Therefore if the score is high enough in the Star FITA arena it can also be a national "Star FITA" record at the same time it is recognized as a National Record.

If you are at any other event than the USAA national championships, an event that has been registered with USAA as a "Star FITA" event, then a record score is called a National "STAR FITA" record.  (as long as it ties/is higher than the existing record, of course).  It does not work the other way around - a plain old regular STAR FITA tournament cannot confer a USAA NATIONAL record.  Clear?

JOAD tournaments CAN be registered as STAR FITA events, but they only apply in the portions that match the STAR FITA rules and regulations for archers, typically only the Cadets and Juniors categories.  The USAA does recognize and monitor records for those non-Star FITA portions (bowmen and cubs, for example) as well.

TO complicate things even more, USAA also follows the rules of FITA concerning the age/division of archers competing "up" into a harder division.  Where the phrase "world record" is used below, it can be substituted for "USAA national record" as well. 

THIS IS AN EXPANSION/EXPLANATION OF RECORD CLAIM OPPORTUNITIES, BASED ON INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM  FITA FAQs. - note the quotes:

"A men/women’s world record is recognised if performed by a master, junior or cadet men/women, no matter in which class he/she was registered at the tournament where he/she performed the record.
A junior men/women record is recognised if performed by a cadet men/women, no matter in which class he/she was registered at the tournament where he/she performed the record if the format of the competition is the same for both (e.g. a cadet when participating in a FITA Round for cadets cannot break at the same time the junior records since the distances or the order in which they were shot are not the same)."

IN OTHER WORDS:

An archer, properly registered for a tournament, may legitimately claim ANY record for which the score he/she shot exceeds an existing record, even if the record is in a higher division, provided the distances and target sizes, and order of distances shot, are the same.

For example, a cadet who shoots an indoor 600 round score that exceeds the existing record score of the Junior (or Senior) division of an indoor 600 round may claim that record as well as the cadet division record. (this meets the "same distance at same time" criteria)

But a cadet competing outdoors shoots different distances/times than a junior at certain times, and therefore cannot claim a record for say, 70 meters, as it was not shot under the same conditions/times as when the juniors at that event were shooting 70 meters.
However, both cadet and junior would shoot 30 meters at the same time allowing the cadet to possibly claim a record score for that distance.

Also, if the archer registers "up" one or more divisions yet still exceeds the record for his/her natural divsion (ie, a cadet registers as a JUNIOR and shoots a score that exceeds the existing cadet record for the distance shot) may lay legitimate claim to the cadet record even though the archer did not compete in that lower division during the tournament, again provided the distances/times are the same for both divisions. If the up-cadet shoots a score at a distance NOT being shot simultaneously by the rest of the cadet field, no record can be claimed as the "same distance same time criteria" is not met.

Likewise, if an archer is old enough/qualified to compete as a Master 50/60/70, and shoots a score that ties or exceeds an existing SENIOR record score, that archer can then claim that SENIOR record as well as the Master 50/60/or 70+ record, simply by executing properly the claim form process. Note that as of 2010, all Masters of 50+, 60+, or 70+ NOW shoot the same distance/same target, therefore can claim records for similar distances/times. (see cadet provisions above). IN ALL CASES IT IS INCUMBENT UPON THE ARCHER TO FILE A PROPERLY COMPLETED CLAIM FORM, FOR ALL RECORDS TIED/BROKEN, WITHIN THE 10 DAYS AFTER THE COMPLETION OF THE EVENT.    

If in doubt the archer should apply by properly getting the score cards completed, signed by a tournament official such as the DOS or judge, and submitting it to the USAA with the specific claim form.   If at all possible the form should be filled out on your computer screen BEFORE you print it out and sign it to send it in. 

NOTE: It is incumbent on you to insure that whomever is recording the scores on scorecards is using a black/blue pen (no pink or purple pens for example) and writes clearly the numbers.  You are ultimately responsible for all math, and you do not get "do-overs" if you sign a score card that has errors in addition.  If the scores cannot be read by the person processing the records, then you will NOT get the record.  Acquiring a record in the USAA and/or FITA is an honor of incredible importance and will exist forever.  It may be bettered, but for some point of time, you will be recognized as the BEST shooter in the land.   

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