It’s one of the oldest forms of competition alive today, archery. As a competition it’s not all about endurance, strength, or even speed, it’s about accuracy and skill which makes it a fairly all-inclusive sport. Midwest Meetings spoke with Nancy Wenande, Director of Public Relations for NFAA Easton Yankton Archery Center, about the events surrounding the sport of archery. The competitions themselves are a large gathering that are run like clockwork; with up to 70 archers shooting at once trying to get their 60 arrows in for their daily score out of what could be 1,000 competitors in the tournament, it can get a bit hectic.
Wenande took us through some of the specifics, “Archery tournaments may have different formats depending on the game being played. A typical tournament would start on Saturday morning with people having been assigned different ‘line times.’” As mentioned before, many archers will have to shoot at once, starting early in the day, as they have many different line times to complete their 60 arrows to receive their final daily score. This process happens twice, then you accumulate a score out of 600. “A perfect indoor score could be 600. If several people have scored 600 the tie-breaker is how many x’s you hit (which is the direct center of the target).”
We asked Wenande about the 2015 World Archery Youth Championships that were held in Yankton, SD, “This tournament is held in the America’s once every 6 years, so we were very honored to be selected as the host site in 2015.” This youth tournament consisted of competitors aged 14-19 from 51 countries, they had over 1,000 archers competing. “We drew in large numbers of spectators from the region and around the world because of the magnitude of the tournament.” Wenande told us, “Archery is one of those sports, for the most part, where you are competing against yourself…During some tournament events, the fans are loud and have noise-makers for cheering and at other tournaments it is more subdued. Archers, for the most part, are not contentious people.”
If an archer does not know the rules or safety procedures they are not allowed to participate. The whistle procedures for the sport are another protocol that helps make these tournaments safe. Not only are there proper voice commands but when an archer hears two whistles they can get their equipment and stand in place but no knocking of arrows. One whistle means that shooting is live and when finished shooting you rack your equipment, on three whistles everyone is finished shooting and it is safe to remove your arrows and if you ever hear four whistles you immediately stop the action because someone is doing something unsafe that needs to be addressed. These procedures are what makes the sport, according to Wenande, one of the safest sports to participate in. With the inclusivity of archery, the comradery, and the safe nature there’s no reason not to find a range and let loose your archer spirit.