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NFAA Easton Yankton
Archery Complex

800 Archery Lane
Yankton, SD 57078
605-260-9282
info@neyac.org

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Weekdays: 9am - 9pm
Saturday: 10am - 7pm
Sunday: 12pm - 7pm

National Archery Tournaments Return to Yankton

Two of the biggest national tournaments in competitive archery return to Yankton this weekend. Yet, this time the city can officially call itself the center of the archery world.

With the new National Field Archery Association (NFAA) headquarters building nearing completion, Yankton will host the National Unmarked 3-D Championship Saturday and Sunday and the 63rd annual Outdoor Field Championship, which will be held Monday through Friday.

This summer will be the fourth-straight year Yankton will host either of the tournaments - the Unmarked 3-D has been here every year since 2005 and the Field Championships were here 2005 and 2006.

“It's great timing for us because our new building is moving right along,” said Bruce Cull, NFAA President and owner of Dakota Archery in Yankton. “There's a lot for people to see while they're out here.

The new building even drew a small group of competitors from Texas, who came to Yankton early - a week early, in fact. While in town this week, the group was “out and about, seeing the town and shooting on the new ranges,” Cull said.

The new NFAA complex sits at 800 Archery Lane, which lies between the Super 8 and Sturdevant's Auto Parts. The action will take place at the four new ranges located south of Best Western Kelly Inn, as well as at Paddle Wheel Point.

Competition in the Unmarked 3-D begins Saturday with an 8 a.m. casual start and continues Sunday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The National Field Championships kick off Monday at 9 a.m. and continues each morning the rest of the week. An awards ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. on Friday.

There will also be a trade show each day of both tournaments, as well as an appreciation dinner and opening ceremony next Wednesday night.

Estimates for total archers in both tournaments range between 650 and 700. The larger of the two tournaments, the National Field Championships, will see nearly 500 of those archers.

One of those participants, Yankton's Keith Hofer, said he believes shooting at the national tournaments in Yankton could potentially give him an “edge” over the field.

“The advantages shooting here are really nice for a hometown guy, no question,” said Hofer, who will be competing in both tournaments in the Adult Male Freestyle division. “Having people come into town is something I really look forward to. It's always interesting to see what the rest of the country is doing.”

Yet, as Hofer said with a chuckle, “Sometimes you see shooters who are so much better than you expected. That's what makes these kinds of events fun; seeing how the competition is.”

James Butts, from Colorado, is the top-ranked professional shooter in the nation, currently with 4,375 points. Butts, who finished 18th last year in the Pro Male Freestyle division, is a three-time national champion (1999-2001) and world champion in 2000. Last year's pro male winner was Josh Schaff.

With the NFAA headquarters now firmly planted in the middle of the country, Cull and Hofer both said they believe the location will bring in added attention, and possibly more archers.

“Being in the central of the country really helps,” said Hofer, who has been bowhunting competitively for five years. “Having the new headquarters here will probably draw some more people, too.”

“I imagine you'll see people not only here to shoot but to see the new complex,” Cull said this week. “It's an amazing step for archery in Yankton and in the region.”

Next year, the National Field tournament will be held in Pennsylvania, but Cull said he believes it's “very favorable” that the Unmarked 3D will return to Yankton in 2009.

Also in 2009, from June 11-14, Yankton will host the World Bowhunter Championships, which Cull says is the “biggest and best event in this sport.”