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NFAA Easton Yankton
Archery Complex

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

Hours

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

NFAA Unmarked 3D Championships: Sport Continues to Boom

As they all walked back from their final target of the day, a group of four veteran - they would say “old” - archers were clearly having a good time.

Minutes later, the quartet of Shorty Faber, Dave Bruntz, Neil Chandler and Tom Juffer said they were all amazed at how they sport they grew up loving has continued to spread down to the younger ranks.

That was no more evident than at the National Field Archery Association (NFAA) Unmarked 3D Championships, which concluded Sunday afternoon in Yankton.

“Archery booms because you don't have to be a jock in your school,” Faber, 62, said. The Carthage resident also serves as the South Dakota state NFAA director. “You could be the most uncoordinated person out there but still be the best shooter.

“Everyone can do it.”

As the group of four men - all from the area - were signing their scorecards and reminiscing about their day, a pair of groups with younger archers were waiting in the wings to start their rounds.

Those are sights familiar to regular shooters in NFAA tournaments, Chandler said.

“I love to come up here. I've been up here a bunch of times and I'll always come back,” said the Ralston, Neb., native, who has been attending tournaments in Yankton since 2004.

As part of his archery duties, Faber teaches rifle and bowhunter courses, which naturally bring him into contact with young enthusiasts every time.

“In my classes, we're seeing more and more kids all the time, and that's a plus for our state,” Faber said. He pointed to an increase in archers and a sharp decline in gun hunters.

Juffer, a Yankton resident, pointed to the Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) clubs in Yankton as proof that the sport is growing at the younger ranks.

“Those kids have gone all over the country and done really well,” Juffer said. “And some of those kids haven't been shooting for very long, which is amazing.”

Bruntz, of Sioux City, Iowa, agreed with his fellow archers in saying he notices a shift in archery interest.

When it comes to the more experienced shooters, sure, their stamina and strength have changed since their younger days, but Chandler said one key thing hasn't changed.

“I love shooting with my peers because our all attitudes are the same; we've all been doing this for a long time,” Chandler said. “We've all been through it before. We're here for a good time.”

First Dakota Classic Winners

In the world of competitive archery, a pair of familiar names came out on top Sunday after the second round of the First Dakota Bank Classic in Yankton.

Professional archers Jamie Van Natta and Tim Gillingham won their respective divisions, each saying the victories will propel them to greater heights this summer.

Battling the wind on Saturday was an adventure in itself, let alone the act of shooting arrows into targets 40, 50 and 60 yards away, Van Natta said.

“This was quite a challenge,” she said. The computer programmer from Toledo, Ohio, won the Pro Female Freestyle division. “Today (Sunday) was perfect and yesterday was miserable with the wind. When it's like that, it's more about luck then skill, which is frustrating.”

The owner of nine current world records, Van Natta said she once again enjoyed her trip to Yankton - a place she frequently comes for national and international events.

“It always helps to win,” she said, laughing. “I've been doing pretty well this year. Hopefully this carries me over into September (her next big tournament).”

In the case of Gillingham, his Pro Male title was his first of the season.

“It feels awesome to get one,” he said Sunday. “I gave my lead back there for a while, but it ended up working out for me.”

Though he had “issues” with the knocks (the v-shaped groove on the end of the arrow which meets the string) on his bow, Gillingham was able to thrive in a venue which typically favors his style.

“Even when it's windy like it was this weekend, I don't mind it at all,” he said. “This is the kind of weather that I seem to like.”

Montana Man Wins Car Shoot-Off

Paul Tedford came to Yankton wanting simply to improve his archery skills.

He will instead leave town with significantly deeper pockets.

The 24-year-old from Great Falls, Mont., won a car shoot-off on Saturday night at the Easton Yankton Archery Complex, and had the option of taking the car - a new Mustang convertible - or a cash prize of $10,000.

Not wanting to pay for taxes and shipping, Tedford chose the money.

“You never really expect to win, but you have to at least try,” he said Sunday, after a ceremonial photo op. “It's all about focus; you can't give up. If you miss even one arrow, you're done.”

He shot seven arrows, at distances of 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 yards, beating out a field that included over 100 archers.

By the time his target reached 40 yards, the small dot in the center of the bullseye was quarter-sized, Tedford said.

What does he plan to do with the money?

“That'll really help pay my way to other tournaments so I can win some more,” Tedford said, smiling. “These trips really add up.”