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NFAA Easton Yankton
Archery Complex

800 Archery Lane
Yankton, SD 57078


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

ONLINE: Two Pro Archers Aiming For Million Dollar Price

Among the approximately 400 archers in Yankton this weekend for a pair of national tournaments are two professionals gunning for an ultimate payoff.

No, it's not a trophy or a shiny medal.

Instead, Jesse Broadwater and Braden Gellenthien have their eyes on a million dollar prize that would be awarded to the archer that completes a three-round tour with a perfect score.

The third and final leg in that tour, the First Dakota Bank Archery Classic, began Saturday afternoon at the Olympic ranges behind the Easton Yankton Archery Complex. The 2-day event, which features just over 200 archers, continues Sunday.

“It's an expectation,” Broadwater, a 28-year-old from Jennerstown, Penn., said of the million dollars. “It's almost completely undoable outside with this wind, though. It'd be tough.

“I guess there's always that chance you could have that great day, but I doubt it.”

To claim the million dollar prize, archers needed to record a perfect score in all three legs of the World Archery Festival 3 Star Tour - the Vegas Shoot (Feb. 10-12), the NFAA Indoor National Championships (March 16-17 in Louisville, Ken.) and the First Dakota Classic.

The two rounds of the First Dakota Classic feature 60 arrows at distances of 40, 50 and 60 yards.

A perfect score would have been a 900 at the Vegas Shoot, a 600 at the Indoor Nationals and two consecutive 600's in Yankton.

Gellenthien, a 26-year-old from College Station, Texas, was a little less confident in the possibility.

“It's impossible; it won't happen,” he said, with a hint of a smile. “Even with the current format, it would be borderline inside. You would need the best day of your entire life to even get close.”

Adding with a laugh, “I think they're just dangling a carrot for us.”

Two other qualified archers, Grant Schleusner and Rio Wilde, chose not to participate in the First Dakota Classic because of the conditions, according to Broadwater.

“The other guys didn't even come here, which I think tells you how tough this is,” he said.

Despite winds that at times caused obstacles for archers on Saturday afternoon, temperatures were significantly cooler than earlier in the week - Yankton cracked the 100-degree mark three times in the previous four days.

“Today (Saturday) the conditions are good enough, but you never know if the wind will pick up,” Gellenthien said. “I've been here before, I know what the wind is like. I'm just so glad that heat finally broke.”

Broadwater, who won the Vegas Shoot and was in the final shoot-off at the NFAA Indoor Nationals, said he believed there might have been more excitement for the million dollar prize if the final leg was held indoors.

“It'd be one of the best things for this sport if this was inside,” Broadwater said. “I think you would have so many other guys gunning for it because they knew it was a little more realistic. That would be good for the growth of this sport.”

Yankton Youth Starstruck

Ally Hagen, Gabby Keiser and their teammates are getting an up close and personal look at their favorite professional archers this weekend.

The duo from Yankton are members of the Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD), which is a program through USA Archery that is designed to teach the sport to young shooters, ages 8-20, over a series of classes.

“It's cool that there's a lot of famous people here,” Hagen, 14, said Saturday afternoon between rounds at the First Dakota Bank Archery Classic. “I got to meet Paige Pearce and Rio Wilde, and they both signed my quiver.

“I always thought of Yankton as a small town.”

For 12-year-old Keiser, standing in the same line that featured well-known pros was understandly a cool experience.

“It's pretty weird seeing all these people around,” she said. “Usually it's pretty empty when we come out here to shoot.”

Keiser said some of the professionals in town offered her tips on her release - advice that, yes, she used Saturday.

“It's really neat that they all came here and that we get to hang out with them for a while,” Keiser said.

Top Pro Searching For Win

One of the top professional archers in the nation is hoping to break through this weekend in Yankton.

Tim Gillingham - known by most as “Hammer” - is still searching for his first tournament victory of the year, though he has captured three second-place finishes and a third place along the way.

Competing in both the NFAA Unmarked 3D Championship and First Dakota Classic, the Provo, Utah, resident knows it wouldn't be an easy road to first place.

“The field is really deep again this year,” he said. “It seems like the talent pool gets better and better every time we all come together.”

Proof that just about anybody can win one of these types of tournaments, Gillingham pointed to this May's Redding Western Classic Trail Shoot - held in conjunction with the NFAA Marked 3D Nationals - as a perfect example. One point separated the top five archers.

“I missed a 10-yard shot and it cost me a tournament win,” he said.

A previous winner in Yankton, Gillingham said he prefers outdoor shoots like the two this weekend.

“I love it being outside,” he said. “It's an archery skill, you should have to be able to deal with the wind and everything else. The weather dictates the scores you're going to see.

“There's no given when you're outside; nothing is predetermined.”

Final Day

The final round of the First Dakota Classic begins at 9 a.m. today (Sunday), with an awards presentation to follow.

Also today will be the final round of the NFAA Unmarked 3D Championships.