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NFAA Easton Yankton
Archery Complex

800 Archery Lane
Yankton, SD 57078


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

World Outdoor Archery Festival: Not All Archers Go High-Tech

While the sport of archery continues to progress and the equipment becomes more advanced, there is still a select group that remains true to the “primitive” form.

They have not followed the recent trends.

Among the nearly 300 archers competing at the National Field Archery Association (NFAA) National Field Championships in Yankton, Tom Daley and Marv Gibson are using barebows and recurve bows, respectively.

It's not because they're unwilling to change, but rather because they're comfortable, Daley said.

“When I started shooting, everyone shot this way,” the Auburn, Calif., resident said during his round Tuesday at the Crazy Horse range at Paddle Wheel Point.

“That's all we knew how to do,” he added. “But now everyone's got the whole works.”

With compound bows continuing to advance, with added equipment to aid the archer, Daley said he can understand the allure.

“It makes sense to want all the bells and whistles,” he said. “If you have all the sights and releases, all you have to do is aim and let go.”

Recurve bows have tips that curve away from the archer, and usually put greater strain on the bow which produces louder recoils.

As long as a bow has no wheels, sights or other stabilizers, it can be considered a barebow. Modern recurve bows would fall into this category.

In other words, without a sight, archers rely on their experience and eyes to aim their arrows to targets stationed at varying distances.

“It's mostly old people doing this,” joked Daley, who is shooting in the Master Senior Male Barebow division.

The NFAA features separate male, female, young adult and cub divisions for Freestyle Limited Recurve/Longbow and Barebow.

In the case of Gibson, a Norfolk, Neb., resident, he said using a recurve is an ode to the origins of the sport.

“There's definitely a historical attraction to it,” said Gibson, who estimates he has used a recurve for 56 years. “People have been shooting barebow, with a string and a stick, for 1,000 years.

“I think it's a fascination of what came before us.”

Rather than make the popular move to a compound, Gibson said his love of recurves goes back to when his father made him his first bow.

“He taught me this way,” Gibson said. “Twenty years ago, I learned to shoot without a sight. I'm doing this in honor of him.

“Plus,” he added, with a pause, “I've been doing it this way for so long, they hadn't even invented compounds yet.”

The modern version of the recurve is the only form permitted in the Olympics, though there has been a push from the archery world to include compounds.

“It's harder to hit anything this way,” Gibson said. “Compounds make it easier, because you have faster arrows and better-flying arrows.”

While missing the target completely might be a popular belief, based on the fact that no sights or scopes are used, archers like Daley and Gibson have trained themselves not to.

Asked how concerned he is with missing, Daley laughed and said, “Trust me, it crosses your mind.”

A member of the Norfolk Archery Club, Gibson calls himself “obsessed.”

“I shoot every day, whenever I can,” he said. “If I miss a day, I feel funny.”

S.D. Connection For Texas Couple

Among those in town for the NFAA National Field Championships is a Texas couple, who happens to have a unique connection to South Dakota's most famous landmark - Mount Rushmore.

Vicki Daniels and her husband, Les, drove to Yankton from Corpus Christi, Texas, an over 1,100-mile drive that took them two days. Les starting shooting archery this spring and is now competing alongside some of the best in the country.

But it's his wife that boasts the interesting tidbit.

Vicki works in human resources for a private energy company, which is owned by Robin Borglum Carter, granddaughter of famous Mount Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum.

“I was telling her before we came up here, that I can't even imagine seeing your grandfather's work all over the place,” Vicki said while watching her husband take aim at a target.

“We've never been up before, so we're planning to visit Mount Rushmore before we leave.”

Saying that the couple's drive to South Dakota was “pretty boring,” Vicki said they were amazed by the scenery at Lewis & Clark Lake.

“All we have down in Texas is the Gulf of Mexico, right near where we live, and it's all saltwater,” she said. “This is so beautiful up here; so fresh and clean.”