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Yankton Man Re-Elected Head of Archery Group

About to board a plane to Las Vegas, Bruce Cull took the time before his flight to comment on, and support, his sport.

"I'm all checked in. It's fine," he said.

In 2004, Cull served as the National Field Archery Association's president and last month he was re-elected president and will serve until 2006. Cull has been an officer or director in the National Field Archery Association since 1986, and according to Debbie Klink, an employee at the NFAA headquarters in California, he has been an active member since 1976.

Cull says his long-term involvement comes from his love of the sport.

"I just want to give back to the sport I've enjoyed," he said.

Cull said he has enjoyed archery since he was little and that passion has led him to hunt overseas.

"I've hunted six of the seven continents," he said. He hasn't had a chance to bow hunt in Antarctica because "there's not much to hunt there except penguins, and I don't think you can shoot them."

As co-owner of Dakota Archery in Yankton Cull has been a long-time fixture on the archery scene in southeast South Dakota, but now plans to bring the rest of the world to Yankton by hosting the National Field Archery Outdoor Championships and the National Unmarked 3-D Championship events in Yankton this summer. According to Cull, preparations are going well.

"In fact what I'm headed to right now is the world championships in Vegas, which is also our national meeting," he said. "We'll kind of go over everything for the upcoming summer. This is our 60th anniversary Outdoor Shoot, so it's kind of a big event for the NFAA. But it's going to be super-big for Yankton because we'll end up having 2,000 to 3,000 participants over the course of that seven days, along with a ton of industry people and support staff."

To give Yankton residents an idea of just how big this summer's archery event will be, Cull compared it to the B.A.S.S. northern divisional tournament held in Yankton last summer.

"Looking back on the B.A.S.S. Tournament (for comparison) this thing will be 10 to 20 times the size of that event," he said. "Let's say there's 1,500 participants. Our headquarters took the economic multiplier and figured it out. We're talking about a economic impact that's close to $2.5 million dollars to Yankton."

Klink said Cull deserves a large part of the credit for both the Vegas shoot and the upcoming anniversary shoot. She said the Las Vegas was previously privately held, but the event planners were looking to get out. Cull saw the event as a great stepping-stone for the NFAA and took it over. Now Cull has created the "3 Star Tour" that includes the NFAA World Archery Festival in Las Vegas, the National Field Archery Outdoor championships and the Atlantic Classic.

"Bruce has very large visions for moving the group forward and he's very passionate about what he does," Klink said. "He's always thinking about how he can grow the organization and bring archery to people who are new to it."

Cull has used that vision to promote and expand both new and old events, bringing larger prize money and added opportunities for archers.

"Through him, the prize money has grown; you can even win a car! He took a good thing and took it up about four notches," said Klink, "Part of it is because he is such an avid activist for archery and hunting. He has some very good contacts, and he's very well respected within the archery community. Because of that he was able to talk with sponsors to get sponsorship money, and he was trusted by the archers that he was going to put on a good show. Respectability and hard work is how he does it."

Cull will have his work cut out for him this summer coordinating the tournaments, but before then, he's more worried about a household champion. Cull's "inheriting" a 4-year-old girl, Gabrielle, and an 8-year-old boy, Elliot, with his upcoming marriage to his fiancé, Jennifer. Cull said he's got all of them shooting already, and with great success.

"(Jennifer) hadn't really shot a bow before we got engaged, and just this last year she got six deer and a turkey," he said. "She shot her first 300 indoor score here just last week."

Cull has a large vision for Gabrielle and Elliot's participation in archery as well.

"They're both shooting," he said. "In fact the four year old girl stands a good chance of being national champion in a month in Louisville, Ky. That will be the youngest one ever. Sshe's coming along well."