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  • Writer's pictureAbby Stahl

The World is Coming Back

Momentum has landed Yankton two more prestigious international archery tournaments.

That was the message shared at a Friday afternoon press conference to officially announce Yankton as the host for two World Archery events: The 2018 Indoor Championships and the 2020 Field Championships.

The reception and reaction received by Yankton after its hosting of this summer’s World Archery Youth Championships (WAYC) played a direct role in the international organization – the governing body of the sport – awarding two future events to the town of 14,000 residents.

“Several factors played into us getting these new tournaments,” said Bruce Cull, president of the local committee and president of the National Field Archery Association.

“But what we did at the Youth World was, by far, the biggest selling point for us.”

Another top selling point for Yankton?

Its facilities at the Easton Yankton Archery Complex, Cull said during Friday’s press conference that featured 12 members of the local committee.

The indoor 90-meter range is one of the few of its kind in the world, and the complex also boasts two outdoor FITA ranges and three outdoor field courses.

“I never set a goal to have these tournaments, however the facility evolved to the point where we’re able to get there,” Cull said. “My love of Yankton and of South Dakota is obviously the reason this facility is sitting here.

“I never imagined that a community could come together to enable this.”

Over the span of an entire week this past June, 557 athletes and trainers from 51 countries converged on Yankton for the WAYC – an event that became the most prestigious archery event to be held in Yankton since the NFAA relocated its national headquarters to the city in 2008.

The factor, though, that really told the story was the community-wide support for the tournament, according to Cull. A total of 807 local volunteers donated their time, in some way, to the week-long event.

“The icing on the cake for the community is to read a committee … say that the hospitality and the way we ran that tournament are the reasons they’re coming back,” Cull said.

The tentative dates for the Indoor Championships are Feb. 13-18, 2018, and Sept. 15-20, 2020, for the Field Championships.

Yankton had actually put together a bid package for three tournaments, the third being the 2019 World Archery 3D Championships. That event, however, was awarded to Canada.

Still, the confidence from World Archery that Yankton deserved two more opportunities spoke highly of how the community came together this summer, according to Nancy Wenande, the Tournament Director for the 2018 and 2020 events.

“It’s really exciting to get that reinforcement that what we did was really at a high level of their expectations,” Wenande said.

Two potential issues that will be needed to ironed out before the events deal with air travel and lodging, Cull said.

Air service was one battle Yankton encountered during this summer’s WAYC, because of the sheer number of people arriving and departing within a small window of time. Initial dialogues have already started with Mike Huether, the mayor of Sioux Falls, and with officials at Sioux Falls Regional Airport, according to Cull.

The second issue, lodging and hotel space, presents a different challenge for the 2018 and 2020 events, specifically in that because of the dates, the Mount Marty College dorms won’t be available.

“I know that’s one of the common things you hear, one of the growing pains in Yankton is motel rooms,” Cull said.

Between those hotel stays, dining visits and other activities from archers during the week-long events, there’s an understandable boon to the local economy, as Cull pointed out Friday.

The budget for this summer’s WAYC was just under $1 million, and that figure is likely to be the same for the 2018 and 2020 events, he said.

“These will be similar, and the residual domino effect is incredible,” Cull said.

Such an impact is one of the reasons Cull said he also pushing for the acknowledgement by the state of sports tourism; in short, that athletic events can lead to economic development.

“Archery, obviously, has set the path in South Dakota, and I think everybody from the Governor on down is taking notice that sports can actually drive economic development,” Cull said.

Local organizing committee member Carmen Schramm, an appointee to Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s Tourism Advisory Board, called sports tourism “a quickly growing sector.”

“By having these types of tournaments in Yankton, it exposes them to the state, and hopefully that word of mouth continues when they go back to their country,” said Schramm, who also serves as the Executive Director of the Yankton Area Chamber of Commerce.

There’s also the hope that word of mouth spreads within residents of Yankton for what archery means to this town on a global scale, Wenande said.

“I think people are still having a hard time grasping that, that we are an international hotspot for archery,” she said.

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