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Archery Notebook: Two more Tourneys Join IFAA Field in Yankton

Midway through their four-day event, more than 150 archers competing in the International Field Archery Association (IFAA) 2009 Bowhunter Championships got some company at the Yankton archery complex Saturday.

The start of the weekend marked the beginning of a pair of two-day competitions - the National Field Archery Association (NFAA) Unmarked 3-D Championships and the First Dakota National Bank Archery Classic.

More than 80 archers are registered for the NFAA Unmarked 3-D Championships and nearly 170 archers are competing in the First Dakota National Bank Archery Classic.

All three competitions conclude Sunday, with the awards ceremonies scheduled for 8 p.m.

Three days of competition are in the books in the IFAA Bowhunter Championships. The two largest divisions, the Adult Male Freestyle Unlimited and the Adult Male Longbow, each contain 16 archers.

With his third consecutive day with a score of 556, Koos De Wet of South Africa has taken a 14 point lead over Herwig Haunschmid of Austria in the Adult Male Freestyle Unlimited division. A pair of Austrians remain atop of the leaderboard in the Adult Male Longbow. Dietmar Vorderegger increased his lead over countryman Christian Wilhemlstatter by 12 points Saturday and now has a 16 point lead overall.

In another of the larger divisions, the Adult Male Bowhunter Unlimited, South Africans Victor Van Staden and Hendrik Van Staden are first and second, with Victor ahead by 27 points.

The First Dakota National Bank Archery Classic is the third and final leg of the World Archery Festival Three Star Tour. The first two stops were in Las Vegas and Lexington, Ky. Professionals and amateurs, men, women and children are competing side by side in two lines of more than 50 people. The styles of shooting in the competition are Freestyle, Freestyle Limited Recurve, Freestyle Limited Compound, Bowhunter Freestyle and Crossbow.

Competitors shoot 60 arrows each day. Adults, young adults and seniors shoot 20 arrows at targets from distances of 40, 50 and 60 yards.

The Professional Archer

Much of the field in the First Dakota Bank Archery Classic is composed of professional archers. The event is considered the third star of the World Archery Festival 3 Star Tour, with Las Vegas and Louisville being the first two.

Reo Wilde, of Pocatello, Idaho, is one of the pros competing in Yankton this weekend. He said this event is one of 16, both indoor and outdoor, he'll be taking part in this year.

Wilde has been a professional archer for 17 years and also works for UPS. He said most archers need to have jobs outside of archery to make a living.

“Archery isn't a really big paying sport,” Wilde said. “You might make a little bit extra money from tournament to tournament and a little extra to have for spending or for fun, but other than that it's not a huge income.”

One of the perks of being a pro is sponsorship from the top equipment manufacturers. Wilde said Hoyt and Easton help him out with equipment and entry into tournaments around the country.

Professionals compete for the NFAA Shooter of the Year Award. Wilde, who sits in the top 10 in the rankings, said a lot of the time the pros won't have the time to devote to all the tour stops and that takes them out of the running.

“I usually end up missing one of the tournaments because I don't have enough time off from my other job, so I usually don't end up being competitive for the Shooter of the Year,” he said.

Wilde is one of five archers up for the $1,000,000 prize that will be award if someone shoots a perfect score on both days, but he said it's not likely anyone will be lucky enough to pull off that feat.

“It's pretty rare with the weather and being outside,” Wilde said. “For someone to shoot a clean score on this range, where no one has ever shot a clean score, it's going to be tough.”

A Different Perspective

A line of more than 50 archers shoot side by side at the First Dakota Bank Archery Classic, with little more than a couple of feet of space between them.

Among the cluster of archers sits Daniel Erickson, firing away with the rest of the competitors. Since 1982, the native of Ramsey, Minn., has been confined to a wheelchair, but that hasn't kept him from taking part in the sport he has loved since childhood.

Erickson, 49, got some adaptive equipment made for him the Courage Center in Golden Valley, Minn., to help him use his bow and has been shooting since in 1983.

“I started to shoot and got pretty good and starting beating the other guys,” Erickson said. “I kept on competing and I just really, really enjoyed it.”

Erickson skills have taken him to competitions all around the United States and even as far as Sweden, where he competed in the international wheelchair championships.

In 1996, Erickson was ranked eighth in the world and was an alternate that year in the Paralympics in Atlanta. Erickson didn't get to compete in the Paralympics, but he had the opportunity to shoot at the Paralympic facilities and also went to a wheelchair archery training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.

Erickson has even been able to hunt and took down a pair of whitetail deer in consecutive years.

In recent years, Erickson has gone to fewer competitions, but still enjoys whenever he takes part in one. He said most of the competitions he enters these days are able-bodied ones, but most of the time he said he finds them to be accommodating to his needs.

Erickson needs slightly more room than other archers on the line for his wheelchair. Sometimes he also needs help getting his arrows after shooting off a round.

“Outdoors there's no way you can (retrieve your own arrows),” Erickson said. “Indoors there's usually a hard enough surface that you can go back and forth without getting too tired. But I still enjoy shooting outdoors more when the weather is nice than shooting indoors.”

Erickson doesn't travel too far from home to compete anymore, but he said that's just fine with him.

“Back home, pretty much everyone in the state of Minnesota knows me now because I've been doing it so long,” he said. “They know what accommodations I need and it's fun shooting with people I've known for over 25 years.”