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September 17, 2010

NFAA and USA Archery playing together - JUST PLAIN CRAZY TALK!

By now, many of you have probably seen the announcement that USA Archery and the National Field Archery Association have come together on our premier outdoor events to provide an Outdoor Archery Festival if you will. If you have not read about this, please see the release by clicking here. I am also certain that there are many questions and concerns regarding how we arrived at the location, dates and simply why? So I would like to address some of those issues within this blog.

WHY PLAY TOGETHER?

Honestly why NOT play together. I have been in the sport of archery and played in the archery industry for 26 years now and even as an archer, I wondered "why" we had to have NFAA events and USA Archery (NAA at that time) events. It seemed to make it more difficult on the archer to figure out the events, membership etc. Since taking this job in 2008, Bruce Cull, President of the NFAA, and I have had many conversations about how crazy it is that our organizations don't do more together and the potential waste of resources. We agreed to try to be open to opportunities and increase communication.

During the 2010 U.S. National Target Championships USA Archery announced that Hoyt would become the title sponsor in 2011 for the Hoyt World Open, formerly known as the U.S. Open, which is shot in conjunction and immediately following the U.S. National Target Championships. For more information on this event, please click here. We were then thrown into the process of trying to confirm dates and locations for the 2011 event. USA Archery and Hoyt felt that it was imperative, if we truly wanted to draw an international crowd, for the Hoyt World Open to be placed the week prior to the Ogden World Cup competition which was scheduled the first week in August. This landed us on the dates of July 27-31. We soon realized we had a scheduling conflict with the NFAA Field Nationals which were scheduled the same week.

Bruce and I began to talk about the possibility of re-arranging schedules and who could move to what dates etc…. and then it hit us. This is our opportunity! Bruce and I agreed to take a giant leap of faith and "play together". As the conversation began, there was a lot of hesitation and concern about how this would "really work". Won't people be too tired, will there be enough time, is the field adequate, etc. etc. One by one, we were able to address these issues and the conversation turned from "is it possible" to "this could be very cool". We have only just begun our preparations for next year, and with both Bruce and I committed to make this event BIG, I think you will see even more announcements to come as ideas are flushed out.

WHY YANKTON?

One of the first questions I received after making the announcement was why Yankton. It was also my first question to Bruce… will you move your event from Yankton? This move was not possible as the NFAA had already committed to the city and since USA Archery had not yet committed to a city, it was easy for us to join up with NFAA. Interesting enough, the more I got into the planning for this event, the more I realized how lucky we are to have a location like Yankton for this first event. Can you imagine trying to have a venue that can accommodate five field courses and a FITA layout and hotels all within walking distance? The reality is we could not have pulled this off without being in a location where much of these facilities are already created and we have very willing and supportive partners in the city of Yankton and the NFAA and their staff. This really is a perfect location for trying something like this.

IS THIS GOING TO HAPPEN EVERY YEAR?

Bruce and I have not confirmed that we will be doing a joint event in 2012, but we also have not ruled it out. We are both flexible in our venue and if this event proves to be successful we could possibly look for other venues in 2012.  Scheduling for 2012 will prove to be a bit problematic if we want to keep the same dates (last week of July) since this will put the event overlapping the Olympics. It will also remove the opportunity to host the event leading up to the Ogden World Cup in 2012, as the World Cup will be held June 19-24 during that year. So, we may look at moving the event to a date just prior to, or after the World Cup in 2012. Which for those of you who are paying attention… Yes, this would mean considering (emphasis on considering NOT confirmed) a June date for our U.S. National Target Championships and Hoyt World Open in 2012.

WILL THERE BE ENOUGH TIME TO SHOOT ALL EVENTS?

As we finalize the schedule both organizations are very aware that in order for this event to be successful the schedule has to be flexible enough so that no archer has to shoot a FITA round and a field round the same day. We realize that this would be too much shooting in a day and would take away from the festival environment which we would like to create. We do realize however that it extends the event - to a complete week if you want to shoot both events. We feel that the cost savings for the individual (one single plane ticket and less room nights) make up for this. We also think that many already take a week off from work and if they can do both events within that week, it saves some vacation time.

In the preliminary schedule USA Archery has scheduled only a single FITA round for the U.S. Target Championships and of course the Hoyt World Open would follow with eliminations for Juniors, Seniors and Masters. However, this format will likely be reviewed by the USAA Board of Directors in the November/December (date not yet confirmed) board meeting. There are many other factors, including the change by FITA to go to an all 50m round for compounds during the World Championships that may require a change in format as well. We are also still considering a double FITA round for the U.S. National Target Championships, but certainly going back to this round would complicate further the ability for an archer to shoot in both the U.S. National Target Championships and the NFAA Field Championships.

FESTIVAL ATMOSPHERE

One of the things I like most about the sport of archery is the friendships I have made. The community is tight-knit and the people are genuine. It has not been lost on me that what many people like in attending events, is not just the competition, but the camaraderie with the other archers. In discussions surrounding the double FITA vs. single FITA at the U.S. National Target Championships, much of the discussion heads toward the time we get to spend with each other and that many times, this is the only time of the year we see our archery friends from across the country. At the core of this decision, THIS is why I believe this event will be a success. Yes, there will be lots of prizes and money. It is likely we will draw more industry exhibitors, but more than anything, I think the atmosphere will be one of celebration and connection within the archery family and I think this will be the reason you will not want to miss the event. I look forward to hosting everyone at the 2011 U.S. Target National Championships and Hoyt World Open in Yankton!

Denise

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