Things are a little quieter at the NFAA Easton Yankton Archery Center and Riverside Park as fall sets in on Yankton.
Just a month ago, these places became the center of the archery world. As part of a trio of international archery events and tournaments in Yankton, they have hosted hundreds of athletes, dignitaries, coaches and other support staff from 85 countries while donating to the city ââwith international visibility.
This week, local archery officials discussed these events and their impacts with Press & Dakotan.
Last month, Yankton hosted the 54th World Archery Congress, immediately followed by the Hyundai Archery World Championships and the Hyundai Archery World Cup Finals.
Event Director Brittany Salonen said the events were a huge success overall.
âWe were able to bring pretty much everyone to what may have happened,â she said. âOn the community side, it was great. It was a safe event in terms of COVID and health and safety. “
Stephanie Moser, Director of Events and Community Outreach, said attendees were very happy with what they saw from the community.
âEveryone really enjoyed being here,â she said. âI spoke to quite a few archers who loved going out to shops or restaurants, and people would stop to greet them, wish them good luck or ask them how they got on. I think it was a little different for them. I don’t know if they are necessarily used to going to communities that embrace the activity that is taking place so much.
But it wasn’t just the officials and athletes who enjoyed the experience.
The Hyundai Archery World Championships weekend featured Archery Fest, a community celebration in Riverside Park that, in addition to being the venue for the Championship and World Cup finals, hosted vendors , family activities, a Brule performance and a Saturday night fireworks display from the Meridian Bridge. The venue for the finale even came with a replica of Mount Rushmore.
âWe’ve had a lot of great feedback from the community with kids and families, food trucks and vendors,â Salonen said. âI think everyone had a great time. â¦ It was a great free event for the community, and they got to come see the world class archery for free and enjoy all the activities.
NFAA Foundation President Bruce Cull said there were many unique elements to having the trifecta of events in one place as a result, but one of the more unusual parts was the location in which the congress was held.
âTo have Congress here – which has only been held once in the United States before – with all the powers and legislative (bodies) from every archery sport in the world coming to see this facility,â there have been a lot of firsts, “he said.” These events take place in big convention centers, and coming here and being in something of their own is really immersed in them. They were in a specific facility at the archery and were having their archery specific meeting, and there never was one where they could do it. To add the real icing to the cake, they were also in the larger center of Archery World in Yankton, South Dakota.
VOLUNTEERS AND PARTICIPANTS
None of these three events would have happened without an army of volunteers.
Despite the hardships endured over the past two years, Cull said, the region has provided aid in droves.
âI would say it’s not an understatement to say we had 500 volunteers,â he said.
Salonen said it was a bit different from previous tournaments, which were largely focused on summer.
âYou’ll notice if you look back to 2015 we probably had double,â she said. âBut, it was fall, so we lost a lot of kids and teachers. Second, the people who volunteered each worked significantly more shifts. So we probably had the same amount of volunteer hours, but with fewer people just because of the time of year.
They noted that help was received from a number of groups, including the Yankton High School softball team and the Yankton Volunteer Fire Department.
As for the number of archery delegates, competitors and other attendees, Cull said it stood at over 800 from 85 countries.
Moser said getting a solid number for each event is a bit more difficult than at other tournaments.
âIn the past, it was an isolated event that we did,â she said. âThese were three separate events that overlapped and intersected, making it more difficult to get that concrete number. “
It’s hard to overstate the impact the events had on the town of Yankton itself.
This was illustrated by a story Cull told about a dinner with World Archery President Dr Ugur Erdner at the triumphal event.
âWe went to a local restaurant and I spoke to one of the owners of that restaurant, and I said, ‘This must have been pretty good,'” he said. âHe said, ‘Yeah, we took $ 500 from (vouchers).’ I was like, ‘This is cool.’ Our bill was $ 550, and there weren’t any coupons, and the whole place was full of archers.
In another case, Cull said Hyundai – the main sponsor of two of the events – had a show car at Riverside Park that was constantly detailed by locals.
Salonen said this was standard practice for many facets of events.
âIt’s cool to have outside vendors and they ask us to bring in people from the area,â she said. âWe are able to recommend local retailers or local businesses. “
One place it really showed was in the last release of sales tax numbers. Released earlier this week, September saw Yankton earn $ 1,000,776 – a 12.11% increase over the same month in 2020. The reference period runs from mid-September to mid-September. October and would have included all three events.
City manager Amy Leon even told Press & Dakotan this week that archery events were among the reasons for such a successful month.
âI think we can definitely say that some of the things that happened in our community in September helped contribute to it,â she said. âThe World Archery events have helped us in terms of sales tax. “
Cull said holding these international events outside of peak tourist season can help in several ways.
âOne of the really cool things, especially for Yankton, is that we were able to continue these events in our shoulder seasons,â he said. “If we do these tournaments between Memorial Day and Labor Day, it’s a logistical nightmare on top of what we have, because we already have a lot of tourism here.”
Big events tend to have a few hiccups here and there.
However, the congress and the head-to-head tournaments for the most part went off without a hitch.
However, Salonen said there was the reality of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to deal with.
âCOVID has played an important role in terms of availability of supplies, bus transportation, bus staffing,â she said. “Even the paint – we painted on the spot – and the paint was weeks and weeks old when normally you can get it in two or three days.â¦ You would buy something, and you would be excited.” OK, I can check that off my list. âThen, a week later, they’d call you up and say,â Sorry, we don’t have this in stock. âSo it’s back on the list, you find another supplier and the same thing happens.
Moser said the events were subject to some of the struggles felt around the world.
âI felt like it took two or three times as much work to do one thing because of the supply and demand and the shortages that are not just here, that are everywhere,â he said. she declared.
However, archery events did not appear to have any issues with people contracting or spreading COVID.
While everything is rather calm now at the archery complex, it is assured that it will not be forever.
Cull said the next international event is already on the horizon.
âIn a year, we just finished World Field (Championships),â he said. âThe World Championship on the pitch was the one we were supposed to have in 2020 and was postponed due to COVID. “
He even keeps the door open to organizing an archery festival in the future.
âIt’s something we’ve all thought about,â he said. “I think the potential is there to have an Archery Fest again.”
That leaves plenty of time to think about what this list of events ultimately meant for the region.
âIt’s very humbling to see how much the community supports something like this, from retail and restaurants to our hospitality industry volunteers rolling out the red carpet,â Moser said. âJust the overall feel that the community has on an event like this is amazing. It is truly an honor and a privilege to be a part of great events like this.
To view videos and photos from the 54th World Archery Congress, the Hyundai Archery World Championships and the Hyundai Archery World Cup Finals, visit the following links:
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