By Rob Ketcham The Cullman Times
CULLMAN — In Cullman, it’s rather easy for everyone to get their fill of almost any and all traditional sports, such as baseball, football and basketball, among numerous others. However, the Cullman City Parks and Recreation has struck a deal to bring a lesser-known sport to the city — archery.
According to Nicole Ard, the marketing manager for Parks and Recreation, the city will host the McKenzie Archery Shooters Association Pro/Am Tour Classic from 2012-14.
She said the event, which will be held at St. Bernard Preparatory School, will bring in at least 1,000 professional and amateur archers for a 3-D target competition.
“This is as big as it gets,” said John Hunt, director of parks. “You’re talking about 1,000 to 1,200 of the world’s best archers.”
In addition, Ard said Parks and Recreation is estimating each year’s event to bring in at least a $1 million economic impact for the city.
“More than anything, this will be a great opportunity to showcase our city,” Ard said.
Hunt added, “We’re really excited about all the people it will bring into the community.”
According to the ASA website, each sanctioned tournament features competitive rounds of 20 life-like, 3-D animal targets made of foam. Binoculars are permitted in order to assist archers determine the target’s distance and aim correctly before executing their shot. The competitors are then scored using a scoring system of 14, 12, 10, eight, five or zero points per arrow.
While Hunt acknowledged Cullman already has the 2009-built Community Archery Park, he said the event will be hosted at St. Bernard because of the massive amount of space needed for such a large event.
The park that will eventually be set up at St. Bernard will include 20 lanes with 20 targets in each.
He said they plan to use the open land behind the school for a village and utilize the woods for a near-realistic hunt of 3-D animals varying in size, such as foxes, bears or deer, among others.
Hunt said, “We’re very appreciative of St. Bernard for letting us use their facilities for the duration of the tournament.”
With nearly 1,400 happy members belonging to one of the nation’s top parks and recreation departments, Ard said they are continuing to try and stay ahead of statewide and national trends by hosting the tournament and emphasizing archery’s popularity.
She said, “We’re very competitive, and we like to be the ones setting the trends.”
Hunt said people can prepare for what the larger-scale tournament will be like when the Cullman Community Archery Park plays host to the Bowhunters of Alabama State Tournament this Aug. 27 and 28.
Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257.