Gov. Dennis Daugaard was in Yankton Wednesday to celebrate the expansion of the NFAA/Easton/Yankton Archery Complex. He took up a bow and arrow in the process after NFAA president Bruce Cull asked him to have a shoot off with Greg Easton (who is on the right in the photos below).
Neither of them managed to hit the targets, but they weren’t alone. Out of about 10 seasoned archers who each got 10 shots, only one managed to get a hit.
Here’s a story I wrote about the big expansion, which, according to officials on hand, will feature the first dedicated 70-meter indoor archery range in the world.
As part of an expansion announcement Wednesday evening that was heralded by Gov. Dennis Daugaard, it was revealed that the NFAA/Easton/Yankton Archery Complex will get a $1.5 million addition that will include the world's first dedicated 70-meter indoor archery range. National Field Archery Association (NFAA) president Bruce Cull broke the news during a muggy late July barbecue held to mark the opening the USAA National Target Championship, one of a handful of major archery competitions happening at the complex this week. The tournaments have attracted more than 800 archers from all 50 states, as well as other countries. The existing NFAA/Easton/Yankton Archery Complex, which serves as the NFAA's headquarters and has archery training space, is 21,600 square feet. The addition will be 29,500 square feet, more than doubling the size of the facility. Besides the indoor range, the expansion will include a warehouse to store equipment and office space. "We started thinking about this when we built the original building," Cull said. "It's one of those things that I've had in the back of my mind but have never had the ability to put together. The whole idea behind the addition, really, is to be able to have athlete training year round and big indoor tournaments. Because of our weather here, we can't be out on the field in the winter." Daugaard noted that this was his third visit to mark important developments at the archery complex in recent years. The last time was when it was announced that an effort is under way to get the facility designated as a Community Olympic Development Program. The United States Olympic Committee has partnered with sport groups across the nation to create programs that provide training in fencing, weightlifting, judo and a variety of other activities. Only one other archery program exists. Cull said he believes the designation could be announced for Yankton in the next three to six months. "I can't think of what is going to make that more likely than this addition that is going to more than double the size of this facility and provide the first indoor 70-meter range in the world," Daugaard said. On behalf of all South Dakotans, the governor also took the opportunity to welcome the many archers on hand for the event. "We hope you have a great time with great success," Daugaard said. "I'm also grateful that this is the home of the NFAA. They have an excellent campus here ... and one of the best Olympic field archery fields in the United States. I am also grateful for all the partners that came together to make that possible — the City of Yankton, Yankton County, Yankton Area Progressive Growth, the Archery Trade Association and the fantastic support of the Easton Foundation." The Easton foundations will be providing up to $1 million toward the expansion project, according to Greg Easton, who serves on the board of the two organizations. The goal of Easton is to help provide training opportunities around the nation in the hopes of producing an Olympic gold medalist in archery. Easton has provided support for the Yankton archery complex from its infancy stages. "It's really the partnership between the Easton foundations, the NFAA and Bruce Cull (that has gotten us involved in Yankton)," Easton said. "Yankton is not a big population base, as are some of the places where we are building centers, so it's maybe not ideal from that aspect. But with the partnership Bruce has been able to develop with the City of Yankton, the Yankton Office of Economic Development, Yankton County and the state ‹ that support is important to us. These centers are a lot to build and a lot to operate. To have those partners to keep it operating is really important to us in the long term." Yankton Area Progressive Growth and XYZ, Inc., have also been partners in the ongoing development of the complex. During the ceremony, Daugaard took the opportunity to gently rib Easton for not attending the Governor¹s Pheasant Hunt, despite past invitations from himself and former Gov. Mike Rounds. The governor read a fake extradition request asking Utah¹s governor to give up Easton so he can attend this year's hunt. When the two men were asked to participate in an archery shoot-off against each other, the crowd was left with the impression that they probably should stick to using guns for the upcoming hunt. Neither Daugaard nor Easton were able to hit a target lofted up into the air by a machine. But they weren't alone. Out of 20 attempts by seasoned archers at the event, only one was able to hit a target. Cull said the current plan is to have the 29,500-square-foot addition enclosed by this winter. "I think it will significantly change the number of people coming to use the facility, especially during the off months when the weather is bad," he stated.