World-class archers from across the country and around the globe will meet in Hamilton, Ohio, this week to compete for national titles at the USA Archery National Championships. The “Outdoor Nationals,” as it’s often called, consists of the 130th U.S. National Target Championships, the U.S. Open and the Easton JOAD Nationals.
The three events, held simultaneously at Hamilton’s Joyce Park, also bring together rookie amateurs and seasoned pros to enjoy the fun, excitement and friendship of the “Outdoor Nationals.”
The partnership between USA Archery, Cincinnati Junior Olympians, and the Butler County Visitors Bureau will bring over 900 competitors to the community. Among the archers are several Olympic and Paralympic medalists. Combined with throngs of supporters and spectators, the event will pump about $2.6 million into Ohio’s Butler County.
Tyler King, 13, last year’s Grand National champion in the Bowman (12 and under) division, said he’s looking forward to the event. “What I probably love most is seeing all the friends I made during past Nationals, because I don’t see them otherwise,” King said.
When asked about his goal for this year’s tournament, King replied: “My main goal is just to shoot my best. I’m a first-year Cub (14 and under) and certainly wouldn’t mind my fifth National title in a row.”
The event isn’t reserved for the top archers, though. Steve Yee, an Arizona-based archery coach, sees value in newer archers shooting the tournament. “Absolutely nothing beats being in the same place where nearly 1,000 of your fellow archers are gathered with you at the same place and time. It’s an awesome feeling to witness it, and to be a part of it. Experiencing [Nationals] first hand is the only way to go.”
This year’s events will also feature adult and masters competitors in the compound and recurve disciplines. World champions, and Olympic and Paralympic team members from several countries will also attend. This includes archers from the United States, China Taipei, Canada, Colombia, Mexico and the Philippines.
Notable athletes include Olympic superstar Brady Ellison, Paralympic medalist Matt Stutzman, the “Inspirational Archer” who shoots with his feet, and Khatuna Lorig, Jennifer Lawrence’s archery coach for “The Hunger Games” movie. World No. 1 Erika Jones and World champions Reo Wilde and Braden Gellenthien will also compete.
Archery has gained popularity in recent years with the release of popular movies, including “The Hunger Games” and “The Avengers.” Interest was also boosted by extensive coverage during the 2012 Olympics. Since 2012, individual memberships in USA Archery have swelled from 5,894 to over 13,000. The championship events have also experienced explosive growth. Participants have grown from 474 archers in 2012 to 909 this year.
The finals for this year’s event will be live-streamed free on USA Archery’s YouTube channel. Fans of adult archers will see Olympians, Paralympians and world champions face off at the U.S. Open on Saturday, while the country’s best young archers will compete for medals Sunday.
For more information and full schedules for the event, visit http://www.usarchery.org. Search the hashtag #OutdoorNationals for photos and other updates live from the field.