The Platte Valley Archery Association welcomes hundreds of shooters to Columbus Ag Park this weekend for its annual 3D Tournament. Participants from as young as 5 to as old as retirement age will take aim inside the Ag Park Arena at a variety of animal targets and inside the Exhibit Hall at traditional round targets
PVAA has held the traditional portion of the tournament since 1990 and the 3D tournament for close to two decades according to club President Jeff Adelman.
Adelman, club Treasurer Tim Iburg and a handful of club members and volunteers have been out at the Ag Park Arena since Sunday placing trees, targets, shooting locations and undertaking general preparations for Nebraska's largest indoor 3D meet.
In addition to the 3-D and traditional tournament, the PVAA is also hosting the Nebraska State 4-H Indoor Championships as well.
Close to 200 4-H shooters will begin that tournament on Friday. Competition will be held starting with that portion on Friday evening and run until about 5 p.m. on Sunday.
“It’s for everybody. We’ll have kids come in that are five years old, all the way up to 60. They come from all over the Midwest. Of course, most are from Nebraska but we get shooters from Iowa, South Dakota, Missouri and we’ve got a group from Kansas coming up," Adelman said during Wednesday preparations.
"For me personally, it’s a lot of work. My thrill is when people say they enjoyed the shoot and they’re going to come again next year because the work for this started Sunday afternoon. We had a pretty good group of guys come in Monday afternoon, so we’re a day or two ahead of where we usually are."
With 200 4-H shooters and usually double that for the PVAA traditional and 3D meet, Ag Park will host close to 700 shooters over the weekend.
Competition on the traditional targets includes 12 rounds of five arrows. Medals are awarded to the top three.
3D winners are determined by two shots at 20 different locations. Archers have just one arrow to hit a designated target, a turkey, buffalo, bear, or a variety of other animal targets, then move on to the next station.
In the 3D tournament, there are three ranges of targets. Those closest are set up for youth shooters. Middle distance are for women and some older youth shooters. The men take aim at animal targets 50 yards away.
Shooters are arranged by age from cubs, youth, adult, seniors and super seniors or masters.
In addition to the medals, PVAA is also hosting a "Known 45" Tournament Saturday evening for cash prizes.
Archers pay an extra entry fee then the top three split 70 percent of the winnings according to their finish. Two different classes of shooters take part in that portion.
"They each have their challenges. When it comes to the target shooting, you have a lot of arrows there and you’re shooting them all at little, dinky targets. In 3D, if you hit the foam anywhere, you get at least five points. If I don’t hit the spot on the regular target, I get a 0," Adelman said. "The equipment is totally different. Guys who shoot 3D usually go with the lightest arrows and the fastest shooting bows because there’s not much variation in their slight placement. It’s different technology."
The club owns all the targets and plywood used in the setup. The tournament is the major fundraising effort of the year to purchase such items. Members also pay dues.
Once the final shots are fired Sunday afternoon, PVAA will begin tear down immediately. What takes 12 to 15 hours to set up takes just over three to take apart. The targets and plywood then go into a semi trailer trailer for storage for another year.
Despite only having around 40 members in the PVAA, the club has stayed committed to hosting the tournament each year because of the support of shooters from across the state and the region.
PVAA is also thankful for corporate sponsors Pinnacle Bank, Blue River Archery, 949 Archery, Island View Archery and Scheel’s of Omaha.
“Our regular tournament, a lot of the guys come and shoot in this shoot just to help support our club. They could care less if they get a medal or prize money. If you try to give them a prize, they won’t take it. They’re just here to support us,” club Treasurer and Board Member Tim Iburg said.
“Some of the guys are regular shooters who see each other all the time. Others, it’s the only tournament they shoot. They deer hunt, and they’re looking for something to do in the middle of January.”
Iburg joined the Platte Valley Archery Association in 1977 as a near original member. According to his memory, the club has been around since some time in the early 1970s.
Iburg is an assistant production supervisor at Flexcon.
He first picked up a bow in high school as a way to extend hunting season.
“For me, my family was just a big deer hunting family. I was in high school and I was thinking, I could get another season if I picked up a bow. I could start in September,” he remembered. “It took until well after high school though to get a deer.”
Adelman is an engineer at Becton Dickinson. He first picked up a bow around 13 or 14, as he can remember.
Both have had decent success though not like local shooter Ed Christman who set a world record at the International Field Archer Association World Indoor Archery Championship in Yankton, South Dakota in 2013.
Those who have not yet signed up for the tournament can certainly participate if slots are open. Competition will be held Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon for a variety of ages.
“It’s a lot of work, and I wear a lot of hats,” Adelman said. “But it’s also a lot of fun.”