YANKTON, S.D. (KELO) – Mount Rushmore isn’t the only attraction bringing people from around the world into South Dakota. More and more people are heading to Yankton to spend time at the World’s Largest Archery Center.
You can often find Sandy Herrlein here at the NFAA Easton Yankton Archery Center.
“I originally started coming in to take a lady’s archery class and I only wanted to because I wanted to start bow hunting but I have bad shoulders and I didn’t know if I could or not so the coach came in and taught me how to pull a bow back so it didn’t hurt my shoulders,” archer, Sandy Herrlein said.
That was eight years ago. Today, she’s still coming back.
“Ever since then I fell in love with it and started competing, and I enjoy it a lot,” Herrlein said.
This facility in Yankton is the World’s Largest Archery Center.
President National Field Archery Association Foundation, Bruce Cull says the headquarters were originally in California, but a little over a decade ago, they moved to South Dakota.
“We wanted to be in the geographical center of the United States, we wanted to have a friendly atmosphere and we deal with members all over the state and the world, so it was kind of a great move,” president National Field Archery Association Foundation, Bruce Cull said.
He says they have about 100 acres of land in the city limits of Yankton.
“You can’t do that anywhere else in the world, South Dakota is just so friendly with that, everything about it, that is where we needed to be,” Cull said. “The river used to run back here so it was kind of ideal ground for this and we’ve got a little bit of topography to it, we’ve got a lot of different vegetation and trees, and it works good for the archers, they like a challenge.”
There are three outdoor field ranges, a 3D range, and an 80,000 square foot indoor facility.
“For field archery we have to shoot as far out as 80 yards and we can do that inside of our building, I don’t think there is any place in the US that would allow you to do that, so it’s pretty neat we are able to have that,” Herrlein said.
The center has hosted a number of events, including a national archery event during September that brought people from across the United States and even the world.
“Next year in 2021 around this same time we are going to be holding the largest tournament ever, which is the world championships for the Olympics, and that is really big, in terms of it’s a couple hundred delegates from about 120 countries that will all meet here for their world congress and then determine the world champions from all over the world,” Cull said.
That’s good news for the state and Yankton.
“We are excited and to have that here in South Dakota, it’s quite a feather in our cap, it’s been a long road and it’s kind of come into the light now,” Cull said.
As for Herrlein, she’s just glad she has the chance to improve her skills so close to home.
“It is a state of the art facility and am very fortunate to be close by so I can utilize it everyday if I want,” Herrlein said.
Cull says that they have about 50,000 visitors a year that utilize the facility. It’s also not just a space for archery, there’s also tennis courts and air rifle available to use.