Popularity in Archery Growing in Nebraska

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Grand Island, NE-- Archery is a sport growing in Nebraska, and some of the reasons for this growth, may surprise you.

The city of Grand Island has seen a bump in popularity in archery and is trying to keep up with their activities.

The 3-D Archery Tournament at the Grand Island Community Fieldhouse combined indoor shooting with the outdoor field archery that usually happens at the Heartland Public Shooting Park.

One worker at Cabela's in Kearney said they have seen a rise in archery sales ever since the Hunger Games films came out.

Fieldhouse officials say they have seen a rising interest in archery all three years that they have held the tournament.

"We have more and more people come in and have interest about it so it makes sense for us to keep it going. This is the 3rd year that we've done it. It's not going anywhere, it's something that we're going to keep doing. You know, we get more people every year so it must be picking up somewhere," said Steve Farrens, the Recreation Coordinator for the city of Grand Island.

Monday's tournament was open to the public and participants could join in at any time. Shooters had to bring their own equipment which the Fieldhouse said shouldn't be a problem because many people like it enough to purchase their own bows and arrows.

The Fieldhouse said they could not continue without having archery for their patrons.

Farrens said, "It's something that people keep requesting and then when we actually have the events, people come through the doors."

It presents a great chance to get out and get active.

"Just a great recreational activity whether it's boys or girls or adults to get outside and enjoy the nature and be able to take part in an activity that they love," said the Director of the Grand Island Parks and Recreations Department Todd McCoy.

Grand Island resident Mike Helzer added, "During the Summer we shoot probably three times a week just out in the driveway and we went to a tournament last year and it ain't the competition, it's just going out having fun and practicing a little bit."

Parks & Rec is hoping to create more activities for this sport.

"One of the things that we're hoping to do this Summer is maybe expand our programming for archery is have a youth program to go in the Summer times at the Heartland Public Shooting Park," said McCoy.

As dozens of archers competed in the tournament, everyone had their own reason for getting involved with this sport.

McCoy said, "I think a lot of it is some of the movies that are out, whether it's the Hunger Games or even Brave, the Disney cartoon. Some of the sports that are being emphasized whether it's in the Olympics or nationally, I think some of the archery events are really catching on to people and they're taking advantage of it."

"Kids now a days, they're into video games and all that and I don't agree with all that, but I believe in bringing my son up, taking him outdoors, teaching him out to duck hunt, deer hunt, and do the things out in the nature and the wild. You learn a lot out there," said Helzer.

"Everyone's got their thing and for a lot of people, this is it. It's a challenge that's different than a jump shot or a pass or anything else for football," said Farrens.

Cairo native Jarrod Jacobsen added, "I've always been passionate about outdoors and shooting bows and stuff. Love hunting. It's a stress reliever, just the peace of the outdoors."