The International Bowhunting Organization (IBO) and the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) have joined forces to implement an exciting additional shooting activity for student archers. Together they will launch the “NASP IBO 3D Challenge” at the 2014 NASP National tournament in Louisville, KY May 10-11.
In every survey conducted among NASP students over the past 12 years, kids tell us they just want to have as much fun as possible in archery. They report that shooting arrows is the most fun but practicing and competing with their new archery friends is also important. A majority of students (56%) also advise they want to know more about bowhunting.
Foam animal replicas (3D targets) have been provided at many state and national NASP tournaments for fun shooting for several years. Last year at the NASP Nationals in Louisville, nearly 2,000 kid shot arrows at Rinehart make-believe bears, dinosaurs, and giant mosquitos. Some student archers even climbed into a boat to arrow foam carp provided by the United Bowhunters of Kentucky.
NASP has no intention of modifying its wildly successful bullseye tournament competitions. That format is practiced in more than 12,000 NASP schools across 10 countries by nearly 2.5 million students per year. In fact, last year, NASPʼs 12th, the program grew 21.8%. NASP tournaments are enjoyed by more archers than any other tournament on the planet. NASPʻs Guinness World Record was broken this past May as 9,426 students participated in the 2013 NASP Nationals.
Instead of tinkering with its historic success, NASP joined forces with IBO to create a format which will be familiar and inviting to current NASP students in grades 4-12. NASP kids will sign up to compete on multiple ranges each containing 5 North American game animals targets such as; Rinehartʼs woodland white-tail buck, mule deer buck, cinnamon bear, pronghorn antelope, and a mountain sheep.
The targets will be placed in front of a diagonal backstop curtain 10-15 meters from the shooting line. These are the same distances students shoot in NASP tournaments. Instead of normal 3D scoring zones these special targets will feature custom scoring
rings equal to the size and shape of the 7, 8, 9, and 10 rings on NASP bullseye targets. So, the kids will know they are shooting the same size targets at the same distances as theyʼve grown accustomed to in NASP.
Each 3D team will contain 5 students from the same school. Many schools will register multiple 5-person teams from among their 24-person NASP® team. There must be at least one boy or girl on each team because the co-gender requirement in NASP is so popular with the students. As competition begins each student will shoot practice arrows at the 3D target in their lane. Then each student will shoot, following NASP whistle commands and range safety protocols, another 30 arrows for score. The highest possible score, just like in NASP will be 300. After scoring their “end” of arrows archers advance to the next lane and target on their range. This keeps all the teamʼs students within a 25 foot wide shooting area convenient for their parents, grandparents, and siblings to watch without having to move about the range.
Readers familiar with NASP will recognize the features of this 3D Challenge as being almost identical to NASPʼs current competition, except that targets are foam creatures instead of round bullseyes. This was purposefully done to accommodate the millions of students who currently participate in NASP throughout the school year. The students will be required to shoot the same Mathews Genesis Bow and Easton NASP aluminum arrows they use on the bullseye range. In fact, only students who participate in the bullseye tournament may register for the 3D challenge at NASP-administered tournaments. This isnʼt an either or but an addition to the fun.
It is the designerʼs intent that the NASP IBO 3D Challenge format will become a standard offering at IBO National and World tournaments. We also hope many state and provincial wildlife agencies who manage NASP in their areas will add the “challenge” to their current bullseye NASP events.
We expect, like has been happening in the archery world since NASPʼs inception in 2002, that these archers will seek out additional 3D fun and attend similar archery contests to test their skills.
Image courtesy National Archery in the Schools Program