An annual competition leading to the World Archery Championship, the IBO Spring National will be held for the first time in Bartow County at Anheuser-Busch’s Cartersville farm off of U.S. Highway 411.
Georgia IBO Representative Tom Watson is spearheading the event along with hosting organization Seven Hills Archery Club of Rome. This will be the club’s 13th year to host the IBO Spring National. Last year, the event was held at the J.L. Lester Wildlife Management Area in Cedartown, but has outgrown what the venue could hold.
“We have about 120 professionals coming out and we expect about 600 shooters overall,” Watson said. “It’s a four-day event and it’s a world-qualifying event. Shooters here can qualify to shoot the world the first week of August and that will be held in Pennsylvania. Last year, we had 26 states and four foreign countries represented in this tournament.”
The IBO is a global organization with 1 million members from around the world. The organization’s mission is to promote and encourage the sports of bowhunting and archery. Watson encourages families to come out and watch or participate. For those spectating, admission is free.
“It’s free to the public. There’s no admission. Anyone can come out and walk with the shooters just like you would if you were walking with Tiger Woods and some of these guys are better with their bows than Tiger is with his clubs. It’s really interesting to watch the pros and it’s interesting to watch anyone,” Watson said. “We’ll have future bowhunters that are 6 and under. Then the next class is cubs from 9 to 10, 11 [to 17] is youth and 18 and above is adult.
“It’s really just a super sport. It’s not like some other sports, like football or baseball or basketball. Not everyone can play those sports and be competitive, but in archery anyone could be as good as the next guy.”
For those hoping to get in on the action and take a shot at competeing, there are 28 classes with amateur entry fees beginning at $37. As an IBO-sanctioned event, however, membership is required, which is $25 for a single annual membership and $40 for a family membership. Spring National is considered a money tournament with 40 percent of all registration fees going back to the winners.
Locally, at least one Cartersville business will be on hand to welcome guests of the event. P.J. Johnson, owner of The Huntin’ Shack, will have a table on the grounds offering bow service, archery products and T-shirts.
“To me, it just promotes the sport,” Johnson said. “Not just for hunting, but it promotes archery in general. It brings all types of people together — bowhunters, archers and even kids. It certainly beats spending all day in front of a computer.”
Economically, Cartersville-Bartow County Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Ellen Archer sees the IBO event as a boon for the county with area hotels already filling up and hundreds of competitors preparing for overnight stays during which participants, families and travel companions will likely shop and dine. The state average expenditure per person per overnight stay within a community is now calculated at $124.
“There will be about 600 shooters. Multiply that by two for four days, so 1,200 multiplied by $124 a day and the direct economic impact on the community is pretty significant,” Archer said. “We have several hotels that are already sold out.
“We have a corporate citizen that is allowing use of their land for this competition in Anheuser-Busch, so support from the CVB was a no-brainer. Hopefully, they’ll be back for many years to come.”
The Anheuser-Busch Cartersville farm is located on U.S. Highway 411 toward Rome. Directional signs will mark the way through Cartersville beginning at Interstate 75 exits 290 and 293.
Registration will begin each day at 7 a.m. Competition will consist of two, 20-target rounds for a total of 40 shots. Shooters will be scored on an average of all shots. Friday competition will be a casual start allowing archers to shoot a 20-target round at their leisure as long as the round is completed before dark. Saturday and Sunday competitions will be shotgun starts beginning at 9 a.m. with two rounds available Saturday and one on Sunday. Distances can range from 0-52 yards.
For more information, visit www.ibo.net or call Watson at 706-252-6544.