Have you ever heard stories about legends like Robin Hood, who could shoot an apple off someone’s head or split an arrow that’s already hit its target? Compared to the competitors coming in for the International Bowhunter Organization’s World Championships, Robin Hood looks like an amateur.
Much like the PGA, the IBO is an organization dedicated to growing the sport of archery while holding tournaments - like the one that’s returning to Ellicottville Aug. 6-9. Competitors will travel from all over the country - and the world - to vie for the title of world’s best.
“There are over 1,700 competitors,” Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Brian McFadden said. “Last year, 15 countries were represented. For these folks, it’s much like a PGA event. You have to qualify for it before you can come compete.”
Jim Curtis of Mountain Operations at Holiday Valley (where the IBO World Championships will be held) gave me the rundown on what the resort is doing to prepare.
“We’ve already started clearing brush - trimming trees, weedwacking, mowing - to get the courses ready,” he said. “It’s a really cool event, especially with so many different people coming in.”
Holiday Valley utilizes the same courses each year for the IBO World Championships; different classes of shooters will use different course layouts. In the next two to three weeks, the 3-D targets will start coming in (including bears, alligators, elk, etc).
“From now until the event, we’ll work to keep the courses in good shape,” Curtis said. “The week of, we’ll really start getting ready - water stations, outhouses and other things to make sure it’s perfect for the competitors.”
McFadden, who plays a key role in promoting the downtown village and enticing competitors to explore it once they’re done competing, pointed out that he will have an informational booth set up within Holiday Valley’s vendor village to help showcase the downtown experience.
“The first year that the IBO was in town (2008 to be exact) was tough - visitors just didn’t know there was such a cool village so close. But since then, it’s been a home run,” McFadden said. “Since this is a world event, there are bloggers, online forums ... tons of exposure. People are talking about this all over the world.”
Quick to give credit to the resort, McFadden couldn’t stress enough the importance of the facilities that Holiday Valley provides.
“A lot of these folks make a vacation out of this event,” he said. “There are so many nice condos and houses close to the resort, and the Valley treats the competitors and their families very well. It’s over a $2.5 million economic impact, and a lot of that money stays right here in town.”
An ‘Open’ Competition will be offered Thursday and Friday of IBO week, and if you register prior to July 25, it’s only $45. Shooters need to be IBO members, however, there will be complimentary ‘guest memberships’ available at the IBO booth which will be set up at Yodeler. The Defense Range at the top of the hill will give amateurs an opportunity to compete in conditions similar to those of the IBO members.
“The vendor village that Holiday Valley sets up during the event is very cool too,” McFadden said. “A lot of archery related stuff, leather goods, bows, outdoor gear ... we encourage people to head up and check the entire event out.”