BRANSON, Mo. — Thousands of Missouri students are in Branson this weekend, hoping to hit the Bull’s eye.
The 10th Annual MoNASP event — that’s the “Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program,” is going on at the Branson Convention Center. Organizers of the event say it’s Branson’s largest, bringing in about 4-point-1 million dollars for the city.
The Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation is hosting the competition. Carolyn Handtke is with the foundatioin.
“We have over 3-thousand student archers coming, that are competing from all across Missouri – and we’re expecting around 12-thousand of their friends and family to be here cheering them on.”
“We’re the second largest state to participate in this program, out of the 47 states,” said Eric Edwards, Education Coordinator for the event.
With Bass Pro Shops being one of the sponsors, family and friends can also take part in their famous “Outdoor Days” festival — which for this event, became “indoor days.”
“I think a lot of people are familiar with Bass Pro’s “Outdoor Days” festival,” said Handtke, “This one is all inside of the Branson Convention Center.
For the students involved, the sport of archery is not just about winning medals, trophies and scholarships. But, it’s about gaining beneficial life skills as well.
“The kids that have gotten involved in archery have been able to focus better in their classrooms, they are improving their tests scores, they’re doing their homework. It’s a great team environment for them,” Handtke said.
For most of these students, it’s the competition that drives them.
“There’s a lot of good shooters here, but I think I’ll do alright,” Perry Reid of Laquey Middle School said during Friday’s competition.
Shelby Epperly, of Pleasantview Elementary in Springfield also competed in Friday’s event. “I started last year through WOLF..and then, now I’m here.”
However, for Cephronia Shortell of Laquey Middle School, it’s about tradition.
“Actually it was my dad. He was shooting, so then I started shooting.”
Winners in this weekend’s competition move on to National’s in Kentucky, later this spring.
Saturday’s event kicks off at 8:30 in the morning and runs until 6:30 Saturday evening at the Branson Convention Center.