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ASA Archery Coming to Cullman

Many people have heard of the big archery tournament that has been coming into Cullman for the past 2 years, but what is this event really all about? The Archery Shooter's Association is the international organization of professional archers, and their annual McKenzie Pro/Am Tour has brought thousands of world class archers to St. Bernard Abby in Cullman over the past several years. The tournament features close to 1,500 archers competing for large amounts of cash, scholarships, and other great prizes. The tournament will take place for the third year in Cullman August 1-4, with the biggest classic event to date.

For those not too familiar with archery, the ASA tournament may not be what one would think as compared to classic archery; there are no square targets with red, blue, and yellow rings. The ASA goes for a more natural feel using 3D animal targets with different point ammounts located on the 3D targets. These more natural targets are more challenging and difficult to shoot, and require gauging of a distance that is unknown to the target. This aspect has made the classic archery setup a bit more difficult, and requires much more skill.

Archers from all over the world participate in the ASA's tour, which has 6 major stops each year, the last of which is held right here in Cullman. Archers have traveled from all 50 states and over 15 countries including the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia, just to name a few. So what is it that is so special about Cullman that 1,500 of the worlds best archers travel here each year?

Mike Tyrell, the President of the ASA, found Cullman to be a perfect niche community for one of his world-class archery tournaments. With CP&R partnering with St. Bernard Abby, Cullman was able to boast an impressive system of trails through the woods at St. Bernard that were used to cut hundreds of archery lanes through, making the perfect overcast venue for an archery event with well-maintained walking trails for the archers to use. Tyrell also was attracted to Cullman's forward thinking community, including the efforts by the Downtown Merchant's Association to hold Celebrate Cullman in conjunction with the archery tournament to provide entertainment and access to downtown for the archers. Tyrell and all 1,500 archers have also found Cullman to be a safe and friendly community with something for everyone from shopping in downtown to the many top-tier recreation facilities the city offers.

The ASA McKenzie Pro/Am tour has brought a major world class sporting event to Cullman, and has quickly become the largest sporting event held in Cullman each year. The tournament also brings in millions in economic impact for the area, with archers staying, eating, and shopping in Cullman for the 4 day event. Due to the city's efforts to offer something for everyone, archers have started brining their families along for the fun, increasing the economic footprint the tournament has on the area by an even greater margin.

The 2014 McKenzie Pro/Am tour will stop in Cullman at St. Bernard Abby on August 1-4. The event is open to the public for spectators, and parking is $5 for the event. For more information, call us at 256-734-9157 or by email at wharbison@cullmanrecreation.org

-Waid Harbison

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