Lots of archers headed here again

A sporting event that drew hundreds to Venango County and plugged nearly half a million dollars in visitor spending into the local economy is due back this summer at Venango County’s Two Mile Run Park.

How about doubling those figures, all tied directly to the sport of archery?

“We are going to have a second shoot from a target-making company,” said Tom Prody, of Fertigs. “We’re hoping to duplicate that impact.”

Two years ago, Prody organized a three-day National Championship Triple Crown event at the county park. It was the final leg of a series sponsored by the International Bowhunting Organization (IBO), a non-profit and Ohio-based group.

There were 750 competitors plus their families and other spectators at the event.

“There was such a great response to the archery shoots,” said park manager Luke Kauffman. “And everyone took advantage of our local businesses – gas stations, restaurants, hotels – and that added up to a lot of money being spent here.”

Kauffman and Prody said an estimate of the visitor-generated spending as a result of the competition was done by the Oil Region Alliance.

“They pulled the numbers and the figure they came up with was a $428,000 impact,” said Prody. “We want that to happen again in each of these events.”

Another shoot is set

The new archery competition is known as the R100 Archery Shoot, sponsored by Rinehart Targets of Janesville, Wisconsin.

The event at the county park is one of a dozen Rinehart competitions in the U.S. and is scheduled May 29-31 and is open to professional and amateur archers.

“It’s more of an amateur and novelty shoot, more of a family-friendly type of event. It is open to all,” said Prody.

The venue consists of 100 targets that include some unusual ones, such as a full-size dinosaur target designed by Rinehart. The shoot is open to all ages of amateurs and professionals.

“We welcome anybody who shoots a bow – crossbow, recurve, compound,” said Prody. “We’re hoping for probably 500 to 600 archers but it could end up pulling in more people than the IBO competition. We just don’t know.”

IBO will return to park

Returning to Two Mile Run Park will be the IBO competition set for July. Last year, the event drew about 750 competitors and hundreds of family members and spectators to the park.

“We are pleased to have the archery events expand at the park,” said Kauffman. “We’re hoping to make the park a destination and get people to our park. That’s happening with these events.”

The choice of location for the new R100 archery shoot came directly from the IBO shoot.

“We were actually approached last year at the IBO shoot by a fellow from Rinehart who was a vendor selling targets,” said Prody. “He asked if we were interested in having one of their events at the park. We said ‘sure’ – I ‘m a glutton for punishment.”

County park is popular

For Prody and his entourage of volunteers, the county park has turned out to be a popular setting for archery contests that attract competitors from across the nation.

“They love the terrain out there and the camping, the lake – everything the park has to offer,” he said. “It’s been good for the county, too.”

The archery events are expected to further swell park attendance that topped 28,000 in 2019.

Of that number, 17,264 rented campsites, a cottage, a farmhouse, or a pavilion. Another 3,639 patrons were listed for Justus Lake and Crosby Beach.

The figure further grows, though, with park visitors who had no reason to register at the park office. That tally includes more than 7,200 trail users, attendance at public events, hunters and fishermen.

“There’s no way to calculate occasional hikers, dog walkers or people who simply stopped by to enjoy the park,” said Kauffman. “So, this is a low estimate. I expect the actual number of visitors was much higher.”