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Lac La Biche region preparing to welcome the world, again

Planning is on-target for September 2024 World Archery Field Championships

LAC LA BICHE - The Lakeland Archers have hosted several international and provincial shoots over the past decade — and next year Lac La Biche County is set once again to welcome some of the best archers from around the globe for the World Archery Field Championships.

Rene Schaub, the president of the Lakeland Archers, is eagerly looking forward to the competition, which is being held from September 16 – 22, 2024. The club and the community hosted the World 3D Archery Championships in 2019, as well as several national and provincial events over recent years.

Schaub is hopeful that at least two members of the local club will qualify for the national team to compete in front of hometown crowds at the upcoming Worlds. But for that to happen, he says, they must perform well in Archery Canada lead-up events. Lakeland Archers members have been training diligently, and some will be taking their shooting skills to the upcoming Field Nationals and 3D Nationals, both taking place this summer in BC. Out of the four categories – barebow, instinctive shooting, recurve, and compound - only the top three archers in each category make the cut.

Four years ago, when Lac La Biche hosted the World 3D Archery Championships, local competitive archers Kevin Baldwin and Susan Gehlert competed for Canada.

“For these two archers, representing not only our local club, but also the country, was a thrilling experience,” Schaub stated. “Kevin shot the opening arrow to commence the tournament, while Susan recited the athlete’s oath.”

Because the club already has ample experience hosting one World tournament – including the new archery facility built for the 2019 games and an outdoor range that consists of more than four kilometres of trails – Schaub is confident this go-round will be even more successful than the last time.

Nevertheless, he continued, looking back on the planning for the 2019 event as a reference, effectively organizing such a major event was no easy undertaking; it was one that required the hard work and dedication of hundreds of volunteers as well as a professional events coordinator.

“I’m not sure if we could have pulled this off without the help of our volunteers who devoted their time by serving food, preparing the courses, and parking vehicles,” he confirmed, saying many of those support pieces are again in place for the 2024 event.  “I have rehired the same events coordinator, who did an amazing job.”

On the topic of logistics, organizing the arrival and lodgings for over 300 athletes and support staff is no walk in the park. Luckily, taking lessons learned from the first international tournament, Schaub and his team have the details worked out.

“All flight manifestos will be checked to confirm the exact times when the international athletes are flying into Edmonton. We have hired a fleet of coaches, who will be on standby to pick them up,” he explained. “Most hotel rooms in Lac La Biche have already been booked for the week – long competition.”

Schaub says that hosting the World Archery Field Championships not only highlights the sport, the club and community, but also provides a substantial boost to the region’s economy.

“The last time we held the Worlds in Lac La Biche, people welcomed the visiting athletes with open arms and truly made them feel welcome,” he said jubilantly, adding that athletes returned home with not only medals and memories, but an understanding of the local culture and history.  “On the last day, we held a multicultural dinner at the Bold Center and presented displays about the history and culture of Canada.”

Over the next full year, Schaub and his growing team of support will continue to take aim at the finer points of the organizing plan. Volunteer and support details about the event will be featured in articles and on the Lakeland Archers social media page.

Field archery involves athletes moving through natural terrain, taking aim at set bullseye targets of different sizes at varying distances.

The World Archery Field Championships are held every two years. The 2022 Worlds were held in Yankton, South Dakota.

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