Archery: Insights into the Sport | Sports Destination Management

Archery: Insights into the Sport

Jan 02, 2024 | By: Rod Menzer

Fueled by an influx of youth, archery has maintained a strong fan base. In part, this is driven by the sport's appearance in pop culture. After the Hunger Games, archery continued to see spikes in interest from Hollywood, with Merida in Brave and Hawkeye in the Avengers, as well as the Kate Bishop Hawkeye series on Disney+.


In 2023, USA Archery, with support from a multi-state conservation grant, partnered with Marvel Entertainment to create and launch the Archery is for Everyone! campaign, the first coordinated national effort that connects pop culture archers and Olympic excitement with clinics hosted by archery organizations, state and federal agencies, as well as the archery and bowhunting industry. To promote more than 250 hands-on clinics around the country, the campaign created a variety of digital content to increase awareness and participation. Thousands of new individuals were introduced to the sport and USA Archery reached a new audience of millions.


While USA Archery does not have any data on in-school programs at the high school level, we do oversee a nationwide Collegiate Archery Program, which has boomed from 69 schools in 2020 to more than 100 in 2023. We attribute some of this growth to grant programs we’ve instituted to support formation of new clubs, equipment grants, funding for coach education opportunities, etc., as well as increased event opportunities in 3D archery and more local event opportunities for collegiate archers.


The USA is an Archery Powerhouse

Photo © Celso Pupo Rodrigues |
Photo © Celso Pupo Rodrigues |

Since 2018, USA Archery has missed only one season among the top two nations on the Archery World Cup circuit, ranking behind only South Korea on a few occasions. This year, we had an historic showing at both the Pan American Games and Para Pan American Games, setting multiple Games records and winning more medals than ever before.


Casey Kaufhold became the first recurve woman from the U.S. (since the inception of world rankings in 2006) to rank No. 1 in the world. Kevin Mather is the reigning Paralympic Champion and World Archery Para Champion. At this year’s World Archery Youth Championships, the USA won three world titles and had 10 total podium finishes, placing third on the medal table. Our athletes, coaches, educational programming and training centers are world renowned, and we continue to be a leading nation in the sport of archery.


Olympic/Paralympic Teams Selection

The Olympic Trials Qualification Events began in September 2023, narrowing the eligible participants to the top 16 men and women, and the Paralympic Trials Qualification events have not yet begun. We will not nominate a team until June 2024. Some of the top athletes to watch include the following:


  • Brady Ellison is a four-time Olympian and three-time Olympic medalist, who currently sits fifth in the world and in 2023, qualified for his 13th Archery World Cup Final as the winningest recurve man in the circuit’s history.
  • Jackson Mirich is the newest face on the team, having just made his international debut this season. He competed at three world cups this year and the World Archery Championships before making his name known with the Pan American Games champion title in Santiago.
  • Trenton Cowles is currently ranked second in the standings for our trials process for Paris 2024. The 2018 Youth Olympic Champion is a student athlete at Texas A&M University.
  • Casey Kaufhold leads our women’s squad, having won silver at the 2021 World Archery Championships, a fourth place finish at the 2023 edition and numerous Archery World Cup mixed team medals. She’s also a medal contender
  • individually.
  • Catalina Gnoriega, the alternate for the U.S. team for Tokyo 2020, is currently second in the standings for our trials process for Paris 2024 and has been a staple on the U.S. world cup team for several seasons. On our domestic circuit this year, Catalina won bronze at the Gator Cup.
  • Jennifer Mucino Fernandez has made a name for herself with a mixed team gold and individual bronze finish at a recent Archery World Cup, plus she’s been posting personal best scores and upset Kaufhold at a major national event.


Paralympic Athletes

  • Kevin Mather is the reigning Paralympic Champion, World Archery Para Champion and World No. 1. He also won gold at the last edition of the Para Pan American Championships and holds several world records.
  • Matt Stutzman is on target for his fourth Paralympic Games and is hungry for the gold. The London 2012 silver medalist won the 2021 World Archery Para Championships and has since set several world records.
  • Kevin Polish, Jr. is currently ranked No. 10 in the world, and recently earned a bronze team finish with Stutzman at the 2023 World Archery Para Championships, where the duo broke a world record in match play. Paris would be his second appearance at the Games.
  • Eric Bennett has competed at four Paralympic Games and won multiple world championship medals through the years.


Hosting USA Archery Events

Photo © Detlev Voss |
Photo © Detlev Voss |

Cities interested in hosting events can connect with USA Archery several different ways. First, we attend specific sports event networking conferences each year such as Teams and Connect where we have an opportunity to meet with representatives from sports commissions, convention bureaus, event suppliers and hospitality industry specialists.


The majority of the interest in hosting our events comes from these connections, as CVBs and sports commissions are able to present information on their venues, opportunities and support available if we host in their city. Second, we have a webpage (found at dedicated to our national event bid process; this also contains information on hosting USA Archery events. Interested parties can e-mail or call us expressing their desire to learn more and we will provide them with our bid package information.


Facilities Needed

USA Archery has both indoor and outdoor target archery events with different venue needs. For indoor events, we look for indoor arenas/gymnasiums/convention halls, etc. with a minimum size of 25,000 square feet. For outdoor events, ideally, we seek out sports complex facilities with upwards of six to 10 contiguous soccer fields that will allow our archers to shoot facing either north or south. ADA accessibility, power, water and the number of parking spaces at the venue are all features we consider when selecting a location.


Strong Hosts and Venues Emerged in 2023

USA Archery is currently reviewing some strong new candidates we have connected with in 2023, including venues in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Nebraska and New York. For 2024, we are hosting indoor events in 14 different states, outdoor national championships in Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, New Mexico and Texas, and our national ranking series visits Arizona, Florida, Ohio and California annually. We aim for geographical diversity as our membership is spread nationwide and we like to have impressive offerings local to as many members as possible, as well as venues worth visiting for those traveling from greater distances.


The Bid Process

Our bid packages outline the support needed to execute our events and the event fees associated with each tournament. The bidding cities use this information to submit competitive bids to demonstrate the success of the partnership being proposed. Some of the details considered in the bid packages include the venue features, the grounds support, volunteer recruitment, lodging and accommodations, vendor sourcing and local archery backing through clubs or state associations. In addition to these details, we always consider the accessibility of the travel and any associated costs in the area, as well as the weather when considering our bid awards.


The Impact of Events

For the past few years, our largest national event has been our youth event hosted in July of each year. Archers up to 20 years old are eligible to attend; it is one of our U.S. Archery Team qualifying events. The USA Archery JOAD (Junior Olympic Archery Development) Target Nationals welcomed 844 archers over a four-day period in 2023. We hosted the event in Des Moines, Iowa and had an estimated spectator attendance of an additional 2,100-plus. The economic impact reported by our partner CVB was estimated to be $3.05 million for the event. SDM

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