Retailers: Planning Fun Archery Shoots and Tourneys

Help your neighbors meet new people, try archery, and learn about bowhunting and bowfishing.
Photo Credit: ATA

Author: Cassie Scott

Hosting archery shoots or tournaments can boost your shop’s profile, and increase your cash flow and customer base. Whether you’ve already held many events or you’re just getting started, try these five tips to create fun, memorable experiences for everyone.

Make sure there is enough room between lanes and explain safety rules to any newcomers. Photo Credit: ATA

Create a Fun, Safe Environment

Participants won’t have fun if they’re worried about getting hurt. Before beginning your event, review its safety rules, introduce the certified instructors who oversee range safety, and ensure everyone knows and understands range etiquette. With everyone on board the safety train, participants can trust the process and enjoy the event.

Long before the big day, carefully plan and design your event’s layout. You’ll ensure an upbeat atmosphere by designing a harmonious flow from the registration booth to the shooting lanes and viewing areas. Place spectators in shady areas if you’re planning a summer event when hot, sunny days are likely. Place food trucks or concession stands near spectators, but downwind or out of sight of the shooting lanes so archers won’t get distracted. Provide free water stations, which can boost spirits and keep everyone hydrated. Also provide resting areas for archers, and alternative activities like a bag toss or bouncy houses for families.


Attract, Recruit Potential Archers

Participants: To help participants feel comfortable competing, offer specific age groups or shooting levels, such as beginner, intermediate or advanced, so everyone competes against similarly qualified archers. Smaller groups also help archers learn and develop friendships with their peers, which makes shooting more fun. You can also host family shoots or events for people with specific skills, assuming there’s interest. Market your event to attract archers and potential archers you can easily work with.

Staff: You need friendly, knowledgeable instructors to help participants and keep your events on schedule. Ask employees to fill in, but don’t force them into uncomfortable situations. If your bow technician lacks people skills, don’t make him run the registration booth. Consider training community volunteers to help, and ask your technician to help with the event’s set-up chores and behind-the-scenes work. Workers make or break events, so recruit people who feel comfortable in crowds. In addition, it’s best to have extras on hand to help.

Celebrities: Football fans enjoy meeting professional football players, right? Well, archery fans like meeting great archers. Imagine a child’s excitement when meeting a well-known archer or pro-staff shooter. They’ll be happy and inspired. Try arranging visits from professional archers or archery celebrities. Their presence will likely boost attendance, too.

A great theme makes any party better. Throw a memorable archery party by choosing a fun theme. Photo credit: ATA

Select Cool Themes, Targets

Archery events with cool themes and targets generate more fun. Select a theme based on your audience. It’s not as easy as you might think. Dinosaur targets and decorations might thrill grade-schoolers, but high-school students might rather see zombies, which would likely scare little kids.

No matter your theme or targets, never forsake your budget. Cool targets don’t have to be expensive. You can create targets and decorations for a July Fourth shoot by spray-painting haybales, or coloring paper plates red, white and blue. You’ll be tempted to go overboard, but stick to your goals to ensure a profit.


Give Away Sweet Prizes

People love winning prizes. Hand out ribbons, medals, trophies or prizes such as coupons for lessons or free range time. Reward the first-, second- and third-place winners in each category or age group.

Give everyone a chance to win by awarding door prizes to random winners, or create unique categories such as “best spirit,” “most improved” or “most fashionable.” Creative categories turn up the “fun dial,” and lighten the intensity of competition.

Can’t afford to buy sweet prizes? No worries! Request donations or ask businesses to sponsor prizes. Explain what’s in it for them. Donations build brand awareness, boost profiles and build community spirit. Sponsorships also increase a business’s sales and influence.

You can also partner with other organizations to host an event. In turn, your partners can contribute – or create – prizes.

Make sure there is downtime for snacks or educational presentations so the archers don't get burnt out. Photo credit: ATA

Offer Breaks, Learning Opportunities

Tired participants won’t have fun, so schedule breaks that let them rest, refuel and recharge. Ten minutes away from the shooting line lets shooters grab a snack, use the restroom, and check in with friends and family.

Breaks allow mini-educational seminars, too. Ask a coach or professional archer to give a pep talk or review a shooting technique. Also consider giving a quick recap of your shop’s upcoming camps, classes or leagues. If your event is large enough to have flights of shooters, you can repeat seminars to give all participants the chance to engage.


Other Logistics

Planning an archery event takes time and consideration. You must set prices, schedule the specific date and times, streamline the registration process, and market the event strategically throughout your community. To learn more, read these articles and instructions:

Host Archery Summer Camps – and Boost Revenue – in 7 Simple Steps

Could Recreational Archery Programs Help Boost Your Business?

Create Your Business-Boosting Archery Program With These 8 Steps

How to Offer Archery Programs and Classes

To learn more about organizing and hosting archery events, contact Nicole Nash, ATA’s range and retail programs manager, at or (502) 640-0944.

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