BEMIDJI - The sound of arrows slicing through the air and smacking into straw targets will fill the Gillett Recreation-Fitness Center at Bemidji State this weekend as the Bemidji Archery Club hosts the 2012 Minnesota State Archery Association indoor shoot.
In 2010 the Bemidji club and the rec center welcomed about 1,000 archers for the event and state officials were so impressed with the success of the meet that they were happy to oblige when Bemidji submitted a bid for this year's tournament.
The shoot begins at 9 a.m. Saturday and will continue through Sunday afternoon. Among this weekend's expected 800 participants is Bemidji Archery Club member Steve Jaranson who will take his place in the shooting line 1 p.m. Saturday in the bowhunter class.
"Archery is a great sport and one that can be done by the entire family," Jaranson, who joined the archery club in 1980, said. "When you go to shoots like these it's amazing to see the variety of shooters, the variety of the events and just how good the young archers are."
The state meet features 19 different divisions for men and women including classes ranging from under seven years of age to over 65.
The state shooters qualified for this weekend's competition through various regional events held throughout the state. They have all been assigned a handicap score based on those regional results and archers will be matched against shooters of equal ability.
The adults in the meet will shoot at targets 20 yards away while the youngsters will shoot at 10-yard targets.
Points will be awarded based upon the accuracy of the shots and trophies will be given to the top shooters in each division.
"The opportunity of shooting indoors has brought many people back to the sport," Jaranson said. "Our club has the outdoor range (on Archery Club Road) but from December through March we rent the 4-H building at the fairgrounds for our indoor shooting.
"Our outdoor season and the outdoor range is open whenever the weather permits but the indoor season is where our numbers are."
Many of the Bemidji Archery Club members will end their indoor season at this weekend's state shoot. The targets at the fairgrounds facility are being removed this week and the state competition will offer the final time to test their skills indoors.
"The state shoot is the finale of the Minnesota indoor season," Jaranson said. "I'm looking forward to shooting on Saturday."
The public is welcome to watch the shooters at no charge. Seating will be available on the rec center balcony and on bleachers behind the firing line.