Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

April 8, 2014

Hundreds of archers headed to Pipestem this week

PIPESTEM — For the first time, the International Bowhunters Organization Spring National Competition is coming to Pipestem Resort State Park this weekend.

The park expects 600 to 800 competitors in classes ranging from traditional bowhunting “all the way up to the highest level of compound archers,” said event organizer Larry Kade. He and park superintendent David Caplinger said spectators are welcome at no charge.

Kade is president of Backwoods Bowhunters in Mercer County and runs an archery range off the West Virginia Turnpike at Cornbread Ridge, near Athens.

“Pipestem, like nearly every West Virginia state park, does not charge an entry fee, so this is a great way to enjoy a low-cost weekend,” Caplinger said.

“Some lodge rooms and campsites are still available for those wanting to stay overnight. The park, as usual, is offering a great slate of additional activities and programming for guests.”

Kade said, “This is a great event with a great family atmosphere. Whole families come out and compete in and watch the various classes ... .”

The competition will take place at the park’s recreation center. Competitor registration begins at 3 p.m. Thursday and runs through 3 p.m. Saturday. Amateur registration is $42, and trophies and cash prizes are offered.

Competitions begin at 7 a.m. Friday and the ranges will remain open until dark Friday and Saturday, according to a release from the park. Children age 8 and younger may compete as Future Bowhunters, and will shoot at 1 p.m. Saturday.

The event will conclude Sunday with the final competitions and awards wrapping up by 2 p.m.

“This is a first-time event that we hope becomes an annual event,” Caplinger said. He said Pipestem is “a very logical place” for their competition. “I suspect one factor in their decision was that this area of West Virginia is known to be very outdoor-oriented,” he said.

Kade said the Pipestem competition will be the second of six national IBO events this year.

“I knew they had some shoots way down south and the attendance wasn’t where they wanted it to be,” Kade said. He talked with Kaplinger and then pitched his proposal to the top brass of the IBO.

“They made a trip down in October, I think it was,” Kade said. “We went to the park ... and I showed them what Princeton had to offer, what Pipestem had to offer.”

“It was a pretty easy decision for them, they said.”

Caplinger said, “Pipestem obviously is a state park. We don’t permit hunting. This is a preserve, to put it in simple terms. This is a great place to stop and observe wildlife. Many visitors bring their kids and see wildlife up close for the first time in their lives.

“We see turkeys strutting around, (and) deer. A lot of times, you can watch them bedding down. You don’t see that often.”

“This is a place where people can generate an interest in nature and appreciate wildlife, the beauty of it and everything. A certain percentage will go on to be great outdoorsmen, and we’d like to think we have a small part in that.”

He said the park is a place where “you can easily fall in love” with nature.

Kade said about 10 local bowhunters are helping him arrange for the competition. He said he will not be competing because he’s busy setting up the ranges and will be “running around” taking care of daily details.

“I wish I could (compete),” he said. “I travel the country, shooting in national archery tournaments.”

The park has also been gearing up for the logistics of a competition this large. One temporary change is the closing of Pipestem’s par-3 golf course for the duration of the bowhunters’ tournament, at least until noon Sunday, Caplinger said.

Many of the targets are adjacent to the golf course, he said, bringing up the prospect of stray arrows nailing a weekend golfer.

The precaution goes the other way, too.

“We wouldn’t want any of the bowhunters to be hit by golf balls either,” Caplinger said.

— Contact Tom Bone at tbone@bdtonline.com

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