Archery tournament takes aim at economy

By Erica Quednau |

Published 02/08 2014 06:15PM

Updated 02/10 2014 09:51AM

CHAMPAIGN -- A first-of-its-kind competition is having an impact on the town's economy. Jefferson Middle School hosted its first archery tournament. The school just started its team about three years ago. Since then, it's grown from 19 students to more than 80. Now, it's helping grow the economy too.

Lisa Jensen didn't have to travel far to see her son and daughter compete but when they got to Champaign, they made a day out of it. 

"We sort of carpooled and caravanned our way from Peoria. The little bit we outlay is just for gas, snacks and maybe grab a bite to eat," said Jensen.

But that little bit adds up when more than 500 archers are participating.

"You're talking about thirteen different teams coming in from all over the state and Indiana so they're coming here for the day, maybe overnight. They're going to be spending money in restaurants, maybe going shopping, they may go to our museums before or after they're shooting," said Terri Reifsteck with Visit Champaign County. 

She's been working with Jefferson Middle School's archery team since June.

"It was an ideal relationship to come to this together, find space for them, bring teams here and get them to experience our community and make an economic impact," said Reifsteck.

An impact worth about $280,000.

"Really what it's doing is it's creating an experience in Champaign County. They get to see what we have here to offer and then they'll come back again and spend more time and more money in our community," said Reifsteck.

"That's crazy. I just have to thank, the community has been so supportive," said Lynne Srull, head coach of the JMS archery team. 

What's even crazier is to think that this is just the beginning of a practically brand new program.
"It may be something that goes from a one-day tournament to a two-day tournament, depending on how many teams there are. So, you're talking more hotel room nights, more people out spending money," said Reifsteck.

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