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Christmas trees create outdoor feel for archery event

January 26, 2018 GMT

COLUMBUS — It was looking a bit like Christmas.

Dozens of pine trees, some with strings of tinsel still dangling from the branches, were being arranged inside the arena at Platte County Agricultural Park.

The trees, which were decorated inside living rooms just a few weeks ago, are being used for a different purpose now. About 100 of them collected through the city’s Christmas tree recycling program are used in the annual Platte Valley Archers 3-D Tournament.

An outdoor setting is recreated indoors using the trees, presenting natural obstacles for participants taking aim at targets during the event held Friday through Sunday.

Typical bull’s-eye targets aren’t used. Instead, there are bears, turkeys, deer, antelope and even a few dinosaurs — all fake, of course — roaming the forested area. The setup is a challenge for archers who not only have to dodge the trees but also properly judge the distance to hit one of the roughly 70 targets from 20 different stations.

It’s a multi-day effort to get the arena ready for the competition that attracts about 600 shooters from Nebraska and surrounding states each year.

“We normally start that Monday before the tournament, but because of the snow we started Tuesday. The guys are kicking it in and getting it done,” said Jeff Adelman, president of the Platte Valley Archers.

The group used to cut down cedar trees for the event, but have been using the recycled pine trees for a few years. After the tournament, the city turns the trees into mulch.

Ornamental grass is also placed around the target field to enhance the “forestry feel,” Adelman said.

The 3-D tournament is a fun change of pace for some.

Lance Mitchell, a Platte Valley Archers board member, said the setup isn’t exactly like how it feels to use a bow outdoors, but he enjoys indoor competitions more than standard target practice.

“This is more challenging. In target, it’s the same thing over and over again trying to hit the same spot,” said Mitchell, who was helping set up the 3-D field Thursday with his wife Tracy Mitchell, another archer.

This is the only tournament organized by the local archery group each year. Registration fees and membership dues help support the club.

A 4-H archery event is also held Friday that typically draws more than 200 youths.

The indoor tournament has been going on for about 30 years, but there’s a new feature that will test a person’s depth perception. A shooter must fire an arrow through a narrow opening to hit a glow-in-the-dark target.

The event is open to archers of all ages and skill levels. Registration is still open by going to http://www.megavision.net/pva/.