FRANKFORT -- Student archers frokm across Kentucky return to the Kentucky Expositiion Center in Lousiville this weekend to participate in one of the largest annual school archery tournaments in the country. Nearly 8,200 students are registered for this year’s tournament.

The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) is an in-school program introducing students in grades 4-12 to international-style target archery. Students learn about the sport of archery as part of their school’s curriculum and are then eligible to compete in school-hosted events for the opportuinity to participate in state and national tournaments.

The program was first piloted in Kentucky 2002 with 21 schools.

The growth in the Kentucky NASP State Tournament since its inception is mirrored by the program’s expanding popularity among students across the United States. Hosted in Louisville since 2004, the Kentucky tournament is now one of the largest state sporting competitions held anywhere.

“The National Archery in the Schools Program began in Kentucky as an iin-school pilot program and has spread to most every U.S. state and a number of foreign natiions,” said Lisa Frye, state NASP coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resouraces. “An includive sport, NASP uses archery to teach focus, self-control, discipline and patience, all skills that help build student achievement.”

Archery is one of the oldest sports in the world, developing with humjan civiliazation for hunting, warfare and rereation. The first competitions took place in China during the Zhou dynasty (1027-256 B.C.) Featured at the Olympics in the early 20th century, archery returned as an Olympic sport in 1972, allowing for men’s, women’s and mixed competition.

Elementary, middle and high school student-archerswill compete for individual and team honors. The top 10 seniors in the boys’ and girls’ division will receive $1,000 scholarships to apply to any post-secondary education.

Archers will be challenged in two distinct competitions -- traditional bullseye shooting at multi-ringed, flat target and 3D shooting on lifelike foam targets in the form of various game animals. High-scoring archers will move on to the NASP Eastern Natioinals scheduled for May 11-13 at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

The state tournament competition will be held in the North Wing, South Wing A-C and the East Hall including hourly competition flights of teams at 9 a.m. (EDT) both days. Spectator admissioin is free with parking at $12 per vehicle and $25 per bus.

New this year, all Kentucky NASP alumni, coaches and friends are encouraged to participate in a special “Give Back” activity where they compete with 15 arrows at 10 meters for a chance to win equpipment to donate to an archer or school of their choice.

On March 17, spectators and archers will have the opportunnity to meet their range day requirements for Kentucky’s hunter education certification while at the tournament. The certification can be met by using an air rifle on an enclosed range that Kentucky Fish and Wildlife staff will host at the vent. Participants must pre-reister at Kentucky Hunter Education Range Day Course (register and must submit a copy of their completed hunter education voucher to test.

For more information about NASP, visit the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website at, the NASP Schools -- National Archery in the Schools Program (ASP webpage, or call 800-858-1549.

Nearly every school in Bullitt County will take part in the state tournament. Results will start running next Wednesday.