When the biggest archery tournament of the year takes place this weekend, Frankfort will be well represented.
Just like it always has been.
The NASP (National Archery in the Schools Program) World Tournament begins Friday afternoon and runs through Sunday at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis.
“People know who we are when we walk into a tournament,” Westridge coach Robert Aldridge said. “They know who the Frankfort people are. We’ve put a lot of kids on the podium.”
This is the sixth year for the tournament. Frankfort has had archers compete every year, and they’ve placed in four of the previous five tournaments.
“We hope to make it five out of six this time,” Aldridge said.
Archers have to finish in the top five of their division to place.
Westridge, Bondurant Middle School and Peaks Mill have teams competing in the world tournament, and individuals from Elkhorn Middle and Western Hills will compete.
Archers qualify for the world tournament at nationals, which took place in Louisville in May.
Four local archers qualified as individuals at nationals — Mary Aldridge and Melissa Martin of Western Hills, and Evan Jones and Hailey Martin of Westridge.
Jones and Hailey Martin will be competing with their team. Aldridge will be competing as an individual, and Melissa Martin won’t be attending.
“Registration is first come, first served,” Aldridge said about the world tournament. “There are a little more than 3,000 spots at this tournament, and way more people than that qualify.
“At nationals they turned people away, and it was the same thing at the state tournament. It’s so popular; so many kids are interested. It’s a wonderful opportunity to be part of something, a record-setting sport, and it’s a great chance to go to the national tournament and world tournament.”
To get to the world tournament, local archers have been working to raise money.
“There have been various fundraising efforts,” said Aldridge, who is also an assistant coach at Bondurant and WHHS.
“Bondurant worked at Sonic and sold coupon cards. Westridge did fundraising at school. They worked concessions and did two nights at Sonic, and Froggy came out one night for them.
“We’re always looking for sponsors, people to help the teams continue to improve.”
This year at nationals, a 3-D competition was offered for the first time. Westridge placed eighth and Mary Aldridge was fourth. A 3-D starter kit costs $2,000.
“We’re always in need of support,” Robert Aldridge said. “I have to say a big thanks to Sonic and Froggy and all the others who support the kids and their efforts to experience this opportunity.
“I also have to give a big thanks to the school district and school staff. They have to put up with us as they take care of us and the paperwork we have to do for fundraising.”
Mary Aldridge, who’ll be a junior at WHHS this fall, took first place at the world tournament in the middle school girls division as an eighth-grader. Megan Aldridge was first among fourth-grade girls in 2010, and Brandon Aldridge was fourth in the fourth-grade boys division in 2011 and fifth at the world tournament among fifth-grade boys in 2012.
Mary has competed in four world tournaments and placed in all of them. Mary and Megan are Robert Aldridge’s daughters, and Brandon is his nephew.
The world tournament is technically the end of the 2013-14 archery season, but in reality the season doesn’t end.
“The Bluegrass State Games are coming up soon,” Aldridge said, “and we’ll have more (archers) doing that.
“There are other tournaments around. The KBA in Lexington has a tournament series in the fall. Westridge will be starting very shortly after school starts, and there are kids who shoot at Cove Spring Park.
“There’s always some archery activity going on.”
That’s led to a lot of success for local archers.
“The kids going are going to represent Frankfort very well,” Aldridge said. “They’re bringing a lot of recognition to our schools and to our community.
“The kids are getting into an international magazine, competing at the highest level, and they’re having a lot of fun to boot.”