By Bonnie Culverhouse
Something exciting is coming to Camp Minden this spring, and plans are not only under way, they are soaring toward the bull’s eye.
April 21-24, 2022 is the target date for Camp Minden to host the McKenzie Archery Shooters Association Pro/Am Tour, and more than 2,000 archers and their families are expected to descend on Webster Parish, Bossier Parish and Minden.
Kelly Wells, executive director of the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission said the four-day tour will be an annual event for the next 10 years and will bring an estimated economic impact of $25 million dollars to the area over the course of that decade.
“This is the largest archery shooters association in the country,” Wells said. “They do an incredible job. This is evidence of what can happen when different agencies work together as a team.”
Wells said his organization scouted several sites over the past few years, looking for a place to hold the event. A member of the Bossier Parish Police Jury brought Camp Minden to Wells’ attention.
“Mr. Bob Brotherton introduced us to Webster Parish and Minden,” Wells said. “We looked at Camp Minden and met the incredible team. Not only did they already know about ASA, but some of them shoot competitively and they were looking to have some archery targets set up for the Youth Challenge Program.”
Wells, along with members of police juries from Bossier and Webster parishes, mayors of Bossier City and Minden, the National Guard Commander of Camp Minden training site, representatives of tourism and convention agencies and a representative of Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser spoke of the archery tournament’s impact.
“People will see what north Louisiana has to offer,” said Mike Walsworth from the North Louisiana Outreach Office of the Louisiana Lt. Governor.
Speakers pointed to a 10-year commitment by the tournament organizers, along with an economic impact on the Webster, Bossier, Caddo area of up to three million dollars a year.
“And you know what? I really believe this event will create an economic impact that exceeds those numbers,” said Brotherton. “When people see the attraction that is Camp Minden, I believe other opportunities will follow.”
Brotherton, along with Wells and Webster Parish Police Jury member Nick Cox, visited an ASA tournament in Texas and returned with the idea that event would be ideal for north Louisiana, if a suitable location could be found. That’s when attention turned to Camp Minden.
Brotherton and Cox said the cooperation of many agencies, along with the efforts of Camp Minden Commander Lt. Col. Harry Wilson of the Louisiana National Guard and his staff, resulted in “…what we see here today, and hopefully what we will see more than ten years.”
Cox said this event brings a lot of great energy with it.
“Vendors and food trucks come and set up their products,” Cox said. “We are pulling this off together. People with the right expertise did an outstanding job. Good leadership makes things look easy, and it makes easy for the rest of us.”
“Frankly, I’ve been doing this for 25 years and this is very humbling,” said American Shooters Association President Mike Tyrell. “It was amazing to see the commitment of everybody to make this happen.”
Since its inception in 1993, the ASA, headquartered in Kennesaw, Geo., has hosted tens of thousands of amateur and professional archers from across the United States, as well as internationally, in national Pro/Am and state level club competitions.
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