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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Holiday Valley Mountain Resort in Ellicottville, Cattaraugus County.

A world-class bowhunting tournament is coming to Ellicottville, Cattaraugus County, and you can still participate. (Provided photo)

Arrows have replaced ski poles at Holiday Valley Mountain Resort in Ellicottville, Cattaraugus County.

The International Bowhunting Organization's 2008 World Championships and Archery Festival is today through Sunday on the slopes of the world-class ski resort, once dubbed by The New York Times "the ski town that Aspen used to be like."

More than 2,000 competitors from more than 20 countries will compete in field archery events. About 500 3-D targets of deer, bear and other wildlife have been set up in the sprawling woods of the resort.

Field archery has been called "golf with a bow" as contestants take aim at targets placed at various locations on a course. It is the closest simulation of hunting there is in the sport and the world's best have gathered in western New York to test their skills at distances of up to 40 yards.

"New York and Pennsylvania are two of the five states with the largest bowhunting numbers," says IBO president Ken Watkins. "We think having the tournament at Holiday Valley will allow more archers to attend the festival and give them a chance to participate with archers from around the world in the most prestigious competition in 3-D archery."

For a registration fee of $40, shooters who haven't qualified for the IBO world tournament can take part in an open-class shoot, competing on the same world-level courses.

The IBO has been so impressed with Holiday Valley's ability to host its world tournament, and how it has been embraced by the Ellicottville business community, that it named the resort the host for 2009 and 2010 as well.

Brian McFadden of the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce attended world shoots in Anderson, Ind., and Snowshoe Mountain, W.Va., where they were held for seven years, and immediately knew he wanted to lobby to bring the event to western New York.

"I'm certain this will be an outstanding location in every aspect," he says. "This event is for everyone. It's a chance for our visitors to see (Ellicottville) and the best in world class 3-D archery competition."

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