DANVILLE – A record number of archers from Illinois and Indiana are expected to participate in Danville High School’s sixth annual archery competition, the Ullr Classic, this Saturday in the DHS Field House.
Opening ceremonies start at 7:45 a.m. with the National Anthem and the JROTC color guard presenting the organizational colors.
Lt. Col. (Retired) Timothy Merriott, DHS Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) senior Army instructor, said Ryan Schull and Broc Atwood, who are the head coaches of Northeast Elementary Magnet School’s elementary and middle school archery teams, and Northeast school secretary Kim Corley, who also is involved with the archery teams, will shoot the first ceremonial arrows at 7:55 a.m. during opening ceremonies.
The first flight starts at 8 a.m. Awards will be presented following the ninth and final flight time that starts at 4:30 p.m.
The public is welcome to attend and watch as many as 90 archers be on the line at the same time, which will be one of the largest displays of archery in the entire state
A freewill donation will be asked at the door. The grandparents of a former DHS JROTC cadet will run the concession area and sell pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs, pickles, nachos, popcorn, candy and assorted beverages.
In addition, chances will be sold for a drawing to give away 25 gift baskets.
“Northeast School raised some funds, and the ladies there are fixing up 25 gift baskets,” Merriott said. “They even have a plasma TV they’re giving away.”
The Ullr Classic is a fundraiser for the JROTC program that helps promote good citizenship. The event has continued to grow from 282 archers during the inaugural event in 2015 to this year’s record 725 archers.
The Ullr Classic spans more than nine hours, and last year brought several hundred spectators into the community. Three divisions — elementary, middle and high school levels — will participate in the competition that is sanctioned by National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP).
“The community really shows up and supports us,” Merriott said. “And, of course, all the parents of the archers will be there.”
Twenty-four DHS archers, who are also JROTC cadets, will participate in the competition, while other cadets and parents will serve as line judges.
Northeast Magnet’s elementary and middle school archery teams also will debut at this year’s Ullr Classic. Sixteen sixth-graders are on the middle school team, while 27 fourth- and fifth-graders comprise the elementary school team.
“I’m excited about having an elementary team that starts in fourth grade instead of having an archery program that starts at ninth grade,” Merriott said.
This year, 23 elementary, middle and high school teams from across Illinois and one school from Indiana will participate in the competition that is composed of nine flights, each an hour long.
“Every flight starts on the hour from 8 a.m. to noon and then, after a break, from 12:30 to 5:30,” Merriott said.
The final flight is expected to conclude at 5:30 p.m., with the awards ceremony at 6 p.m. Awards will be given for top first, second and third place in each division as well as the top 10 archers individually in each division at the conclusion of the tournament.
The teams participating are Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire; Armstrong-Ellis Grade School; Armstrong Township High School; Canton High School; Ingersoll Middle School in Canton; Centennial High School in Champaign; Danville High School; Edison Middle School in Champaign; Faith Christian School in Lafayette, Ind.; Franklin Middle School in Champaign; Georgetown-Ridge Farm elementary, middle and high schools; Gifford Grade School; Jefferson Middle School in Champaign; Liberty Academy Homeschool in Champaign; Metamora Township High School; Next Generation School in Champaign; Northeast Elementary Magnet School; Notre de La Salette boys’ academy in Olivet; Potomac Grade School; Schlarman Academy; and St. John’s Lutheran School in Mattoon.
The funds raised during the competition will support the DHS JROTC program, which was established at the high school in 2013 and has 147 cadets this school year. JROTC’s sole purpose is to motivate young people to be better citizens and to help them get into college.
“We also will be supporting (Northeast’s) elementary and junior high teams, and the money will help with the drill team and a senior trip,” Merriott said. “Last year, we went to McCormick Museum in Chicago.
“The proceeds also help pay for different activities we put on, such as giving the kids an opportunity to experience a military installation,” he said. “It’s a long drive, but some of these kids don’t have the opportunity to leave the state.”
Archers who participate in the Ullr Classic and other NASP competitions will have the opportunity to advance to the state competition March27-28 in Springfield and the national competition May 7-9 in Louisville, Ky.
NASP, who partners with JROTC to provide the rules and scoring platform for the competition, was developed to serve specific educational and conservation purposes. The NASP program was designed to help educators find ways to improve student motivation, attention, behavior, attendance and focus.