“I’m not going to let coronavirus kill this tournament.”
Those are the words of Randy Woodward, coordinator of the Youth World Bowfishing Championship held each year on Fort Gibson Lake in Wagoner.
Originally scheduled for June 27, the event drawing hundreds of participants and their families will be held Saturday, Aug. 8 at Camp Gibson near the Toppers Boat Ramp. Due to the heat, competition will be held from daylight to 2 p.m. and weigh-in is at 3 p.m.
Competitors ages 18 and under will shoot for 1 gar, 1 buffalo, 1 drum and 1 carp. There is no cost to participate and there will be many awards.
Free target shooting will be offered as well beginning Friday, Aug. 7 and into Saturday. Shooters must be on the range by 1:30 p.m. Saturday to shoot.
Now in its 16th year, the Youth Worlds cost thousands of dollars to put on and a spring banquet traditionally brings in anywhere from $12,000 to $15,000 to help offset expenses. This year, however, the banquet has yet to be held due to gathering size restrictions.
Woodward has chosen to go ahead and do the tournament in hopes of replenishing funds later this year.
“This tournament means a lot to me. I’ve gotten to do bowfishing all my life and love it!” he exclaimed. “I want the kids to enjoy what I do – something outdoors where they don’t have to be athletic. They can be any size and any age and do it together with their entire family.”
“It doesn’t take long for the word to spread and I’ve already got people ready to rent rooms,” Woodward continued. “We’ve had shooters from two states call today.”
In 2019, the Youth World Bowfishing Championship featured 256 competitors. The largest turnout was in 2013 when 431 gathered to shoot. Those participants are accompanied by families, meaning a big crowd is expected.
“People can sign up the day of the event or sign up online,” Woodward said. “If you’re shooting fish, you need to come on Friday to register.”
To help with social distancing on the campgrounds, Woodward said there are 105 tables available to sit at. Everyone attending should bring their own chairs and masks if they choose to wear one. Hand sanitizer will be available.
For more information, call Woodward at 918-638-0282, Karen Risley at 918-855-2039 or Jason Young at 918-344-4654.