Mermet Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area is a popular hunting and fishing destination, but once a year, it draws a different type of sportsman for one of the largest tourism events in the region.

These sportsmen aren’t interested in the wildlife or fish — they are focused on a different kind of animal: a foam one. That’s because they are competitive archers that will be shooting life-size high-density foam animal targets during the Delta McKenzie / ASA Pro/Am Tour, which begins Thursday, June 23, and concludes Sunday, June 26.

Participants will begin coming to the area on Wednesday, June 22, as registration begins and practice facilities open.

“Everyone is invited to participate, or just come out to watch the best 3-D archers in the world and to see the best archery and bowhunting products being showcased by over 40 of the industry’s top manufacturers,” said Mike Terrell, president of Archery Shooters Association, LLC.

Drinks and food are available for purchase during the tournament. Parking is free to the general public.

ASA hosts tournaments throughout the year, and the Metropolis shoot is one of the largest archery competitions in the country. For several years, over 20,000 people have entered the Mermet Refuge during the event, and more than 1,600 men, women and children — from the Junior Eagles, who are 6- to 8-years old, to the Senior Masters, who are 70 and over — have aimed their arrows for championship titles in several categories. The targets are designed to simulate a variety of hunting situations for archery enthusiasts.

“ASA is once again looking forward to our return to the Mermet Lake Fish and Wildlife Area for the 2022 Delta McKenzie / ASA Pro/Am Tour,” Terrell said. “We truly appreciate the great support we have always received from Chris McGinness, with the Illinois Department of the Natural Resources who is the Site Superintendent at Mermet, along with Trish Steckenrider, with Metropolis Tourism.”

This marks the 22nd year of ASA coming to Mermet Lake. The first time was 1996. The 2021 event brought in 1,735 shooters over a four-day period to Mermet.

“Everyone looks forward to competing on some of the best ranges we see all year, along with experiencing the hospitality of the great people of Metropolis,” Terrell said.

Mathews Archery is the official host sponsor of the Mermet stop on the Pro/Am Tour, which features the top professional and amateur archers from across the country and internationally. The site provides 14 competition ranges that are specifically designed to be spectator friendly.

“Spectators are a big part of the tournament. Some spectators even bring their binoculars for better viewing of the competition,” Terrell said.

As with all outdoor summer events, sunscreen, sunglasses and insect repellent are recommended.

For those who can’t make it in person, “ASA is proud to have the support of Competition Archery Media, which is providing excellent daily coverage of the event on Facebook or YouTube under ‘Competition Archery Media,’ ” Terrell said.

Part of the action will also be at Fort Massac State Park when the Pro Pressure Point Shoot Down begins at 4 p.m. Saturday, June 25. The event features the Top 5 scoring leaders from each of the Women’s Pro, Senior Pro, Open Pro and Known Pro classes, who will be competing for the largest paybacks in 3-D archery. Terrell noted this portion of the weekend will be covered live on CAM and on The Sportsman Channel.

“We invite everyone, as a competitor or spectator, to join us next week,” Terrell said.

“If you are a target archer, bowhunter or just interested in getting started in archery this event will provide you the opportunity to meet new friends, learn about the latest and greatest equipment, practice and improve your archery skills, and spend time with great people.”

For more information about ASA, visit ASAarchery.com.

Registration and the practice facilities will open from 2-5 p.m. Wednesday, June 22; at 8 a.m. Thursday and Friday; and 6:30 a.m. Saturday. The practice facilities will open at 6 a.m. Sunday. The Mermet facilities will close at 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 7 p.m. Friday; 5 p.m. Saturday; and at noon Sunday.

This year’s tournament schedule includes:

• Thursday, June 23, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. — GPO Precision Shoot.

• Thursday, June 23, noon — Zebra Bowstrings Pro/Am Team Shoot with the awards presentation at 2:45 p.m.

• Friday, June 24, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. — GPO Precision Shoot with the first-round All Pro classes shoot at 9 a.m.; the Friday option round for Saturday and Sunday times at 10 a.m.: the Friday option round for Saturday times and semi-pros at 2 p.m.

• Saturday, June 25, 7:30 a.m. — Amateur classes; Eagle Classes and Junior Eagle; and All Pro classes second round. The award ceremony for Eagle and Junior Eagle will be at 3 p.m. The amateur classes ceremony will be at 9 a.m. Sunday, June 26.

• Saturday, June 25, 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. — GPO Precision Shoot.

• Saturday, June 25, 11:30 a.m. — Amateur and semi-pro classes. The second round of the Amateur classes will be at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The semi-pro classes award ceremony will be at 3:50 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at Fort Massac State Park. The Amateur classes award ceremony will be at 9 a.m. Sunday, June 26.

• Saturday, June 25, 1 p.m. — Future Champions ASA Pro Session. The award ceremony will be at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, June 26.

• Saturday, June 25, at Fort Massac State Park near the fort — Live coverage of the Pro Pressure Point Shoot Down begins at 4 p.m. with the 10-minute pro judging period. The Shoot Down begins at 4:10 p.m. with the Women’s Pro Class.

• Sunday, June 26, 6 a.m. — Sunrise services at Mermet.

• Sunday, June 26, 7:30 a.m. — The final round begins with a shotgun start.

• Sunday, June 26, 11:30 a.m. — The awards ceremony for all classes completing on Sunday.

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