By Jessianne WrighEBS Contributor

BIG SKY – For the fourth year in a row, Total Archery Challenge will bring its major outdoor sporting event to Big Sky, and as many as 850 participants are expected to attend. Total Archery Challenge Big Sky is a three-day archery challenge open to any archer wishing to improve skills in the off-season. The event will be held at Big Sky Resort Friday, July 21 through Sunday, July 23.

Participants will ride up the resort ski lifts and have an opportunity to shoot a variety of archery courses based on skill level, ranging from close shots with minimal angles, to steep angles with targets 100 yards away. There are also two kids’ courses and a fun novelty shot that gives the archer a chance to win a prize.

“We’ve got it to where beginners and experts can have a good time,” said Sean DeGey of Total Archery Challenge. “The objective is to get a bunch of archery guys together and have a good time and hone skills.”

More than 100 targets will be scattered across the Big Sky slopes, set up in ways that resemble real hunting scenarios. Targets can include 3-D replications of deer, elk and bear.

“The event is a great way to prepare for the season,” said Ryan Holm of Mystery Ranch, the Bozeman-based backpack manufacturer sponsoring the Big Sky event. “This is a really cool opportunity for an archer because most of the time you’re sitting at your house on flat land with a target a certain distance away. … [Total Archery Challenge] is an opportunity to shoot with friends, at different angles, and to dial in equipment.”

Because the event is not a formal competition, archers can move closer to their targets, or move right or left, in order to shoot at their own skill level.

Archery instructor Joel Turner will speak about target panic and how to get over the common pre-shot nervousness many archers face as they get set and draw back the bow string on a target. Turner will also offer tips on elk bugling with game calls.

Saturday, July 22, Bozeman musician David Brinker will play during the evening programming that will include raffle prizes that benefit Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. A special release video by Sitka Gear will follow the music and once it is dark, participants are invited to the Nockturnal Glow and Arrow shoot. This evening course will be lit by black lights and offers a fun spin on the day’s event.

Based on past attendance, DeGrey anticipates participants representing at least 20 states, as well as Canada and Mexico. The Big Sky event is the second largest of Total Archery Challenge’s six archery shoots, held in locations that include Texas, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

“We’re very proud to host these kinds of events,” said Chelsi Moy, Big Sky Resort’s public relations manager. “Participants are outside and they’re experiencing our mountain. They’re living big … living big adventures.”

To learn more about Total Archery Challenge Big Sky or to preregister, visit totalarcherychallenge.com/big-sky.