German Archers

This group of archers from Germany pose for a photo following Friday's final round of the IFAA World Bowhunter Championships in Yankton. They are (L-R): Bernd Freisleben, Gert Kneesch, Wolfgang Quinger and Joachim Kilchert.

Talk about a perfect finish.

As he stood with his friends — and fellow archers from Germany — on Friday afternoon, Joachim Kilchert couldn’t help but beam.

For good reason, he said when asked about his excitement.

He was leaving the sport as a world champion.

“This is actually my last competition,” Kilchert said after his final round of the International Field Archery Association (IFAA) World Bowhunter Championships, at the ranges at Lewis & Clark Recreation Area.

“I’m going to finish my tournament career with this and shoot for fun in the future.”

Kilchert, a long-time archer, will officially be crowned the champion in the three-man Veteran Male Longbow class at today’s (Saturday) awards ceremony — the culmination of the four-day event.

That’s not the most interesting part of his journey to the United States, though, he said.

What is?

“We’ve made two dreams come true,” Kilchert said, as he motioned to a friend standing next to him.

They left their home in Germany on Aug. 3 and will return Sunday, he added.

Before arriving in South Dakota, Kilchert and his friend spent five weeks in Canada on what he called a “long-time dream” excursion.

In the Yukon territory, the pair spent time canoeing, camping, sightseeing, photographing nature and wildlife (Kilchert is an avid photographer) and otherwise relaxing.

“It was a wonderful experience,” Kilchert said. “It’s been a perfect six weeks.”

Another member in Friday’s contingent of five German archers shares a similar story.

Gert Kneesch, the champion of the Senior Male Longbow class, has likewise turned his trip to South Dakota in a full-blown vacation.

Once he leaves Yankton, Kneesch and some friends will spend a week and a half visiting locations in western South Dakota and across other western states.

On their itinerary: Custer State Park, Mount Rushmore, Needles Highway, Sturgis (Kneesch loves to ride motorcycles, he said) and Yellowstone National Park.

“It would be a dream come true,” Kneesch said, with a smile.

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