A dozen plus years of Arizona Cup
Under warm sunny April sky in the desert of the southwestern United States, Janice Price walks briskly with paper in hand clarifying an important tourney detail to a “customer” while husband Bob Pian hands radios to the judges crew. Both have been working on the AZ Cup world ranking tourney for several months, just as they have done for a decade. The tourney has grown from less than 200 archers to over 500 during the increase in popularity of target archery. Both smile at being able to keep up with the sport by planning, preparing and executing. “We love it when things come together.”
Bob Pian and Janice Price have helped to manage the Arizona Cup for over a dozen years. They share their experiences and memories.
WAA: How did your family become involved in target archery?
B and J: We were lucky to start with then FITA style now World Archery in 2001, with our daughter Lindsay, who has her own story. We became “involved” when Lindsay’s coach pointed us to the need for a sanctioned tournament qualifying score for world team eligibility. Mike and Vivian Koistinen, the owners of the major local target archery shop, were the “couple” that ran the Arizona Cup at the time. Mike suggested that I (Bob) become an association member, read the rule books and sign up to become a judge. After signing up and passing the USA judge candidate test, I became a judge. Bob would officiate the tourney, while Janice would organize and execute registration, scorecards and results including internet posting. Not much has changed.
WAA: What gave B and J an idea of helping?
B and J: We are both commercial/institutional architects. Organizing, planning and executing projects is second nature to us. Architecture leads in technology, so it was natural for us to use contemporary technologies. We also saw that what the archers do is a serious effort, and event should be equal in quality, a 10.
WAA: When did you get involved with the Arizona Cup?
B and J: Having a world level tourney in our community was something to take advantage of. So in 2002/2003, with our friendship with the Koistinens, we began to help with technology and good old fashion muscle. As time went on, we shared more and more of the logistics and organization. We quickly learned that it takes an army of dedicated volunteers to do a job worth of the archers dedication.
WAA: Arizona Cup is a “big deal”, how did you find your way to leading the Cup?
B and J: With the encouragement of others, Bob worked his way up the judge ladder through National judge to Continental judging seminar (Toronto). Janice took care of tourney logistics. The eye opening experience came in 2004 when six youth archers from our state of Arizona competed on the Junior World Team Championship in Lilleshall, England. The family, Lindsay as the USA world team member, and Bob and Janice as “parents” experienced the event and saw firsthand what a world class event looks and feels like. Things like world ranking, international trained judges, electronic scoring, equipment, sponsorship, and teams from around the world.
Leadership wise, AZ Cup tourney directors tend to lead for a half a dozen years. We enjoyed helping the Koistinens serve the archers, so it was natural to continue to help when Mike and Vivian stepped back. Here is a listing of the Arizona Cup tourney directors over time:
· 1989 Arizona State University, Tempe, Sheri Rhodes and Rick McKinney
· 1997 Tucson, Terry and Diana LaBeau
· 2001 Phoenix, Mike and Vivian Koistinen
· 2004/05 Phoenix Bob Pian and Janice Price
· 2014/15 Phoenix, Mike Cullumber
Most of the AZ Cup tournament director “teams” can be found at the AZ Cup every year as they come back for a few days of fun in the sun.
WAA: What is special about AZ Cup?
When Sergio Font came to AZ Cup as technical delegate, he announced, “I have been to very many world ranking tournaments, this is the first time that I have been to a competition where there is no grass.” Our gravel is special, we never have to mow and arrows simply skid along the ground, very easy to find. What has always been interesting is that we are traditionally the first major tourney to apply new rules that come into effect in April. As a result, we were the first to use the set system and compound bow at 50 meters officially. We have been through several team and individual elimination round formats. There are often some anxious times as we try new things. They remind us to review the bylaws often for good reason.
The archers are special. We have cadets now. They are the future of target archery. We enjoy giving the cadets a taste of what international competition looks like, which we hope will help them compete as they move up the ladder.
A big step was becoming World Archery Americas World Ranking in 2007. We have world class officials and technical direction. Because of world ranking and the popularity of archery in general, the tourney has grown from an average of 200 archers to over 500 from over 20 countries. Our favorite archers are the ones that grew up with us like Brady Ellison and the ones that have come back year after year like Ed Eliason. On this very field Brady came up to us and asked “What does it take to go to the Olympics”. Brady is now an Olympic medalist and has won the Arizona Cup championship six times.
WAA: Tell us more about the volunteers
B and J: It’s all about the volunteers here in Arizona! The Koistinens established a legacy of USA Archery “Junior Olympic Archery Development” or JOAD parent involvement. During the 2000s we had moms and dads of club archers to USA Archery world championship and Olympians “volunteering” at AZ Cup to help give back to the sport that has provided so much to our families. Many parents continue to work the Cup today and look forward to visiting with new and old friends each year. We are constantly sharing the idea of giving to the sport that has given or has given so much to our families. Archers make friends for life on the shooting line. The same can be said for the family and friends “behind the line”.
WAA: Has architecture been helpful in addition to the use of technology?
B and J: As architects, we can’t help but plan with input from the community. Improvement design drawings helped to attract the funding. Eventually the field was expanded from 48 to 74 targets. Canopies, electricity and water were added. This year we have an office facility. We count on a wide variety of support including USA Archery, The Easton Foundation, and The Arizona Game and Fish Department. The key contributor is our state association membership of USA Archery Arizona.
WAA: An what about the archers themselves?
B and J: They are why we all do what we do! Going back to Lilleshall, we learned that hosting a tourney is like inviting friends to come, visit and enjoy. We are always thinking, how this or that will help the archers do their best. The focus of all of the AZ Cup leadership is on servicing the archers and the sport.
WAA: How else are you both involved with archery?
B and J: It’s been interesting to see how involved we have become. Thanks to enjoying the people of WA, Bob is an International Judge and has officiated world team trials, national championships, world championships, world cups and the 2012 Paralympics in London. We both have been certified as World Archery International Event Organizers. Janice is a IANSEO electronic scoring trained technician and volunteered for the Youth World Championships in Ogden, Utah, and has worked the Vegas Shoot. What has been nice is bringing the lessons we have learned to our local community. Locally we managed the state JOAD program for several years and continue to host tourneys and information JOAD club website locally.
WAA: What does the future hold for B and J?
B and J: Daughter Lindsay, USA youth, indoor, world championship, Pan am games team member and medalist, is now married. Lindsay and husband Mike are expecting our first grandchild! We are looking forward to being grandparents. The AZ Cup is now led by Mike Cullumber so we have an opportunity to step back. We continue to have architectural careers, Bob as a partner of SPS+ Architects and Janice as a consulting architect. We consulted for the Easton Foundation and Archery Trade Association to advise architects nationally on archery facility design around the country.
We feel good about where AZ Cup has been, what it is today and the limitless future.
WAA: Thank you,
B and J: Thank you World Archery Americas for the years of support of AZ Cup.
WAA: The most difficult challenge for the AZ Cup to meet in 2016 will be running the tournament without Janice Price. Mike Cullumber, current tournament director, confesses that “Janice Price is the oil in our well-oiled machine. Janice is leaving us on our own next year. I hope I have listened to everything she has told me.”
Bob will continue his judging career. He has been named technical delegate for the Parapan American Games in Toronto next August, and will chair the judges’ commission at the Medellin World Cup this year again. In addition, he has been appointed to officiate at the test event for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in September 2015.