LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Nearly 12,000 students are in Louisville this weekend, trying to hit the coveted bullseye in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) U.S. Eastern National Tournament. 

"This is the largest archery tournament that will be held this year, anywhere," said Tommy Floyd, president of NASP. "We are back in Louisville for in-person competition, both in bullseye archery, and 3D archery. We're looking at just under 12,000 students in bullseye, just under 6,000 students in 3D."

Floyd said the students qualified to be there by succeeding in their state tournaments, adding that 31 states are represented in Louisville this week.

And they're glad to be in the Kentucky Exposition Center in the Derby state.

"Louisville has always been a historical location for us on the second weekend in May," he said. "It's after the Derby. It's what our schools look forward to all year. This is a culminating event for what these kids have all done all year.

"All the hotels and restaurants do a great job of getting our families — who usually spend at least one or two nights here — to feel welcome in Louisville. It is a tradition that we are happy to be back enjoying."

Reece Schneider is one competitor who rode up to Louisville from Alabama on Thursday. 

"I guess you could say it's pretty fun to do," he said. "I mean, it is. It does take a lot of concentration and focus."

Floyd said there's nothing like being in Louisville, in person.

"We were able to have over 15,000 kids shoot virtually in what we called the Virtual National Tournament," he said. "It's just not the same. Coming back — families coming in the door every hour, going out, going to eat, seeing things here in Louisville, going downtown, experiencing what Louisville has to offer — it's a big deal for us."

Students who advance this weekend will return to Louisville in June to compete in the championship tournament.

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