Last year I visited the Mathews factory in Sparta, Wisconsin. I was impressed with the people, the state of the art facility, and the size of the operation. I did an exhibition for the employees of the factory and had a good time. Most of the folks attended the show, even “the big guy”, Matt McPherson. We did a “mini show” and hit some targets for them. Then I took a tour of the factory where these great bows are made.
While there John Dudley put together a proto type SKY recurve for me, the same one I used in most of my exhibitions in 2004. I now have two proto types and one of the “official” Sky recurves. What great shooting bows! Last year I had the best year of my exhibition career using SKY bows.
Anyway, after lunch Brad Treu took me over to the SKY factory and there I met Kevin Stay, who runs the Sky, Genesis and Archery in Schools programs. It was awesome.
I was impressed with Kevin Stay and his passion for archery. Clearly the folks at Mathews are truly infatuated with this great sport of ours. I mentioned to Kevin that Earl Hoyt had been a family friend and that I admired Earl Hoyt very much. Then Kevin showed me Earl’s original tools & machines.
After Earl sold HOYT to Jim Easton he’d started a small recurve company called Sky Archery. After he passed away Ann Hoyt sold the factory to Mathews.
I was impressed to see that they are still using many of the tools and machines Earl had. They’ve also taken great care to continue making the high quality, great shooting bows both Earl and Matt McPherson are known for.
I remember having moist eyes as we looked at Earl’s tools. It seemed like yesterday that my father, Chuck Adams, Earl & I were standing at an archery show somewhere talking archery. Earl was a wise, soft spoken man and people in our industry had a huge amount of respect for him. He forgot more about archery than many of us will ever hope to know. Like EF Hutton, when he did speak, people knew to listen.
When it came to archery, Earl Hoyt knew it inside and out.
If a bow or any product met Earl’s stamp of approval you could bet the farm that it would shoot. I never shot any bow Earl designed that I didn’t like. Often times he & my father would disappear at trade shows and go booth to booth inspecting the new bows by each company and quietly either approving or disapproving of the design. I remember thinking how funny, they always seemed to agree on what was good and what needed improvement.
I also thought back to the time that Earl disappeared behind a curtain at a trade show. He came back with a tackle box and was working on something during all the commotion of a trade show. Only Earl would be tinkering on a new idea at such a busy place. With Earl I think it was always about making improvements and getting the technical side right.
As I stood at the Genesis factory looking at my late friend’s equipment, I also remembered a dinner my father & I had shared with Earl & Ann Hoyt, Jack & Dottie Lyons, and Olympic Gold Medal winner Jay Barrs at a SHOT Show in New Orleans. The restaurant was a small French place and was great! The conversation was great too.
I was a little embarrassed at my tears but knew Kevin & the folks at the factory would understand. I was proud that they had taken the time to travel to Missouri to the SKY Factory to make sure all the equipment was set up like Earl had intended it to be. They also went over his drawings & sketches, caerful to produce the same kind of high quality bows Earl was known for.
Frank with Matt McPHerson
I have an original SKY longbow that Earl made and signed for me many, many years ago. Matt McPherson gave me the very first Heritage Longbow to leave the factory and when I compare the two bows there are many similarities. Matt, also known for his design work, added a more user friendly grip on the new Heritage. I am sure Earl would smile at the results.
If you have not seen or shot one of the new Heritage longbows or recurves from Sky, visit your local dealer. You can also get more information on these great bows at the SKY Website, at: http://www.skyarchery.com/
Young Frank with Ann Hoyt
Ann Clark, Frank and Ann Hoyt
Ann Weber Hoyt continues to be passionate about archery.
She and her pal Ann Clark still attend many archery functions across the country and are active in the Archery Hall of Fame. “The Two Anns” as I call them are carrying on the tradition of giving back to the sport that’s been so good to so many of us.
Looking at the 2005 line of SKY bows and the fact that Ann Hoyt and Ann Clark are still active in the sport I know Earl would be pleased. Although he might not say much those twinkling eyes and sly smile would tell you that he is proud of the fact that his legacy lives on.
There’s some vintage photos of Earl, Ann and Ann Clark on my website at www.frankaddingtonjr.com. Earl Hoyt was a gentle giant that’s missed very much.
That’s the latest, until next time, Adios & God Bless.
Shoot Straight, Frank Addington, Jr.
Frank Addington Jr. Instinctive Archery Exibitions