marks my 21st year on the road doing instinctive archery exhibitions. It also
marks my 35th year in archery and I often joke that I’m one of the youngest old
timers in the sport!
Frank, all grown up and shooting great
Anyway, during winter
months we often find ourselves contemplating and reviewing days gone by. Just
the other day I was thinking about some of those “days gone by.” The good ole
Little Frank Jr riding the range during the ‘Good Old Days’
I can remember going to
the big trade shows like the SHOT show in the old days and being able to spend
an entire afternoon camped out in the BEAR archery booth beside Fred Bear. I
was only about 12 when we attended a show the first time I met Fred and I didn’t
leave the Bear booth the entire weekend that the show was
I can remember several
shows like that. I’d listen to Fred talk to other dealers, hear his stories and
enjoy the times when his huge shoulders would rock with laughter. It was always
fun to hang out around Papa Bear. I’m just glad Dick Lattimer and the other
brass at Bear didn’t run me off!
remember one year we attended a private Bear cocktail party in Atlanta. My folks walked
around the festivities but I stayed close to Fred all evening. It’s funny now
to think about a 12 year old kid hanging out at a reception in the shadow of
Papa Bear but it happened! I even have a snapshot I took that evening of Dick
and Fred walking to the elevator after the party.
A young Frank with everyones favorite archer, Papa Bear
I also remember Earl
& Ann Hoyt at the big shows. My father always had tremendous respect for
Earl Hoyt. He & Earl would often walk the show isles going booth to booth
and looking at new bow designs and discussing the pluses and minuses of the new
stuff. I have photos from those days too.
A young Frank with Earl Hoyt
& Ann were great friends and were also legends in the sport. For the
record, Earl was a gentle giant and preferred the backstage area while someone
else had the spotlight. He’d often have a tool box at the trade shows and would
be back behind the curtains of the Hoyt or Sky booth tinkering on something
rather than signing autographs. I remember having dinner in New Orleans once with my
father, Jack & Dottie Lyons, Jay Barrs, and the Hoyts. It was a great meal
and good company.
Ann Clark, Frank and Ann Hoyt Hall of Fame Ladies
Another person I always
enjoyed seeing at the shows was Tom Jennings. Tom is another giant of the sport
and in the 1970’s and early 1980’s his bow line dominated the sport. Jennings was a great bow
designer and a fun fella to talk to.
remember one time Tom was at my folks place here in West Virginia and he
& Rev. Stacy Groscup had a big time visiting with each other. Tom is a
great man and did so much for our sport.
The late Rev Stacy Groscup
The late Rev. Stacy
Groscup had a huge impact on me. Most of you know that he got me started in
exhibition shooting. He remains a hero to me and was the real deal. You can
read more about Stacy and see photos of some of these other legends on my
If you missed some of
these archery legends don’t worry! We have a new crop coming along and they are
going to follow in the legend’s foot steps and perhaps even go one step
Matt McPherson with Frank
Matt McPherson of Mathews
Archery is one name that comes to mind. Like Earl Hoyt he is a gentle giant. I
once nick named him the “Bill Gates of Archery”. Matt is quiet, soft spoken but
don’t let that fool you. Behind that soft spoken man is a very creative and
very persistent drive. Matt’s impact on our sport is already huge and he is a
young man! I like Matt a lot and always enjoy talking with him.
The Addingtons with Uncle Ted
I also enjoy Uncle Ted
Nugent! Like Fred Bear he gets a lot of main stream media exposure for our
sport! Recently Ted did some media interviews in New York City on programs like CNN, MSNBC, and
the like. That was one week. That does not count his concert appearances, his
award winning, #1 rated tv shows, or the other media and appearances he does in
a year’s time.
people find out Nuge is a friend they often ask me what he’s “really like.” I
reply that he has two speeds, there’s Ted asleep and there’s Ted awake. If he
is awake he is going full blast ahead at whatever he is doing.
Trick shot artist Byron
Ferguson is the modern day Howard Hill and he has a huge fan base around the
world. His show with a long bow is fascinating and one you need to see for
yourself. He also does a lot of TV and promotes archery across the country and
abroad. Byron is a southern gentleman and already a giant in the
My friend Tony Dukes is
probably the “best connected” member of our sport. For years he ran with the
rock and roll bands of the day, he is a well known bass guitarist. Now he
focuses on archery and helping our wounded soldiers. He does a lot of TV work
and spends a majority of his time promoting either archery or helping our brave
veterans. Dukes is a great fella.
more guys that are doing so much for our sport are Bowhunting.net’s Robert
Hoague and Rich Walton. These two pioneers have created the first
archery only website on the net. This site reaches a HUGE audience
(hunting and non hunting) on a daily basis. This site has done so much
for our sport and I know that Papa Bear would be proud. Well done
In addition to the names
I’ve mentioned we also have some youngsters that are coming along to help carry
the ball. Randy Oitiker, Michael Waddell, and my friend Mike Luper at Hoyt are
three young men to keep your eye on! I look for big things out of these guys as
they continue to promote our sport.
So if you missed meeting
Fred Bear, Earl Hoyt or one of our sport’s other legends don’t worry. There are
plenty of modern day legends to meet. I am glad my time in the sport over
lapped Fred Bear’s time here and Ted Nugent’s. From Fred I learned to promote
the sport and from Ted I learned to speak up and speak out when you feel
strongly on an issue.
I am anxious to see what
the future holds for our great sport! Enjoy your winter break and take the time
to read up and get ready for Spring’s turkey season and trout fishing.
Ernie Akins, Jim Strader, and Frank at Jim Strader Hunting & Fishing Expo in Louisville, Ky.
you get a chance visit a sports show or hunting & fishing show. Maybe, just
maybe you will run into some guy doing archery shows on stage that claims he can
hit baby aspirins from mid air from behind his back….
Next time, adios & God Bless.
Shoot Straight, Frank