Dave Staples with the tools of his trade in the sport he loves.
FA: You are President of Images Group. What exactly does Images Group do?
Images Group is a public relations and marketing communications agency founded by my partner and wife-Cathy-and myself. We are headquartered in Easton, Pennsylvania. We specialize in representing clients in the outdoor industry and have for more than 25 years. In pursuing image acquisition on behalf of our clients, we offer a full range of PR services that include media relations, event negotiation/management and product placement in both film and TV.
FA: Describe your typical work day.
I generally begin my day in my home office, following up on critical telephone calls and e-mails with clients and media contacts. I also find that the best time and place to catch up on paperwork. I then leave for Images Group's business office where a typical day has me working with our staff to explore potential opportunities on behalf of our clients, tracking the progress of all ongoing projects and preparing promotional materials on new products. In representing our clients, I am out of the office traveling between 60 and 100 days a year-this includes the many trade shows, writers' conferences and sponsored events we attend to promote our clients and their products.
FA: . Where did you grow up?
Belvidere, Foul Rift and Phillipsburg, New Jersey.
FA: When's the first time you had a bow in your hand?
My first shooting experience was in 1951, in Foul Rift, NJ. My uncle was practicing, and I became mesmerized by his arrows in flight. He offered to let me shoot, giving me a few pointers. I remember the thrill of hitting the target the first time.
Hunting Javalina in Arizona 1977.
FA: I understand a family member owned a retail archery shop. Where was this shop and what was your role there?
My uncle, Paul Merwarth, owned a small archery shop in Phillipsburg, NJ. I started sweeping floors while learning the ins and outs of building arrows, sharpening broadheads and tuning bows.
FA: So you started out working for an archery pro shop? Did you ever have the chance to do more than just work at one?
Yes, I owned and operated Spectre Archery Enterprises from 1960 through 1982. Spectre was a complete archery pro shop with automatic indoor lanes. In addition to the pro shop services and equipment, we also sold hunting apparel, boots and cutlery. As part of our shooting programs, we offered private coaching, group lessons, bowhunter education classes, the NAA's Junior Olympic Archery Development program (JOAD) for kids, a challenged archers' program, intercollegiate program, bowhunting and target shooting leagues and tournaments. Spectre Archery also manufactured and sold the Spectre Automatic Target unit developed by Ron Imhoff. We installed units in six indoor shooting facilities throughout the Northeast.
Discussing rules at Cobo Hall with Les Brown
FA: I know you have had the opportunity of meeting a lot of the pioneers in the sport but I have one in particular to ask about. When, where and how did you first meet Ann Weber (Ann Hoyt)?
My uncle and I often traveled to Robin Hood Archery in Montclair, NJ to pick up supplies for his shop. On one of our trips, when I was about age 15, he introduced me to then Ann Weber, the general manager of this catalog, retail and wholesale archery distributor.
This years Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony with Ann Hoyt.
FA: And how about Ann's very famous husband, Earl Hoyt?
I first met Earl at the 1965 NSGA Show. I was a sales rep for Darton Archery at the time.
FA: So you worked in and then owned your own archery pro shop but didn't you also shoot competitive archery?
The perception about my involvement in target archery is a myth. In fact, I covered these events as a writer. I did shoot quite a bit of field archery in the early years, but actually shot very little target or professional archery. Part of the myth has come from my coaching target archers and my administrative involvement while serving as the tournament director of the Professional Archers Association (PAA) for many years. I came to the sport as a bowhunter and that is my first love.
Bowfishing for shark off Montauk Point 1979.
FA: You seem to have a knack for getting involved, how was it that you joined in with the Professional Archers Association (PAA), what was it and your role?
Through my acquaintance with Skip Palmer, then president of the PAA, and Ron Imhoff, a member of the Board of Directors, I was encouraged to join the association and assumed the role of promotional director in 1964 at age 25. Karl Palmatier also became a mentor and life-long friend. I became a board member and was elected president in 1969, serving 5 years. I became PAA School director after my term as president and served in that capacity for 3 years.
The PAA was the first professional archers' group organized within the sport. It was incorporated as a not-for-profit in April of 1962 in Michigan. Instrumental in its organization were Jack Witt, Karl Palmatier, Bob Rhode and George Gardner. The first tournament was actually held in 1961 in Cincinnati, participants included Rhode, Gardner, Ann and Jack Clark and Margaret Tillberry among others.
Unfortunately, the PAA no longer exists, it was disbanded in 1985.
With Karl Palmatier, Skip Palmer & Bob Rhode
FA: You were also involved with the American Archery Council? What was this organization and what was its goal?
The American Archery Council was a promotional arm of the Archery Manufacturers Organization (AMO). It was comprised of the national archery organizations and representatives of the leading archery companies and interacted with the public in its representation of the sport. I was involved as a member of the board of directors for many years and served a term as vice president.
FA: Here's another one on meeting the big dogs and one of our most famous. When did you first meet Fred Bear?
In 1967 in Grayling, Michigan.
FA: Fred was a genial man who loved to tell stories. Do you have a funny anecdote about Fred?
This one indirectly involves Fred…
While I was visiting the Fred Bear Museum and approached the front doors, I met a very pleasant woman who was polishing the glass. Her smile was warm and friendly and she engaged me in conversation, asking me many questions about the PAA, the Archery Hall of Fame and what I thought of the Museum in general. I was very much surprised that a museum staff member would take the time to ask such penetrating questions and have such an extensive knowledge of all facets of the sport. Only later that evening-when Fred introduced me to his wife-did I discover that Henrietta Bear had interviewed me about all things archery.
Listening to Papa Bear in a 1980's interview
FA: Who are some of the other people who have influenced or inspired you over the years?
Diane Miller, A friend since my PAA days, now Executive Director of the Archery Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. - I'm inspired by Diane's 100%, full-on enthusiasm when she immerses herself in a project.
Dick Lattimer Dick's professionalism and honesty has influenced me throughout my career. His willingness to share his wisdom has been a tremendous asset in our work for the AHF.
Sherwood Schoch I truly value Sherwood's friendship, counsel, and support. He has so many facets and talents. I have known and worked with him through my writing, in archery retailing and in the AHF administration.
Rube Powell Rube was unselfish with friendship and knowledge for a newcomer to the sport.
Myrtle Miller Myrtle's founding of TWAC and her selfless, untiring efforts in teaching the teachers and bringing archery into the schools and colleges inspired everyone privileged to know her.
Pete Shepley For his unwavering support for things related to history, memorabilia and elements not visible to many on behalf of the Archery Hall of Fame.
Jim Jordan For his belief in every element of things I have undertaken during my career. I met Jim during his days as an archery retailer in Texas. His responses to many difficult questions have been most helpful at every turn.
The wonderful Al Henderson, Karl Palmatier and Diane Miller of the AHF.
Barbara Mellman Skinner Barbara had a tremendous influence on my PR career. I truly appreciate the trust and belief she had in a young writer.
Maryanne Schumm The most organized person I know, an intercollegiate coaching legend and the keeper of the TWAC flame.
Howard Hill Larger than life on the "big screen", he conveyed the true romance of the bow and arrow.
Others include my uncle-Paul Merwarth, Skip Palmer, Ron Imhoff, Karl Palmatier, Len Cardinale, M. R. James, John and Sherry DiMura of Arrowhead Archery, Bill Jackson of Robin Hood Archery, Bob Swinehart, Jim Dougherty, Ann Clark, and most especially, Ann Weber Hoyt.
Len Cardinale, Dave & 'Little' John Di Mura
FA. I know of your involvement in another wonderful enterprise, the Archery Hall of Fame. How did it get started, who started it, and give me a snapshot of its early years.
In 1971, after many "what if" discussions with many PAA members and in particular-with Diane Miller-then PAA promotional director, Joe Rusinek and I proposed that the sport establish a Hall of Fame under the American Archery Council (AAC) banner. The archery community received the idea with great enthusiasm.
The original board of directors consisted of the presidents of the four major national archery organizations at that time: Joe Rusinek, president of the Archery Lane Operators Association (ALOA); George Helwig, president of the National Archery Association (NAA); Pat Wingfield, president of the National Field Archery Association (NFAA); and Dave Staples, president of the PAA.
The concept was supported by people like Fred Bear, Jim Dougherty, Jim Easton, Earl Hoyt and Chuck Saunders. The first three inductions were held in 1972. '73 and '74 in Grayling, Michigan during the PAA Championships. Fred offered to house the Hall in his Museum. He was, as always, a visionary and the Hall's first benefactor. Jim Dougherty played a major role as president of the AAC.
Another significant milestone for the AHF occurred in 1976. Bob Kelly of Bear Archery and then the president of AMO, along with the AMO board of directors, made it possible for the Archery Hall of Fame to become an independent entity.
Currently the Archery Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. operates as a 501(c)(3) corporation with Diane S. Miller serving as Executive Director.
There are so many people who have played key roles in getting the AHF to where it is now…
Dick Lattimer has been extremely supportive over the years, especially with his counsel during his tenure at AMO and working toward the merger of the National Archery Museum into The Archery Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc.
Babe Bitzenberger made a bequest in Henry's and her name that helped support our office operations.
But the biggest champions of our cause have been Earl and Ann Weber Hoyt. Their significant gift assured the AHF of carrying out its mission in a permanent home.
FA: So you just didn't 'get involved', you were actually on the ground floor of the Hall of Fames creation. Why did you feel it was necessary to undertake such a task?
With AC Johnson
My belief is that every sport must have a Hall of Fame as a permanent home to honor those whose careers contributed to the promulgation of the sport and to keep alive and accessible the history of the sport and industry.
FA: From beginning to now Dave Staples played a huge part in the Archery Hall of Fame. What is your role now?
I currently serve as president.
One of those behind the formation of the Archery Hall of Fame Dave opens an induction ceremony in 1978.
FA: There are so many deserving individuals. How many people are in the Archery Hall of Fame?
At the present time, 56. There are 11 women and 45 men. We held our last induction on September 22, 2006 in Springfield, MO.
2006 Inductees into the Archery Hall of Fame left to right: Dr. Charles “Bert” Grayson - 2005 Inductee, Martha Johnson representing father Rollin Bohning, 2004 Inductee, Len Cardinale - 2005 Inductee, and Ed Rohde
FA: For all our future possible inductees, how does one get elected into this prestigious Hall?
After 35 years of operation, the board has just approved new criteria for the submission and consideration for induction. That criteria will be released during the fourth quarter of 2006 and apply to 2007 moving forward.
The Archery Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. Diane S. Miller, Executive Director 58 North Main Street Union City, PA 16438
FA: Is there a place where people can go to see memorabilia on display of those who are in the Hall of Fame?
Yes, the Archery Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. is part of the Wonders of Wildlife complex in Springfield, Missouri. We currently have a preview display open to the public adjacent to the Fred Bear Museum. This is in anticipation of our move into a new addition for the WOW facility, with dedicated space for the AHF.
Dr. C.N. Hickman presents a Geronimo's bows and arrows to Dave.
FA: What about the late, great Al Henderson? He had a big impact on me as a kid through his writing and I got to meet Al one time. I give him credit for helping me early on, learn that archery was a mental game once you developed the basic skills. Didn't you author a book with Al?
Al Henderson was one of my dearest friends in archery, and very much like a second father to me. We didn't just share archery together, we shared life and, yes, I did have the privilege of co-writing Peak Performance Archery with Al. Al came to Easton, PA and we wrote the book at Images Group.
Out of the office Dave nails a nice sized gator.
FA: What can you tell us about The World Archery Center?
The World Archery Center (TWAC) was founded by Ed and Myrtle Miller in Roxbury, Vermont in 1937. It moved from Vermont to the Poconos in Pennsylvania and then to Pomfret, CT where it remained until it closed in 1992. The basic objectives of TWAC were: to train teachers to teach the skill of archery effectively; to present archery to youth as a lifetime sport; and to develop individual shooting skills for all. During its tenure, an estimated 12 million students learned about archery as a result of TWAC trained teachers, coaches and archers.
Dr. Maryanne Schumm encouraged me to become involved. Hall of Famers Mimi Miller and Laura Wilson became dear friends through this involvment. I lectured on advanced coaching philosophy during my tenure with TWAC.
FA: The name "Dave Staples" seemed to be in just about every magazine you picked up in the 1970's and 1980's. Give us a snapshot of your writing for magazines.... what types of stories did you cover and who did you write for?
Bill Stump, the then editor of Bowhunting magazine named me associate editor shortly after I left school. Over the years, I had the privilege of writing for Roy Hoff's Archery Magazine, Bowhunter, American Hunter and Archery World. I also wrote for AquaField Bowhunting Annuals and Pro Archer. From 1976 through 1988, I was on the editorial staff of American Firearms Industry. Throughout my writing career, I covered cutlery, apparel, footwear and, of course, bowhunting and the archery industry.
With Glenn St. Charles at a Pope & Young meeting
FA: I know you are pretty accomplished at the written word, but being an outdoor writer was never your main occupation. Out of all those you worked with, would you care to name a few editors who you feel really helped you.
In my years as an active writer, the two best editors I ever worked with were M. R. James at Bowhunter and Bob Lesmeister at AFI. Those two could make any writer look good.
Buckskins and bows, Dave with MR James, Founder of Bowhunter Magazine.
FA: Do you still bowhunt Dave? Target shoot? Recurve, longbow or compound?
Unfortunately, our business (Images Group) and volunteer work for the AHF has curtailed both my wife Cathy's and my hunting time. We get to shoot occasionally and all of the above are among our collection of equipment.
FA: . After all these years you must have some favorite pieces of archery equipment. Do you have a favorite bow(s)?
Yes, three-a 25-year old PSE compound that I am very fond of, a Hoyt recurve I love and a Ben Pearson longbow I treasure.
FA: I think it's safe to say that across the board our hunting population is aging and not being replaced as fast as it used to be. What can we, as a sport, do to promote and preserve this great sport and pass it on to the next generation?
Educate, educate, educate-and spell out the wonderful merits of the quest. We all need to make ourselves available to mentor those entering the sport. We need to encourage those who have that special appreciation of the sport and possess the dedication to work in its behalf to move it positively forward.
FA: If you could have a "dream hunt" and be anywhere with anyone (past or present) from the sport of archery, where would it be and who would share your campfire?
With Howard Hill in Africa. I have the video collection of Howard Hill's movie shorts, I still get lost in the adventure.
FA: Any big things coming up with the Archery Hall of Fame (AHF)? Does the Hall have a website?
The Archery Hall of Fame just completed its first induction at its permanent home in Springfield, Missouri. Right now for visitors we established a great preview of what's to come for the AHF. The permanent display space is in the final planning stages with construction scheduled to be completed in 2008. It is part of the Wonders of Wildlife and associated museums complex in Springfield, Missouri.
Diane Miller, our executive director, and Mike Eaton, AHF curator at WOW, have begun work on a Hall of Fame website and we expect it to launch it in spring '07.
FA: How can people get more information on the Archery Hall of Fame?
We have the web site in development. Until it launches, contact Diane Miller directly at the business office:
The Archery Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. Diane S. Miller, Executive Director 58 North Main Street Union City, PA 16438
FA: Your favorite quote?
Just one? I collect them…here are some of my favorites…
"They don't pay on effort, they pay on results."
"Never confuse movement with action." (Ernest Hemingway)
"Courage is grace under pressure." (Ernest Hemingway)
"Impatience in a warrior is not a good thing."
"Issues require action, not attitude."
"Excuses become reasons, reasons become philosophies."
FA: Give us a snapshot of your archery business career and your transition into PR.
From 1965 through 1982, I was involved in archery 24/7, 365 -- coaching, hunting, practicing, testing bows of all makes, models and types, and contemplating the next hunt. Archery was my business and my hobby. In 1976, in addition to our archery business, we started in public relations-landing our first three clients. By 1982, we evolved into a full time PR agency and sold Spectre Archery Enterprises. Since that time, other than the Hall of Fame, archery and bowhunting has taken somewhat of a back seat to our growing PR business.
FA: If you had to sum up your dedication to the sport of archery in one paragraph what would you say?
I would have to say the main reason I was drawn to archery, and have stayed involved, is the people I have met. In all phases of the sport, I have admired the passionate participants, educators and supporters. They so influenced me, that the focus of my involvement in archery became the establishment of the AHF, to honor the most deserving among them. It has been a long road for all those involved, but the following quote is another favorite that helped me along the way.
"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race".