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Columnists : Frank Addington : Straight Talk - Interviews
Last Updated: Feb 22nd, 2007 - 18:37:03

Bill Wiesner
By Frank Addington Jr.
Jul 17, 2006, 08:02

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FA: Where in the world did you get a nickname like "Bearcrazy"?

You know Frank, I'll bet not a handful of people I know realize what my real name is, even beyond that is they call my wife "Mrs. Bearcrazy". I like that!

As far as the name goes, I used to live in Michigan's Upper Peninsula where I worked at a shipyard. I made friends with an elderly gentleman by the name of Jacob Hill. He was of Finish decent and lived by conservative means. He could not understand why I hunted bear on his land with a bow when I could shoot them with a rifle. Hence the name "Bearcrazy".

Bill with Canadian Bruin


FA: How long have you been in archery? How did you get started?
 
I guess it's been over 30 years. It started out as a hobby and turned into a passion. I've  done it all; staff shooter, seminars, video production, bow design, working with kids, field  rep., book author, outdoor writer, the list goes on.

    
FA: You are well known as a bow designer. How many different brand bows have you designed or help design?

I love the challenge of creating something new. Before I go any further, let me shed some light on what I do as far as bow design is concerned. Being in archery as long as I have, my train of thought certainly is not main stream. Todays' bowhunter needs a bow that is proficient and simple to shoot. Because of todays' speed crazy industry, we need to take a close look at what level our skill is at as an individual. It is much more pleasant to hit what we aim, versus how fast our arrow gets to the target. I have had input on a number of bow designs from different companies. My greatest accomplishment was in 2001 when my bow design won THE BEST OF THE BEST AWARD from Field and Stream magazine.

FA: You also have a book and video out. What are they and where can people find them?

Every time I write an article and the whole time I was writing my book, I think back to my high school days and my English teacher, Mrs. Glasrud. Writing was always a struggle for me. Simple fact of the matter is, is you write or talk about something you truly believe in, it is much easier.

I published a book entitled "TRADITIONAL ARCHERY THE AGGRESSIVE APPROACH". Strange thing, I design compounds and shoot sticks. I have been labeled a hypocrite because of this. It doesn't bother me. Fred Bear and others have done it. Don't call Fred Bear a hypocrite. That would trigger a response from me.

I have done five videos with my family. A couple have won awards. That's neat! I am still producing videos. Interested? Contact me at bearcrazy@itol.com

FA: You are well known for your seminars. Tell us about your seminar work.

Talking with people who share your passion - it don't get any better than that! I remember one of the first seminars I ever did. I believe it was in Springfield, Illinois. When I finished, an elderly gentleman asked me for my autograph. It was my first. My son who was very young at the time tugged on the gentleman's pants leg and asked him why he would ask my dad for his autograph.

Since that humbling experience, I've done hundreds of seminars on bows and bear hunting. Again, if you believe in what you are doing, it is fairly simple. Because of my experience in bow design and my passion for bear hunting, I feel my seminars reach a lot of people with advice to help them.

FA: Are you still designing archery equipment? When will your next project be on the market?

I am constantly thinking of a way to create the ultimate bow. As quick as I finish a bow, I am on to the next design. There are many great design people in the archery industry. I do not feel it is a competition, rather a means of creating the latest and the greatest.

I am presently working with Jim Glass and his family on a new bow company called EVOLUTION ARCHERY TECHNOLOGIES (EVOTEK).  We will have a new bow line out this summer. Jim and his family are wonderful people. They believe in archery as I do and we are working towards the same goal. Watch for EVOTEK soon.

FA: Who are your archery heroes?

Frank, right out the gate, you rank right up there with my heroes. Your genuine concern for the future of archery and tireless efforts to promote the positive effects through your shooting exhibitions, certainly makes you one of my heroes.

With that said, my hats off to people like Fred Bear, Stacey Groscup, Byron Ferguson, Ray Howell, Norb Mullaney, Phil Phillips, Aubrey Gale and so many others.

What about people whose name isn't in the lime light, but, continues behind the scenes to ensure the future of our fine sport -  Dan Hendricks from UFFDA and his work with the handicapped, Mike and Cathy Barnowsky, Bill Bourke, Fred and Darlene Christian,  Jeff Brunn and my family, who without them, I would have nothing. The list goes on. It started years ago with Fred Bear. My heroes, friends and family continue to carry this torch. In all my years of archery, no one has influenced or brought more people to the sport than Ted Nugent. He not only is my hero, but should be every archer's hero.

Bill Wiesner's Eastern Turkey 26#'s, 11" Beard, 1 1/16" spurs


FA: I know you are passionate about archery. As a matter of fact, isn't your entire family involved in archery?

Let me tell you. Living your dream and having the support of your family, how much better does it get? My wife, Sandy, sons, Brad and Bryan, daughter-in-law, Nicole, and now our grand daughter, Tia Rose who just turned 1, are all into archery. Nicole's first buck with a bow scored 145, a nice 10 point. I am in the process of building Tia Rose a small longbow. They are never too young to start. My oldest son, Brad, has taken world class animals while Bryan, is an accomplished 3-D shooter and hunter. Sandy is as knowledgeable about bows as any person I know. She is the backbone of the whole Wiesner family operation. Her hunting ability is well known in the industry.

I just stand back and look at what is taking place with my family and thank God everyday for being blessed with such an awesome family.

Bill Sr. with his 'limbhanger' turkey - 1 7/8" spurs, 20#'s, 11" beard. . Joining Bill's dad in the picture are his son, grandsons and great grand-daughter - 4 generations. This all happened because of support from our sponsors. Special thanks to Nick from Vortex Optics and Joe from Schrade knives.


FA: What can we do to get more young people excited about archery?

If everyone that says they are doing something with the youth actually were, you would not have to ask this question. A real simple solution would be if every person would recruit a new archer outside their own family. Think about that! Our ranks would double overnight. I'm 55 years old and our society has changed where everything is run by electronics. Cell phones, computers………just a faster paced life. We need to sit back, take a deep breath and go on about our business. The potential is there. Everyone needs to do their thing.

I work with Ray Howell and have seen his impact on our youth. I did a one day Kicking Bear event in western Wisconsin at a high school. 3,000 kids, parents, grandparents attended. Now, that's impressive! Bring a youth to a Kicking Bear event. Simply a good way to ensure the future of our fine sport.

FA: Any advice for newcomers to our sport?

As I mentioned earlier, we live in a fast paced society. When I was growing up, we always had things to do like youth centers and events to attend, sports - to name a few. Today I drive by McDonalds and other HANGOUT AREAS where kids are piled up. It breeds drugs, alcohol, and teenage sex. Whose fault is this? It is too easy for parents to throw a few bucks and the keys to their vehicle. It's a cop out. GET KIDS INVOLVED! TEACH THEM ARCHERY.

As a newcomer to the fine sport, avoid the crowds. Enjoy the NATURAL high only the outdoors can give you. Archery teaches discipline. It introduces newcomers to the total outdoor experience. I know of no better way for a youngster to become involved and build character that will suit him or her for their later years.

FA: Any last minute thoughts?

Archery is very special to my family and me. The opportunity to work with Jim and his family will give us the opportunity to grow archery the way it needs to be grown. That excites me.

I cannot wait to walk in the woods, bows in hand, with my grand daughter, Tia Rose. She is the center of my universe.

I want to be an ambassador to the sport of archery, to help anyone who needs direction, to spend the rest of my days giving opportunity to those who have not been as fortunate as myself living the ultimate experience only archery has to offer.
 

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