Celebrity Interview - Ann Weber Hoyt By Frank Addington Jr.
Jan 25, 2007 - 10:46:00 AM
Ann with mother and father
FA: Ann, tell us a little about your childhood and family.
I was raised at 69 Fontaine Ave. in Bloomfield, New Jersey. We had a beautiful park down the street called Halcyon Park. It had a lake with a fountain in the middle. In the winter, they turned off the fountain and put a wooden box around it. I loved to ice skate on the frozen pond. In the summertime, we used to play marbles there too.
I attended Sacred Heart Church on the corner of Broad Street and Liberty Street in Bloomfield.
My parents were Anthony John Weber and Beatrice Sophia Clexton. They met down at the beach in Staten Island at the Cedar Grove Beach Club. My father was a sound engineer for the Thomas A. Edison Company. My mother was a retired executive secretary. She also taught aesthetic and interpretive dancing to children.
During my childhood, we spent our summers at Cedar Grove Beach Club. My grand parents also had a summer home at Cedar Grove. I remember swimming during the summer and diving off of the raft into the warm Atlantic Ocean. On the 4th of July we could see the fireworks on Staten Island. It was a wonderful place
I graduated second in my class from both high school and college. I went to high school at Bloomfield High School and I went to Montclair State Teachers College which became Montclair University to earn my degree in Science. I graduated as a magna cum laude science major. I was going to become a Science Teacher but I was into archery already from high school.
In addition to going to college, I worked part-time at Robin Hood Archery, was a cheerleader and played softball, basketball and hockey. I found time during my crazy schedule to win four individual intercollegiate archery titles for tiny Montclair that eventually went on to claim the national archery crown.
FA: Tell us about your first job at Robin Hood Archery.
My first archery job came through my continued acquaintance with Bill Jackson. It was only natural that I became involved helping out during free time while in college nearby. With the onset of the war in my senior year, I devoted all my free time helping with the war work on the lathe and simply continued on after graduation. Being only a four man operation at Robin Hood Archery Company at that time, I learned to do every job, made lemonwood bows from start to finish, footed arrows from raw wood to fletching and cresting, made Flemish bowstrings, painted target faces and packing and shipping. My responsibilities grew with the company.
After college I went to work to full time at Robin Hood Archery. "Went to work" is the correct term because I was never really hired. I often jokingly say "I was never hired, but I was fired several times." My job was waiting on customers, making up the catalog, target face painter, maker of strings and shipper.
In 1971, I resigned from Robin Hood Archery and married Earl Hoyt. The rest as they say is history!
FA: Early on in your career, you were married to Lloyd Corby. A lot of people remember you when you were shooting as "Ann Weber Corby." Tell us about your first marriage.
Ann with first husband Lloyd Corby
Lloyd and I met at an archery event. At that time, he was one of the best all-around archers in America. We started dating and were married in 1948 in Boonton, NJ until his demise in 1958. We were both quite compatible because of our love of archery.
We used to do gymnastics together too. He would sit on the ground with his knees up and I would do a hand stand off the top of his knees! He was a bit of a show-off. I remember a time when he went up to the roof of the high school. There was a 3 foot high wall around the perimeter of the roof. He would walk on his hands way up on that roof. Of course, if he fell, he would meet his maker! One time at a charity event in a Morristown, NJ theater, I placed a grapefruit on my head and walked to the other end of the stage and let Lloyd spear the fruit with an arrow - a la William Tell. That was a switch for me because it was usually me that did the shooting, But that time I acted as the target to prove that my heart and my "head" were in the game all the way.
FA: When was the first time you had a bow and arrow in your hand?
I was 16 years old and a junior at Bloomfield High School, N.J. during a Senior gym team practice, Miss Edith Russell, my gym teacher asked several of us if we would like to take archery, which was just being started at the school. Miss Russell was one of the great archery coaches of all times. A few sessions in the archery class and I was hooked. Miss Russell organized our team. This first group would be the nucleus around which a team would be built and they would be assistants in instructing. However, I would like to point out that "coaching" in those days did not have the technical "finesse" of today. Only the seven steps were taught and equipment was "primitive" compared to today's bows and metal arrows.
I learned my basic fundamentals under Miss Russell's vigilant supervision and was introduced to competitive archery while competing in scholastic matches. William H. Jackson (Robin Hood Archery Company) who had taught Miss Russell reviewed the team's progress and helped to polish our technique. After graduation from high school, I joined the Essex Archers and accompanied Bill and Dot Jackson too many tournaments while in College and thereafter.
With Miss Russell guiding us, the archery team won the State and the New York World's Fair Junior Championship. I was past the point of no return. Archery became the love of my lifetime. In 1939, the Eastern Championship was my first major win and then on to the NAA Nationals and a sixth place. That year I was rated 4th by the NAA.
Miss Russell was a stickler for perfection. When I shot with Miss Russell on the Essex Archers team and when she would move her point of aim, she would move it so little that it didn't affect anything so I would walk behind her and move the point of aim. She didn't know it of course. She would have killed me probably.
Point of aim is a round golf ball or fat disc on a peg that you put in the ground some where between where you stand and the target. When sighting over the tip of the arrow you actually hold the tip of the arrow on this point of aim before you let go. This regulates the height of the arrow in flight. Of course you adjust the point of aim(either forward or backward) to affect the arrows flight to the target moving the point closer to the target makes the arrow go higher and thus hit the gold or closer to you and the arrow will be lower. Of course now everyone uses a metal sight attached to the bow and you simply move the sight bar to adjust.
FA: When and where was your first archery competition?
The Essex High School Archery Club
After Miss Russell formed an archery team at our high school, we began to shoot against other schools. But I was into competition still then because Miss Russell was a member of the Essex Archers as I was.
I had only a year of practice before I went with my high school team to the New Jersey state archery championship. That same year I won the U.S. National Archery Championship and I shattered all existing records.
Young Ann displaying the form that would put her in the Archery Hall of Fame
I won my first Eastern U.S. Title in 1939. At the 60 yard distance, I sank six consecutive arrows in the gold. I did this with a lemonwood bow with horn tips and 5/16 footed wooden arrows with self nocks. Self nocks are when you saw a slit at the top of the arrow and place the bow string in the slit. Hardly equipment with which to set records!
I went on to become a National Archery Champion five times and World Champion twice.
Ann Hoyt - Champion of two styles of archery
FA: You have so many but what would you consider your greatest victory on the archery field?
I guess when I won the FITA World Championship.
I was a six time National Champion and National Field Barebow Champion. I was the only archer, male or female, to win both Target and Barebow titles. I was among the first group inducted to the Archery Hall of Fame in 1972 along with Fred Bear, Ben Pearson, Karl Palmatier and Russ Hoogerhyde. I was at the top of my game for 20 years. There has never been another archer on top for 20 years! In 20 years of competition in National and World Tournaments, I've finished in first place eight times, second place seven times and third place three times.
American Weekly Magazine 1957
Some of the other competitors at that time were; Jean Lee, Mrs. Elise Ruby, Mrs. Jean Richards, Artie Palkowski, Mrs. Olive Crouch, Carole Meinhart, Ann Clark, Margaret Tillberry, Nancy Vonderheide Kleinman, Victoria Cook, Doreen Wilbur and also Earl Hoyt's mother, Clara.
I won the Eastern Target Championship fifteen times. I was also a World Target and World Field Champion. In 1958 I led the U.S. Women's team to first place in the World Tournament in Brussels finishing second to Carole Meinhart. I repeated this feat again in 1959 at Stockholm where the U.S. Women's Team again finished first and I won the individual competition.
1959 World Champion
FA: Tell us about your late husband. When and where did you meet Earl Hoyt?
Because of my employment at Robin Hood Archery, I knew about Earl and the Hoyt Archery Company because we sold the Hoyt Bow at Robin Hood. We spoke on the phone many times. I was married to Lloyd Corby at the time. Hoyt was producing the best tournament bow and it was only natural that I would shoot the best. Earl often stood behind my chair on the shooting line to watch me shoot. He did this for many years. Lloyd was always nearby. After Lloyd's demise, several years went by. Earl and I would meet on the tournament field, also as an exhibitor at many trade shows. I don't recall the year we started dating, sometime in the late 60's. Earl's mom Clara had a hard time letting go of her "little boy". After many messages via fortune cookies, and phone calls, we decided we would marry and eventually celebrated 34 years of married bliss. Earl was the kindest, most generous man I have ever known. Together we made Archery History, he the designer and me the gal behind the bow. We made many records with his bow all over the world. Most top shooters of that era shot the Hoyt bow.
Ann and Earl are married 1971
Earl and I had a special song for each other. It was called "Somewhere My Love" and to this day every time I hear it I get misty eyed.
FA: Tell us about Hoyt Archery.
Earl and his Father started Hoyt Archery. His Father made arrows during the War and Earl was at the McDonnell Aircraft Company before Hoyt Archery. After Earl and I were married in 1971 I started working there too. I moved from Bloomfield, New Jersey to live in Bridgeton, Missouri with Earl after we were married. It was then that I started working with Earl at Hoyt Archery.
In 1931 Hoyt Archery Company formed as a partnership between Earl Hoyt Sr. and Earl Hoyt Jr. and the first ad ran in the Ye Sylvan Archer, Corvallis, OR. The ad was for arrows. The business was part-time.
With the war in progress in 1942, Earl Jr. spent little time with the business but Earl Sr. whose construction company (Hoyt Construction) was disrupted by the war was in a position to spend full-time in the archery business.
Earl Jr. resigned from his engineering job with McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in 1946 to go full- time with his own company.
Earl and I were a strong management team for the business and helped further the company's growth. Earl's dad died in 1959. His mother was an active partner until 1978.
Ann and Earl the perfect union of gentle souls
FA: Where was it located?
The Hoyt plant was located near the St. Louis Airport. The Senior Hoyts owned a home across from the firm's parking lot. Earl and I built onto their home with our private home. We lived there until Earl's demise in 2001. It was at that time the airport took over our property for a new landing strip and I moved to St. Charles, Missouri.
FA: After you sold Hoyt Archery to Easton, you started a company called Sky Archery. What role did you play at Sky?
We sold Hoyt Archery Company, now a giant in the industry, back in 1978, with a ten year consulting contract, later extended to 1991. At Hoyt's request we continued to build the traditional line (recurve) as late as 1993. To accomplish this arrangement Sky was formed in 1989 and expanded the line to include the traditional Trophy longbow, The deluxe deflex-reflex Rogue, a high performance longbow (a unique design we formulated in 1957); Eagle, a one piece recurve; Sky Hawk, a T/D hunting recurve; and now the world class Conquest tournament bow that currently holds the FITA World Record.
The happy couple spending time doing what they love.
We formed Sky Archery in April of 1989. We were located in Bridgeton, Missouri which is where Earl and I were living. We redesigned bows for the discriminating archer in the traditional style. The Hoyt reputation spread with traditional archery. Earl showed his expertise as the world's finest bowyer. Earl then designed a competitive bow for the conventional Olympic style archer. Once again, Earl became a leader with the Sky bow in Olympic and World competition.
As Earl's wife, I became his partner both on and off the field. We worked side by side in the factory producing fine quality bows. I worked in all phases of producing the new Sky bows. One could find me late at night in shipping mailing bows to fill all the orders.
We got the name for Sky Archery from the last syllable of the last name of two of our employees names, Ken Preslopsky and Albert Kopesky. So we took the "sky's" and named our business Sky Archery. Sky Archery was sold to McPherson. I continued to do limited business from my home in St. Charles, MO with Gladys Bauman and Albert Kospesky as associates. The last bow was sold in 2003 and all Archery Artifacts went to the new Archery Hall of Fame in Springfield, Missouri.
FA: In addition to your work with Earl at the archery company, didn't you also do a lot of volunteer work in the St. Louis area?
I used to drive a blue 4x4 with an "I Love Archery" bumper sticker on it, around the middle class area of St. Louis delivering "Meals on Wheels" to people who were "shut in" their homes. I remember an elderly 80 year old woman who had three daughters scattered across the county and had little contact with them. Her husband had died and she was very lonely. She looked forward to the free good meals I delivered to her each week courtesy of "Meals on Wheels". But more than the meals, she looked forward to talking to another human being.
Then there was a deaf woman who was always waiting by her door when I came three times a week. Conversation was impossible but just to be able to share the same space with a fellow member of the human race brought sunshine into her day as well as mine.
My next stop was to a blind man's house. I always cut his meat for him and we would chat while I was cutting. Again my day was made brighter.
An hour and half delivery would take me two and half hours or more, but the extra time it took me to visit with these shut-ins was just as important to me as the food I delivered to them.
I started volunteering for the Meals on Wheels by delivering meals to people in need all over the area in 1985 and also did volunteer work at Shriner's Hospital. At Shriner's I pasted the interpretations of the x-ray on to the patient's cards.
One of my primary concerns at that time was working and developing a program for the JOAD clubs. I won a Service Award for my participation in JOAD in 1993.
When I left my adopted State of Missouri with some regret, I left a legacy to the University of Missouri in the form of a Scholarship fund in the Hoyt name. The Hoyt Scholarship fund is an Endowed Scholarship at the University of Missouri-Columbia established by a trust agreement with the Conservation Federation of Missouri. I also support the Missouri Conservation and the Missouri Bowhunters along with countless contributions to outstanding charitable organizations in the State of Missouri.
No one can count the hours I have spent as a 20 year volunteer at the Shriner's Hospital or my dedicated service to Meals on Wheels. Both were number one priorities in my daily life when I lived in St. Louis, MO. I continue to serve with Ann Clark and Allan Martin at St. Margaret Hall in Cincinnati, OH.
FA: Earl forgot more about bow design that most could ever hope to know. What was it like living with this great man?
Wonderful! Earl was just so wonderful. We both had the same love and passion for each other that we had for Archery.
Ann, Earl, Ann Clark and Chuck Saunders celebrate birthdays.
We worked together side by side everyday during our marriage. Most days and evenings were spent at the factory. And if we weren't at the factory you could find us going on hunts, going to tournaments or just practicing out in the field. We had little social life outside of archery.
Earl and I traveled a lot. We went to Africa, Korea, all of Europe, Italy. We loved to collect animal sculptures from all around the world. We acquired quite a unique collection. We took many pictures. It's so much fun these days to go back and look at our travels together. As time passes, it's easy to forget how blessed I have been.
FA: After Earl passed away you sold Sky to Mathews/Genesis. I visited the factory and they moved Earl's equipment to Wisconsin. I got tears in my eyes when I saw this great man's equipment still being used to produce quality longbows and recurves. Are you happy to see his legacy and his designs still being used today?
Yes, of course. I admire Earl's accomplishments. He was a brilliant and gifted man. Matthews/Genesis agreed to keep the same quality product that Earl had produced.
Earl is the person I admire most in the archery world. Down through the years it has been my cherished privilege and pleasure to have known and married one of the greats associated with our sport.
Besides being the founder, owner and president of Hoyt Archery Company he was an engineer. He developed and held patents to many designs and systems, from dynamically balanced bow limbs to torque stabilizers and many more inventions that improved the quality and accuracy of bows. Earl designed the Pro Medalist line of bows which hold more records and have won more Olympic, world and national championships than any other bow. He had 19 different patents to his name. Nobody knew how to make bows like Earl did and he never received any royalties from others using his patents.
He was inducted into the National Archery Association's Hall of Fame and the National Bowhunters Hall of Fame for his life-long contribution to archery and bowhunting. He was a champion archer having won the NAA tournament three times in the Pro Division and many, many other titles.
FA: I know you have been active in the Diana's. You took the largest trophy of all from all the Diana hunts. Can you tell us about that?
The Diana's are a group of dynamic women bowhunters who gather annually to hunt and share their bow and arrow memories. It all started in 1986 in a meeting Ann Clark had with Bob Eastman in Las Vegas. They shook hands and Ann Clark was in charge of the invitees. She had to make sure they would all be either writers or personalities write about. There were 14 of us in all.
The Diane's on a hog hunt in Florida
The Diana's have hunted 13 states, Michigan more than once. We were accepted in every state and enjoyed many news, radio and media presentations from the Department of Resources to local archery clubs and schools where we gave demonstrations for local TV programs teaching and answering questions which led to publicity for Archery and women in the field.
On a 1996 Diana's Hunt Ann gets ready for the days hunt
Some of my best hunts were with the Diana's. We hunted all over the United States in Michigan, Ohio, Wyoming, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, New York, Nebraska, Alabama, Texas, Florida and Illinois. Game was harvested from 8 states. But the most outstanding hunt was when I harvested my Pope & Young antelope.
Ann's target accuracy put this P&Y antelpe on the ground.
I harvested a Pope & Young record book antelope on a hunt in Casper, Wyoming back in 1994. The official score was 71". We were heading back to camp and the buck crossed right in front of our car. I jumped out of the car. I still had my equipment with me because I had just been picked up and took a shot at the buck as it went down the hill so we didn't see its head until we were at the bottom of the hill. It was 70 yard shot, instinctive without sights.
I have it mounted in my room. I have another right next to it that was Earl's. Mine is the buck. Earl's was a female. Earl had his many many years before I got mine and I use to like to tease him and say how much bigger mine was.
FA: "The Two Ann's" are both well known and loved in the archery industry. Ann Clark and Ann Hoyt. How long have you been friends? Tell us about some of your greatest times spent together.
We have been friends for over 55 years. We met in archery. We were fierce competitors.
The beginnings of a life long friendship. Ann Clark and Ann Hoyt
Our first encounter was at the 1955 National Target Championship at Oxford, Ohio.
Ann C was a newcomer at this prestigious event and was very nervous and afraid of all the famous competitors and most of all me! There were 3 Ann's competing for the National Title, me, Ann Marston the young and beautiful, a comely lass from England and a teenager who later was to be a contestant in the Miss America Beauty Contest and won the Talent part of this event with her expertise in archery.
Then there was the unknown Ann Clark. Mother of three daughters and a housewife at age 28.
In a practice round, someone called out for ANN, the summons was for me, but Ann Clark responded and then apologized to me. My answer to her was "get used to it babe, there are lots of Ann's."
It took us four days of intense competition for Ann Clark to take the lead and win her first National Championship.
It was during this competition that new rules were established because of the Ann's. The Dress code and the time to shoot arrows.
Both of us shot in strapless halters. I shot in my bare feet. Both are no no's today.
We both took our time to shoot, playing the wind and circumstances. But it was Ann Clark that caused the controversy and the beginning of the timing system as we know it today.
Both of us were eager to win and under severe pressure, both of us tried to play the wind, each of us separately would draw the bow only to put it down to start the procedure over again. A stop watch was put on Ann Clark saying that she was taking too much time to shoot her arrows, nothing was said to me for doing the same thing. Ann Clark was accused of trying to upstage her competition. Hell, she had no idea what they were talking about.
Ann learned a valuable lesson in her first National Tournament, the only way to prove you are a good shooter is to shoot better scores. Continue at each tournament to do your very best until your scores become competitive with the reigning champions and be reckoned with as the person to beat.
I won't say the Ann's became bosom buddies after that first National but I will say that I was the first to congratulate Ann Clark. We both learned to respect each other. It was a bitter pill for me to swallow! I had lost the championship to an unknown. To this day we both remain fierce competitors.
Over the years we continued to meet at different events. Ann Clark as a National Archery coach, a National Judge, a speaker and representing major archery companies.
The Two Ann's getting ready for a hunt.
FA: How are you both doing these days?
We are both doing wonderful. We live together in a beautiful ranch house in the village of Glendale, in Cincinnati, Ohio. My two poodles, Red and Silver, also live with us.
We enjoy our friends in the boat club and the social dance club that we belong to. We enjoy dining out and having friends in. In addition, there are many family functions due to Ann's large family that I have become a loving adopted member.
Ann surrounded by love of her adopted family.
The past 20 some odd years of our lives we grew very close. We learned how much alike we are in many ways. Hunting brought us close and made us intimate friends. We traveled to shows after Earl passed away and are now life's companions in our lovely home. Sharing Ann's large family has given me a family of my own.
FA: I know how much you love your dogs Silver and Red. Tell us about the pets you have had.
I have had a very unusual assortment of pets in my lifetime. I have had a tarantula for which I had to catch a daily supply of crickets, a sunfish that was only happy if I gave it its daily quota of worm, which I had to dig up, a skunk, a snake, a turtle and numerous dogs.
I remember a poodle I had named Angelique. It was in the 1950's. She gave birth to six puppies. Lloyd and I had so much fun with those puppies. We would take their picture each week to compare their stages of growth. We would take them outside and play with them. We had such a good time with those puppies.
Silver and Red are the loves of my life these days. They are my constant and faithful companions. I care for them everyday and they give me lots of love. I even have to brush their teeth!! I don't know what I would do without them.
Ann with her beloved dogs
FA: I know one of your passions is the Archery Hall of Fame.
I feel that it is the ultimate honor to be inducted into the Archery Hall of Fame. I want to ensure that future generations will have a chance to learn of the great history of archery and the people who have made our sport what it is today.
I have seen much of the history in the making. From wood arrows to carbon, from wood bows to glass, from hand support for the arrow to modern launchers, from 150 feet per second to 300 feet per second and from recurves and straight bows to compounds. It has truly been a sport in transition. I anxiously await the next major innovation which will again change archery.
Ann's Induction into the Archery Hall of Fame, 1972
The Archery Hall of Fame would not have been possible without Dave Staples hard work and dedication. Dave and I go back many years. I remember when he used to come into Robin Hood Archery, where I worked at that time, with his Uncle. Dave was just a little kid then. Every time he came in to the store, he always had something broken for me to fix.
Ann unveils her plaque at the 2006 Archery Hall of Fame as President Dave Staples looks on.
This past summer Ann Clark and I went to the Archery Hall of Fame to induct Dr. Bert Grayson and see the Grand Opening of the Hall of Fame. Through the Hoyt's efforts and the undying faith of Dave Staples, the Archery Hall of Fame became a reality.
I think the Archery Hall of Fame makes our sport more accessible to help educate the general public. Our sport is growing more and more everyday. The AHOF showcases the leaders of archery. Not just talent but technology too. Anybody with even a spark of interest in archery will walk out of the AHOF and feel as though they are part of the sport too.
Archery affects the shooters in different ways. I can remember a lady from back in the day when I worked at Hoyt/Easton. Her name was Ms. Tyler Devlin, and she was on a limited disability income. She wrote to Hoyt/Easton who turned the letter over to me. It seemed that Ms. Devlin, who had become interested in archery, was having a problem budgeting a bow out of her limited disability income. She needed the bow to rehabilitate herself after a great personal sorrow. I read between the lines and secured a bow for her. She said in a letter she wrote to US Archer "I was stunned and surprised to receive a Hoyt bow. A real living person from a large corporation had responded to a struggling middle aged woman. After giving up hope of ever having a good bow, it seemed impossible that I could have a Golf Medalist bow. Incredible! Mrs. Hoyt and Hoyt/Easton's gift to me gave me a way of getting through this period and being truly human again. - I want to openly thank Ann for what I call my rainbow bow and the color she has added to my life." Now that's what I call "shooting right through to my heart."
FA: Who are some archery friends that you have enjoyed spending time with? Any archery heroes?
My first archery hero was Miss Edith C. Russell. She taught me the fundamentals of archery. She was also the first person to introduce me to the sport.
Earl, of course. Ann Clark. Wanda Mahaffey. Wilburn & Ruby Wooten. Jane Johnson. Fred Bear. Rube Powell. Carole Meinhart. Jane Johnson past president NAA. Allan Martin. George Gardner. Darrel Pace. Vic Wanderle and Dave Staples to whom I fondly refer to as "Davey Baby!) . Also Dot & Bill Jackson of Robin Hood Archery and Jane Johnson of Kirkwood, MO no relation to past NAA president, Jane Johnson.
Beauty, determination and talent.
FA: Any last words of advice for our Bowhunting.net readers?
Ann, 2002 still as spunky as ever.
Learn correctly. I had a good teacher and I learned the fundamentals correctly.
It takes a certain kind of person to become a champion. It takes a "Dedicated" person with a competitive drive and a will to win, who must "love" the sport and have the "guts" to keep plugging in spite of temporary slumps. A champion must be self -analytical as to her shooting technique and equipment needs. A true champion is one with a performance.
Archery is a way of life for me. I eat and sleep archery and all the time I'm working at it or with it. The essence of archery is not in winning a tournament but in the enjoyment of participating and of sharing in the spirit of sportsmanship and fellowship as manifested by the archers. The reward perhaps of personal efforts is a victory.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to Susan Whitacre and Ann Clark for their contribution and assistance in the research and compilation of this interview. Without their help this project would have never been completed. Thanks Ann & Susan!