The Bow Rack
July 18th 2008
In a word...Wow! What an awesome, humbling and exciting experience! Before last night, I know that I had never seen a standing-room-only crowd of nearly 600 bowhunters showing up to watch a bowhunting seminar. The fact that this happened in our quiet community on a Friday night is even more surprising. So, while the Eugene-Springfield area might not have the buzz of a big city, what we do have is legions of passionate bowhunters. I'll take the passion over the buzz any day of the week!
This all started a few months back when my good friend and pro-shop owner, Wayne Endicott, asked me if I would be the featured speaker at his 6th Annual Bowhunting Extravaganza. My first reaction was, arghh, public speaking. I think everyone knows how hard it can be to get up on stage in front of a group of people. But, I have a hard time telling Wayne 'no' to anything. He and his wife, Lisa, have been so supportive of me over the years and because of this, my loyalty left me no choice. I said, "Yeah, let's do it. Sounds like fun." At least I would get to talk about something I love...bowhunting. However, in the back of my mind I was hoping maybe he would forget. He didn't. The good thing, I figured, not many would show up, especially since they'd have to buy tickets to get through the door. I've heard drawing a crowd in your hometown can be tough. It would be a nice little, low-key quaint get together of a few bowhunting buddies.
Earlier this week during my midday run, I swung by The Bow Rack like I often do, just to get an update on ticket sales to the event. Wayne said, "We have about 70 left." I inquired, 70 left from what? "70 left until we get to the 500 limit." What!!!! Then being the astute business-man he is and tiring of telling guys the show was sold out, he found a way to get more chairs in the venue, and when he ran out of chairs last night, guys drug foam targets out to sit on or simply stood in back until there were nearly 600 guys piled in for the start of the show.
In regard to the venue, Wayne and Lisa spared no expense. A gigantic tent was required this year and for my video presentation, Wayne rented a 10' x 14' screen and a top of the line projector. In previous years this annual event took place on The Bow Rack's indoor range, which holds about 200 and the video was played on a big screen TV. It was a little shock to me when I pulled around the corner heading to the shop for the show and there was a line out the door and what looked like halfway down the block to get in.
Wayne and Lisa had to really scramble to accommodate the mass, but man, it went off without a hitch. The gig reminded me of the huge archery get-togethers I have read about that used to take place back at Anderson Archery in Michigan years ago. With the popularity of bowhunting nowadays, especially out west here, I think Wayne's show is going to get even bigger and better with year passing year!
I gotta say, I, we, everyone in this area are so very lucky to have a pro-shop like The Bow Rack, as every person behind the counter is professional from the word go. I think of all the guys who don't have a good pro-shop to shoot at, get advice, check out equipment or just tell stories.
In fact The Bow Rack does such great work, hardcore bowhunters like Roy Roth order their arrows from the shop and even Guy Eastman and Nate Simmons who live in Wyoming send their bows to Wayne to get them set up with Winner's Choice strings, have fall-aways installed, paper tuned, etc. Truth is, a lot of guys from all over the country do this. That says a lot about the shop right there.
After I spoke, Wayne had a raffle and gave away a ton of sweet gear, including 5 bows! This put me in the giving mood myself. I gave away the Hoyt I killed my biggest bull elk ever with to a new bowhunter, Ben.
Leading into my giveaway, I asked if there was any younger guys in the audience, who really want to bowhunt, but haven't found a way to buy a bow yet? A bunch raised their hands and I picked Ben, because he oozed with enthusiasm and looked to be about the right size to shoot my 27" draw length Hoyt. That was one of the highlights of the night for me...he sure looked happy.
I gotta give a special shout out to of course everyone who showed up, old friends, new friends, email friends, EBJ friends, etc. thank you, thank you thank you, (even EBJ field editor South Cox made a cameo - bowhunting buzz like this pulls them all the way from CA I guess?). But, my gratitude goes out especially to Wayne, Lisa, their Bow Rack staff, Chris, Nick, Brad and to Wayne's son, Nate - man, your hard work and passion made the event a huge success and no doubt will help create interest in archery and build the sport of bowhunting.
Thanks as well to the reps that showed up to answer questions and enjoy the scene, namely Gary Broadhead and Mitch McKay. And, lastly thanks to Guy Harris for capturing some great photos for me, to my oldest, Tanner Hanes for running the video camera and to Truett, Tracey and Taryn just for being there.
Check back here for video of the festivities soon!