PSE’s Frank Pearson Became an Archery Pro in 1966
Editor’s Note: Through a strange quirk of fate, Frank Pearson became an archery pro in 1966. He would have liked to compete in the Olympic Games, but becoming a winner foiled that opportunity.
Pearson explains, “I became a professional archer in 1966. That’s when I bought an archery sight and started shooting a recurve bow with a sight on it. The sight worked out pretty good for me. I won the first national event in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, at the NAA (National Archery Association) Indoor Nationals. Back in the 1960s, I had a drag racing car and won some money racing my car, which eliminated any chance I might have had of competing in archery in the Olympic Games. When I learned that the money I’d won in drag racing prevented me from being an amateur athlete in the Olympics, I decided to join the Professional Archery Association. I shot numbers of indoor tournaments to start with, and then in 1968 and 1969, I started shooting outdoor tournaments. I felt that the outdoor tournaments were more challenging, because you had to learn to deal with the wind and other elements outdoors, that you didn’t have to deal with indoors. At that time, I was shooting a Wing recurve bow.”
Somewhere between 1974 and 1975, the Wing Bow Company developed a compound bow. So, Pearson decided to start trying to shoot this device but didn’t like it very much. He got hurt several times when the bow came apart. Pearson recalls, “In those early days, the Wing compound bow had four wheels on it and an idler wheel on the limb of the bow, about halfway down the bow. When that bow malfunctioned, the wheel came down and hit me in the wrist. Then I couldn’t shoot my bow for a long time. When I finally came back and started shooting competitively again, I changed bow companies. I started shooting a Damon Howatt bow. The company at that time made recurve bows and hunting bows. I was shooting a Damon Howatt recurve against archers who were shooting compound bows, and I had a couple of major wins. I think that the major reason that I was able to win was because I didn’t really believe that the fellow shooting the compound bow could beat me. And, as most archers know, confidence is the key ingredient necessary to good shooting. I’ve also learned that when you’re younger, you’re much more cocky than you are when you’re older. Being cocky and full of self-confidence, you can get away with stuff that you can’t when you get older.
“Then in 1975, I won a tournament in Watkins Glen, New York, shooting my Damon Howatt Recurve, against the newer compound bows. Shortly after that, a new company out of Tucson, Arizona, named Precision Archery Equipment (PSE) approached me. Pete Shepley, the creator of PSE, had gotten word that I’d beaten the compound bow shooters with my old recurve bow. He asked me if I’d be interested in shooting one of those new compound bows. I said I would, and they sent me one.” Two months after Pearson received his new compound bow, he took the new bow, competed in the outdoor nationals and placed third with his new PSE bow. According to Pearson, “This PSE bow was also a four wheel bow, but it didn’t come apart like the first four wheel bow I’d had did. So, I decided this PSE compound was a pretty good bow. To be honest, one of the reasons I started shooting the compound bow instead of staying with the recurve was that the compound bow manufacturers were the ones who invested money in tournament shooters. I needed the money to get to tournaments and return home. Back then, I was a welder by profession. I was helping to build armored cars in Philadelphia, and I didn’t make enough money to pay my way to archery tournaments. I shot for PSE for a pretty good while.
“But, then I got a job with a company that today is called Outers that makes gun cleaning supplies. Outers bought Astro Archery Company and hired me to run their limb production company in Wisconsin. I worked for there from 1976 to 1977, before Outers sold out the archery department to a company in Canada. I didn’t want to move to Canada. Pete Shepley offered me a job working in Illinois, where I worked for PSE for about 6 months. Then Pete asked me if I’d like to have the job of running the limb department for PSE archery in Tucson, Arizona. I drove to Tucson, checked the place out, told Pete I’d love to have the job and started working for PSE in the limb department in 1978. I worked for PSE for 8 years, then I left the company and went to work for a couple of other archery companies for the next 20 years or so. My wife and I got fed up with professional archery and more or less retired from competition shooting.”
From the work history of Frank Pearson, you can see how much knowledge he’s acquired from working with so many different bow companies and so many professional archers over such a long time. He was in research and development and building limbs, shooting competitively and doing public relations. Pearson saw the evolution of the bow from the longbow all the way up to today’s modern bows. He’d been so involved in the world of competitive archery that he was more or less burned out and decided to only participate in fun shoots on the weekends. But, then, the phone rang one day.
Tomorrow: The Phone Call from PSE That Brought Frank Pearson Back into Archery
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