If you believe even a small part of what you've seen online and on television in recent weeks, you'd think there's never been a better time in history to be part of the archery industry.
To hear it from some news sources, every person in the country (outside of a few NASCAR fans) was watching NBC's archery coverage at the 2012 London Olympic games, and Americans just couldn't get enough of watching our men and women archers silently flinging arrows at the Lord's Cricket Ground.
But despite all the positive pre-Olympic hype and buildup about the individuals comprising the USA Archery team this year, they were able to muster only one medal-in the men's team competition-a silver. They were bested by the Italian men, with the final arrow in the match, a 10. Mexico won twice as many archery medals as the U.S.
On the bright side, they did substantially better than the U.S. Boxing Team.
NBC Research President Alan Wurtzel couldn't say enough about archery and its popularity among viewers, noting it attracted an audience of 1.5 million.
"The numbers for archery have been nothing less than huge," Wurzel said, calling archery "the new curling."
Curling? Yes, that action-packed sport played during the Winter Olympics and by bored Canadians when they run out of Molson.
Which brings me to my point: Does anyone recall anything resembling an explosion of interest in the sport of curling following the last Winter Olympics? Was there a boom in the sale of curling rocks and those little brooms at curling pro shops coast-to-coast?
The bottom line is that Olympic Archery has no affect on archery's bottom line. Never has. Never will.
Then there's the movie factor. What about those incredibly popular movies everybody's talking about, like "The Hunger Games," "The Avengers" and "Brave?" If you didn't know better, you'd think every little girl in the U.S. wants to learn how to shoot archery. Just Google "archery" and "The Hunger Games" and you'll see.
Sorry, I'm not buying that, either.
That's because I remember how excited some folks in the archery industry were when Burt Reynolds was shown shooting a Bear takedown recurve in the 1972 movie, "Deliverance." But did Burt "deliver" the goods and send archery equipment flying off the shelves 40 years ago? Hardly. And today, who even remembers his bowfishing scene? But mention Ned Beatty and "squeal like a pig..." Well, that's another thing altogether.
Stay with me. This is all leading somewhere, I promise.
I mention this because it is the first part of August. It's the time of year that holds special significance to anyone who is (or has ever been) in the business of building and designing bows, marketing them, promoting them, distributing them or selling them.
For the archery industry, from mid-July through August, it's high noon. Put-up or shut-up time. Do or die. The bowhunting seasons are fast approaching, and everyone is gearing up. If your products haven't shipped and aren't on the shelves on August 1, that's a bad sign. A real bad sign.
Ask any archery retailer who's been in business more than a couple decades what's more important: a hit movie featuring bows and arrows, an Olympic gold medal in archery or brisk bowhunting equipment sales in August.
The industry's bread is buttered by bowhunters. That's a fact. As go bowhunting seasons, big game herds, places to hunt, equipment regulations and restrictions-so goes the bow and arrow business.
As Walter Cronkite used to say, "That's the way it is."
Welcome to the first edition of The Archery Wire, your source for "Archery and Bowhunting News You Can Use." We want to hear your ideas, suggestions, comments and more. For any communication or to request information on advertising and Corporate Membership, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
And here's wishing you all a great-and profitable-August.
- J.R. Absher