After 24 years on the road doing archery exhibitions on stage, you’d think I’d be ready to slow the pace. As my hero John Wayne used to say, “Not hardly…” My instinctive shooting guru Rev. Stacy Groscup performed with me when he was 82 years old. Amazing huh? So I figure I have a few more years of shows to do. Some of my winter dates are booked three years out and that’s a great feeling. I just enjoy hitting the stage and giving the audiences a good show. It’s a great gig. And after all, it beats a real job.
The economy may go up or down but folks are going to participate in outdoor activities like hunting, fishing and camping and archery has seen tremendous growth when the economy is at it’s worst. 1978 was a banner year for the sport of archery. When money gets tight outdoor sports may even be the most popular choice for more family vacations. So I am optimistic that our industry will weather out the storm. Perhaps as more families are exposed to these activities the popularity will rise and we’ll see even more growth. Remember, the glass is NEVER even close to half empty…. I refuse to get a negative attitude no matter how bleak the newscasts get. Things could be worse.
I have a wealth of memories from the past 24 years on the road. There’s been miles of highways and thousands of miles logged via airplanes. I have been in most major airports in the United States and many of the small ones. In one of the hub airports a few years ago an older lady who was a hostess at an airport Chilli’s restaurant said, “Hello Frank, are you here for your breakfast tacos?” I told my wife about it that night and confessed to her that I must be logging a lot of frequent flyer miles. Afterall, this wasn’t a local mom and pop diner, it was in a major airport and the lady remembered my name.
The people I’ve met along the trail has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my career. These are good people and I have made some great friends that will last a lifetime. There’s Mike, a limo driver in Houston that will pick me up during a long layover in Houston and take me by the closest “WHAT A BURGER” for lunch. He’s a good man and even makes the family Christmas card list every year. Then there’s my sidekicks at the shows. There’s my pal Eric McCulley that tosses baby aspirin for me in California. He & I once performed for all six LA tv news stations in one day. Eli Howell that tossed three in a row for me to hit last summer on Bubba the Lovesponge radio show, and one of the funniest sidekick’s Glenn out in Montana. Kevin Brunsvold took me under his wing a few years ago in Billings and his wife usually manages to make a homemade meal while I am in town. Kevin and I email, call and text message to stay in touch. Captain Kirk tossed aspirin for me in Oklahoma one time. No joke. He was a Captain with the Oklahoma Game Department. Then there was Tripp Johnston at the Dixie Deer Classic, Daryl out in Oklahoma, Mark Keltt in Michighan, and Lee Gillman in Alabama. All of these folks have been friends that make life on the road a little easier.
I also remember many of the reporters and outdoor writers that I have been interviewed by the last 24 years. These folks help get the word out and I appreciate them so much. Whether a reporter, photographer, outdoor writer, or radio personality they all play a vital role in what I do. Without them people would never know I was in town. I remember one photographer in Montana that captured a baby aspirin being struck by an arrow first shot! This photo made the front page of the Billing’s Gazette. Then there was the photographer that put me on the roof of the Cow Palace out in San Francisco. That was a cool photo shoot.
The audiences are why I have a job and they are always great fun. I try and do a meet and greet after every show and sometimes it may take a few hours but I sign photos as long as they are lined up. Of course I always joke that when I shoot bad the meet and greets are shorter but all in all we usually have a good crowd.
Last but not least, the show promoters. These folks pay the bills! I have enjoyed long term relationships with many of these promoters and some of the shows I do have been held over 50 years. I appreciate these folks very much and when I’m at their events I try and do everything I can to earn my pay. In this economy show promoters face an uphill battle and I appreciate the fact that they are still hiring me for their shows. Some of the shows I do now I first appeared at in the 1980’s!
Life on the road isn’t an easy one. Airports, rental cars, taxi cabs, and hotel rooms aren’t much fun when you’ve seen as many as I have. However, it’s the love of archery and my job as a shooter that keeps me going. I really enjoy entertaining and promoting the sport. It’s been an honor for me to be able to have such a long career and I have no plans of quitting anytime soon. 2010 will mark my 25th year of shows and we have some special shots planned.
A hats off to my family, my dad who manages my equipment, and God who gave me the talent. I had great heroes growing up and I was lucky that folks like Fred Bear, Rev. Stacy Groscup, Ann Clark and others took time out to encourage me. I’ve had many lifelong friends in archery. It’s been a fun ride folks, and as the great Ronald Reagan once said, “You aint seen nothin’ yet…” Here’s to the next 25 years!
Until next time, Adios & God Bless.
Frank Addington, Jr.
Fred Bear photo with Frank circa 1978.